Wandering around with camera in hand
Thought I’d take advantage of the Spring sunshine which has been on show, so with batteries charged, lenses cleaned and memory cards formatted, I set off for a local beauty spot near to where I live called Tandle Hills.
First up as I walked along the approach road to my destination was this Gull imitating the sound of rain upon the grass to bring Worms to the surface for a tasty snack!
However, the Gull was so preoccupied with its task at hand that it didn’t notice an approaching Cat, sneaking and stalking like it was in the African Serengeti…
… but all ended well thanks to this Magpie, whose alarmed cawing from up on
a man-made perch let everyone know within earshot that there was danger nearby.
As the road ends, it turns into a farm lane that leads to the back gates of Tandle Hills and skirting the length of this lane are Hawthorn bushes. As always, these spiky defences are a great place to spot hedgerow birds,
such as this Robin, who hung around getting closer and closer to me…
… then decided to ignore me totally and just start looking for food…
… until his persistence paid off with a juicy grub from the leaf litter.
As you enter the country park, there’s a small, swampy pond and the Frogs had arrived with the advent of Springtime. You could hear them from afar as their noise was quite deafening; a cacophony of amphibian chorus.
Some of the Frogs sat alone, waiting, like this one…
… or this one, stetched out and relaxed…
… while others did what they were there to do!
Unfortunately, this poor Frog looked like he may have gotten confused over his intended mate!
Then, as I moved off towards the woods, I spotted a Kestrel banking from a hover high above where I was standing.
Just in time, i managed to grab a couple of shots as the sun caught the Kestrel’s underbelly plumage, freezing its beauty in time.
So, I was off into the woods, crunching the brown leaf-litter underfoot and creating an awful noise as I went deeper in the deciduous forest, with just enough time to spot this grey Squirrel acting unconcerned with my presence.
Then, I heard a familiar Woodpecker “drumming” emanating from further within the trees, so ears fixed and eyes alert, I followed its beat, only to bump into this startled Jay.
With the flitting of the Jay, I took a breather and was rewarded almost immediately with the Woodpecker rattling a tree next to where I was sitting.
I hopped up, scanned the tree branches high above and spotted a female Greater-Spotted Woodpecker, minus the red cap of the male, clambering
a vertical limb.
As I pressed my shutter button though, the Woodpecker was off and I just managed to get her in mid-flight before she disappeared into the mass of trees.
It had been a great ramble and I’d got some superb pictures but things weren’t over just yet: looking up to a fork in a nearby Pine tree, a Nuthatch suddenly popped its head into view as it searched the bark for awakening insects.
I headed back towards home along a field’s edging, where a lichen-dappled Hawthorn tree stands and was once again rewarded, this time with a tiny
Gold Crest hopping from twig tip to twig tip.
As I shot away, my lens – which is a noisy beast of a thing – must have caught the Gold Crest’s attention and it stared directly at me with its head down, showing off the wonderful slither of gold running along its crown.
On I walked, hopping barbed-wire fences (not an easy thing at my age!) and navigating muddy patches, just as a blast of sun broke from behind the clouds. It illuminated a three-clump growth of Dandelions with a single drop of dew ready to fall from a blade of grass standing next to them.
I was almost back to my start point at the farm lane with the Hawthorn bushes when I heard a commotion nearby and spotted a startled Moorhen break cover…
… gambolling with all the grace of a flat-footed runner…
… trying to balance whilst wearing Clown shoes!
As the Moorhen disappeared from sight, I found out it wasn’t my presence that had made it nervous in the first place: the Cat was back again, hunting as in its nature and unable to change its spots, just like the proverbial Leopard.
I’m sure I will bump into this fellow again in the future…
… as his curiosity seems to be getting the better of him.