Friday, 24 April 2009


For once I took the camera with me on an earlier than usual afternoon walk. It was soon after midday and I was hoping to get a clearer photo for the blog title. At least there is some green in the foreground field now but the hills were still hazy and the sky cloudless in the distance. Should have better luck as we approach Summer.

We went along Old Mill Lane and at first the only sign of life was a single rabbit which didn't hang around long enough for a decent portrait.

Old Mill Lane

On the ground were some pieces of wool. Whether dropped by birds or blown by the wind I'm not sure but the nearest sheep are quite some distance away.

Wool Having a Good Sniff

We were enjoying a very leisurely stroll - you know who investigating every new smell and me listening to the birds in the distant hedgerow and admiring the way the Sunlight was illuminating the hedgerow blossom.

Hedge Blossom

I did spy a couple of butterflies, a Small Tortoiseshell and a Woodland White.

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Woodland White Butterfly

Eventually I managed to spot a couple of the birds high up in the branches of a tree. I think this one is a Yellowhammer. My identification skills are nearly zero still but if it is then this is the first shot I've managed to get of one.


As usual we returned via the churchyard and it was good to see one of the next generation of trees making an effort to grow right next to the place where people walk through.

New Tree

Passing near one of the very few remaining wild areas in the village I could hear another bird singing. Much to Bobby's disgust I spent ages trying to get a decent photo of it. The Sun was in the wrong place and I couldn't get to a different angle. I haven't the foggiest what the bird is though.

IMG_2472c IMG_2475c


Although it was singing my song identification is worse than my visual identification. This is an area I have never developed and I really must try to find someone local to teach me.

Last item spotted was the lichen (Xanthoria parietina) covering the top of an old concrete post. I'm pretty sure of the identification as I have recently bought some guides from UK Safari to help me.


It really was uplifting to have a gentle ramble in the Sun after a long dreary Winter.


  1. I thoroughly enjoyed accompanying you on your nature walk John and your photos are beautiful. Bobby was clearly enjoying it too.
    Your first bird certainly looks like a Yellowhammer to me.
    I may be wrong but I think your second bird is possibly a Willow Warbler, I suspect someone else will be able to give you a more definite ID.
    Your butterfly photos are lovely, I was trying to take some in the garden a few days ago of a Speckled Wood but it just would not open its wings fully.

  2. Thank you Jan: I'm pretty sure on the Yellowhammer. If the 2nd is a Willow Warbler then that will be a first for me, seeing it let alone getting a photo.

    Bobby always enjoys a walk-about no matter how much he aches. I'm sure Louis is the same. One minute dead tired and then we are foolish enough to say the magic word. Surprisingly Bobby doesn't respond to 'walkies' but to 'get ready'.

    Butterflies seem to be very much a 'what you see is what you get' item. I've often had that problem where they refuse to show their colours.

  3. Can't think of anything better than a stroll in the countryside when the sun is behaving like it has been.
    That Hawthorn looks stunning in the sunlight.

  4. HM: Quite right. We had the lane to ourselves and it was so peaceful and relaxing just listening to the sounds of nature with no intrusive human activity.
    That Hawthorn is in one of the few sections of field boundary which is virtually untouched and allowed to grow to its natural height. The width is thinned occasionally but that is all so the wildlife have an all but undisturbed habitat there. It looked better in real life than in any photo I took.

  5. What a delicate butterfly that woodland white is - I have never seen one. I'd like to know what the secret is to getting such good close-ups as these.

  6. Particularly like the photo of the rabbit. I had a young hare this morning in a similar pose on the road down my lane.

  7. It sounds like a very nice walk and your photos are really great. I especially liked the one of the lane and the rabbit - and also the white blossoms - hawthorn I think.

  8. RR: I wonder Rob, if like me, you have probably seen the Woodland White flitting about and thought - there goes another cabbage white after my brassicas?
    Close up secret? Cheat! That is a fairly small crop from the original photo as I didn't get close before it flew away. I started snapping some distance away and kept taking the odd photo as I crept closer to make sure I got something. Brilliant Sunlight made for a fast 1/1000 sec for a nice sharp picture. I always use a 70-200mm zoom lens and it seems to spend most of its time on 200mm.

    CG: I nearly didn't keep the rabbit photo as I was disappointed it had disappeared too soon but decided it 'set the scene' in the end.

    Mick: There are lots of Public Footpaths around the village. Most are across fields or narrow tracks which are very shady being under old trees. Old Mill Lane is nice as it is wide and open to the light.

  9. Looks like a lovely walk - what a great set of photos.
    Not sure about the mystery bird. Maybe this would help, you can hear it there too (and compare it to a chiffchaff:
    I think that the blossom is Blackthorn. Hawthorn flowers after it is in leaf.

  10. Mark: Thanks for your help. I'm sure there was a Chiffchaff not too far away though its song seemed upside down (chaff-chiff, chaff-chiff).
    The unknown bird song was different, single notes without any warble. The problem is by the time I've slept on it I forget what the song was like and those on the RSPB site don't ring a bell. I had also tried the examples on British Garden Birds but they didn't seem to match either. Very frustrating.
    Soon I'll have a small recorder to keep in my pocket then I can put up a bit of audio in future.
    Looking in the Collins Complete Guide to British Birds the nearest seems to be the Willow Warbler.
    Blackthorn sounds good to me.
    Enjoy your weekend. John


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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