Category Archives: Out & about


I couldn’t think of a good title for this post. However, I got some brilliant photos when I went birdwatching on Saturday. I didn’t see many birds, but I saw a mink for the first time! It was swimming in the canal, and eventually it posed for a photo for me!

Mink in water pipe

Squirrel eating buds 3

Squirrel eating buds

Squirrel eating buds 2

Robin on a fallen branch

Chaffinch on the pathHappy Monday!


It was my birthday at the weekend, and my sister came home to celebrate.  We went for a very cold walk to look at some snowdrops.  We didn’t stay long in the woods as it was freezing and muddy, but I took two photos to make it worthwhile.

Snowdrops March 2014
Snowdrops 2 March 2014

Double win! Sunrise and a rainbow

On the way to work this morning there was a beautiful sunrise.  We get quite a lot of them at this time of year, and I love it when the sky is all red.

To the east, we have a sunrise.
Then, it randomly started raining heavily.  The sunrise was still doing its thing, and we got a beautiful rainbow too!

And to the northwest we have a rainbow!

After that it was boring, because it got really dark and rained all day.  But hey ho, you can’t have everything!

(It is in fact still raining as I write this at 5pm!)

A nice frost

Last Sunday we had a lovely frost; everything was crisp and white.  I went for a walk at a local wood and took some icy photos. (For those who follow me on Twitter, this is not the same wood where we got the car stuck on Wednesday. Although it was equally mud at both places!)

frosted gate lock

Frosty walk

Frosted leaf

frost on violets

Frozen puddle 1

Frozen puddle 2

Frozen puddle 3

Sun in woods

Despite the nature of these photos, this winter has been very mild (aside from the endless rain), and there have been many reports of flowers germinating and birds nesting because of the mild weather.  The temperatures have got nature confused and it thinks spring is already here.  They’ll get a shock if winter arrives in February.

The wood where these photos were taken has since shut to the public because of a dog attack.  There are always a few bad dog owners that ruin things for everyone else, and this wood closure is no exception.  It seriously annoys me when I see irresponsible dog owners.  It’s really quite simple to be a responsible dog owner: don’t let your dog off the lead unless it walks within a few metres of you and comes to heel when called.  Simple.  My Father rarely used a lead with our German Shepherd, but we never had any problems because she was well-trained and we never let her run off to accost people or other dogs.  Not everyone loves your dog as much as you do!

Ok, rant over. haha.

Winter birds at the fishing lake

Last Wednesday I had the day off, so my Mother and I went to explore a fishing lake we’ve recently discovered near our allotment.  Britain is currently in the middle of a particularly crappy winter, and our trip to the lake was no exception!  The wind was rough, but for once it didn’t rain.

There were a lot of birds, but I didn’t manage to photograph them all.  These photos were all edited on my Mac, using Pixelmator.  Please let me know if you have any pointers for using this editing software.  On the whole, I didn’t find the process too painful, but everything is still new.  Click or hover on the images to get the bird names.

Robin at Balderton

Mixed goose at Balderton

Coot at Balderton

Canada Goose at Balderton

Duck at Balderton

Domestic goose at Balderton

Common gull at Balderton

Sparrow at Balderton

Robin at Balderton 2

If you’re wondering, the Canada Goose is my favourite photo. I love the contrast of the water and the green verge.

A christmas walk with a bang!

That is a terrible blog post title. It’s hunting season, and here in Lincolnshire there is a thriving shooting community (and fox hunting community – it’s probably the same people in each club). My Christmas walk yesterday went something like this: Walk along for a few metres. Spot little bird in tree nearby. Focus camera. Jump as gunshot rings across fields. Curse as all birds flee deep into undergrowth. Repeat. I didn’t even have the opportunity to take rubbish photos as so many of my photos were interrupted before I’d even pressed the button!

I did manage to get pictures of the couple of birds though, and I saw a cormorant. They always remind me of the Flannan Isle lighthouse keepers mystery. We studied it at school. I think there is a poem where the lighthouse keepers were cursed to roam the seas as cormorants?

Great tit on ash tree keys

The great tits were loving the ash keys. I guess there is good eating in the seed clusters.

Long-tailed tit

The little long-tailed tits are adorable. They flutter around as a group and they enjoyed the oak trees.


The chaffinches were enjoying having a rummage around in the grass on the path in front of me.


There were quite a few moorhens around, but this one caught my attention because it was trying to avoid the cold, cold water.

The birds on the water didn’t flinch at the sound of gunshots, unlike the birds on land. I guess they think they are safe on water away from their predators (it’s a reservoir).

Great tit

It’s hard taking photos of birds in silhouette. I don’t really like doing it, but at this time of year the sun is always so low in the sky. At least you can see some of the colour on this great tit.

There is a kingfisher living at this reservoir, but I haven’t seen it. I’ve wanted to see (and hopefully photograph) a kingfisher for four years now, but I still haven’t achieved it. I have a list of known kingfisher spots in the area, but they always hide when I come round!

I hope you’ve had a nice Christmas walk. And if you haven’t got out yet, you really should get some air in those lungs! Then you can eat more chocolate!

Around here in December

I haven’t given a little update on what I’ve been up to for a while, so I thought I would now.  I’m working right up until Christmas (don’t get me started on why an office that provides a non-essential service needs to be open on Christmas Eve!).  However, I’ve been pottering quite a lot recently.

Tea and Kindle

I finished all my Christmas shopping in November, so December for me is mostly a time of wrapping presents, reading, drinking lots of hot drinks, watching Christmas films and singing along to Christmas music (I LOVE Christmas music).

I need to finish six more books to meet my reading challenge for the year, which was to read 60 books.  I’ve been reading a lot on my Kindle, but I’m also trying to finish my stack of unread paperback books (this is a never-ending project, to which I’m sure a lot of you can relate!).

Tea in conservatory

I’ve been enjoying having pots of tea in the conservatory whilst watching the birds in the garden.  My little teapot does four cups of tea so I get about 40 mins of sitting around sipping tea and staring out the window.  It’s very relaxing, if none of the neighbours are doing DIY (my street has a surprising abundance of folk sawing wood and building things).

Knitting gloves in bed

I’ve been making my fingerless mittens for charity.  It’s a very satisfying knitting project because it only takes a couple of hours to make a pair, and so you feel like you’re getting somewhere.  I had hoped to get a box of knitted goodies off to charity before Christmas, but it’s a bit late to post now (Royal Mail isn’t that reliable at the best of times, and certainly not around Christmas!).

Christmas lights house

Every year, we drive around town and have a look at all the Christmas lights that have been put up. It’s a tradition. This was my favourite house this year. Apparently the couple that live there have a disabled son, and they put all the lights up as a sensory experience for him. (To clarify for non-Brits, it’s not normal to see houses decorated like this. Brits don’t really go all out with Christmas lights.)

Christmas tree market place

Our town puts lights up too. My favourite part this year is the tree next to the market cross in the market place. It’s so stately and pretty.

That’s what’s been going on in my world recently.  I hope you’re enjoying December too.

P.S It’s my sister’s birthday today, so Happy Birthday to my ancient sister (25!).

Claire Christmas

Lots of tree fungi

Now is a good time of year to spot fungi, and there are some interesting specimens to be found.

I can’t name any of these, so you’re on your own I’m afraid.  I’m really not very good with fungi, and can probably count all the species I know on one hand.

Fungus walk 1

Fungus walk 2

Fungus walk 3

Fungus walk 4

I liked the whole rotting section of this tree so I photographed it for you!

Fungus walk 5

Fungus walk 6

Fungus walk 7

I also found this twig covered in lichen. I love lichen, it’s so fascinating.  Lichen is actually two organisms living together as one; a fungus and an algae.  That’s basically like you being part human and part tree!  Also, they are so adaptive they can live pretty much anywhere.  They are proper hardcore!  There are at least three different types of lichen on that twig below.  In the photo, you can most obviously see the yellow one and the white one next to my fourth finger.  There’s also a smaller blacker one, but he’s not so obvious!

Lichen twig

Birds at the reservoir

I went for a bracing walk at the weekend (it was freezing!) and spotted quite a few birds.  I went to Denton Reservoir, which is always a good place to spot birds. These photos were taken with my Nikon D60. I bought a new camera this week (eeep!), which is a Nikon Coolpix p520 (link to my Flickr photo).  I do love Nikon!  The new camera is beautiful, and I’ll show you some photos from it soon.

Nov birdwatch 1


Nov birdwatch 2


Nov birdwatch 3

Seagull mid-flight. I love this photo!

Nov birdwatch 4

Little duck couple having a snooze.

Nov birdwatch 5

Bit blurry, but this grey wagtail was hopping about near the waterline.

Nov birdwatch 6

There’s been some debate about this bird on Facebook, but the general consensus among my Facebook friends is that it’s a yellowhammer.  Note that with the grey wagtail above that makes two yellow birds in one walk. Exciting, for me at least!

Nov birdwatch 7


On the way round the reservoir, I also spotted this gold-ringed dragonfly on the grass.  It was still alive, but I suspect it was probably dying in the cold.


I’ve got some fungus photos coming up in another post. Have a lovely Thursday!