We are all spending so much more time at home right now, an ideal opportunity to look out for lockdown visitors to our gardens and yards. I have a small yard that backs onto a neighbor’s garden. I think that’s where all my visitors come from to be honest. 😁
Anyone who doesn’t have a dog, I can recommend buying this cute hessian bag of herdwick’s sheep wool from Parma Violet, which Birds love to use in their nests. I bought one for my sister who has had a duck visitor collecting the wool.
Other birds I have seen in the yard ( but haven’t yet managed to photograph) are starlings, a goldfinch and a wren.
Who have you noticed visiting during lockdown?
Do you have more birds & animals coming into your garden now?
Returning to a blog post series I began twelve months ago, I’m posting a bird photo, along with a corresponding poem from this lovely book The British Museum Birds. Each poem in the anthology is matched with a gorgeous illustration from the British Museums vast collection of artworks. Today I’ve chosen a poem by W. H. Davies entitled Magpies.
I have an orchard near my house
Where poppies spread and corn has grown ;
It is a holy place for weeds,
Where seeds stay on and flower, till blown.
Into this orchard, wild and quiet,
The magpie comes, the owl and rook:
To see one magpie is not well,
But seeing two brings all good luck.
If magpies think the same , and say,
‘Two humans bring good luck, not one’ –
How they must cheer us, love, together,
And tremble when I come alone!
W. H. DAVIES ( 1871 -1940).
Are you one of those crazy people ( like me) that always greets solitary magpies? I don’t think I’m a superstitious person, but I still find myself calling ‘ Hello Mr Magpie’ when I see one perched alone, cackling at me from a tree.
It is amusing to think that the magpies cackle may be a greeting to a solitary human too.
A few weeks ago I couldn’t resist buying a little book of poetry from a book fair that I came across. The anthology is full of beautiful poems about…..birds. And each one is paired with a gorgeous illustration. The book is actually a collection of stunning avian art works that can all be found in The British Museum. It is therefore called The British Museum Birds and if you find a copy, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do. 🙂
Anyway I thought it might be a nice idea to pair the poetry in the book with my own photographs on here occasionally. Though I am cheating a bit today as these pictures of a Little Egret were taken by my other half on our walk by the river Ribble on Saturday. I think its quite unusual to see egrets inland, but this one has been spotted here in Clitheroe a few times recently.
The illustration in the book is Egret On Willow In Snow , a hanging scroll painting on silk by Oda Kaisen ( 1785-1862).
In the gloom of whiteness,
In the great silence of snow,
A child was sighing
And bitterly saying : ‘ Oh,
They have killed a white bird up there on her nest,
The down is fluttering from her breast!’
And still it fell through that dusky brightness
On the child crying for the bird in the snow.
Edward Thomas ( 1878-1917)
Sorry the first poem I included is quite sad. But I hope you liked it anyway. X
Day 16 ~ Listening to Birdsong. Whilst out and about this eve I made sure I listened out for the birds. I have downloaded a bird ID app on my phone to help me out identifying birdsong.Calling all Bird Nerds. 🙂 Its called Isoperla and cost £2.99 on my android phone. Its a great app actually that lets you record which birds you have spotted, helps you identify them through their appearance and a snippet of song. Looking forward to using it more! Above is a tiny wren which has a BIG voice for such a little bird. 🙂
Day 17 ~ Read a Nature Magazine. Ok ‘the Simple things’ is not actually a nature magazine but it does tend to concentrate on simple pleasures such as beautiful home style,recipes,vintage,travel and the outside world. In the June edition there are features on Wild cocktails, wildflower meadows,summer berries,campsites with campfires,nature books,garden swings, the twilight garden and homemade lotions and potions to name but a few. I enjoyed a quick glance through with my coffee this morning.
Day 18 ~ Make a Daisy Chain. Speaking of simple pleasures, I fashioned Hugo a daisy chain on our walk this evening. Trying to get a good picture of him however proved difficult! Plus all he wanted to do was eat the daisies. 🙂
Day 19 ~ Buy some Faith in Nature products. I saw these in my local ‘Oxfam’ so thought I would give them a try. Faith In Nature products are made with natural ingredients and they smell wonderful. I found that they are quite watery compared to other shampoos and conditioners I have used but the end result left my hair feeling healthy and shiny.
Day 20, 21 ~ Ladybird Nature Book. This weekend I took my What To Look For In Summer Ladybird Nature book out and about with me. The book was published in 1960 and I have its companions, Autumn and Winter too. Still looking out for Spring. Delightful descriptions of what wildlife and wild flowers you may spot at this time of year are accompanied by beautiful illustrations by artist C. F. Tunnicliffe. As the books are over 50 years old now, it’s interesting to see how our country lanes, meadows, woodlands and rivers have evolved over the years. And quite reassuring that some things never change!
I was happy to see that many of the wild flowers especially, mirror those in the books. Yellow Irises, Campions,Foxgloves and Cow Parsley all adorn our countryside just like they did back in the 1960s. 🙂
Hi there progress is continuing on the #30dayswild challenge. Half way through now! Some days are proving more difficult than others but I had the perfect excuse to connect with nature this weekend gone as we went camping in the Yorkshire Dales. The Campsite was located right next to the River Wharfe which is a haven for all sorts of wildlife especially birds and wild flowers. This might become a rather picture heavy post!
Day Eleven ~ Bees on Lavender. This year my lavender plant seems to have recovered all its purple glory ( it didn’t look to good last summer) and the bees are loving it. This morning I enjoyed a quick brew in the back yard accompanied by the buzzing of happy bees. 🙂
Day Twelve ~ Do you like Butter? . This was taken on a walk from the campsite to the nearby village of Burnsall. We pitched the tent and enjoyed a stroll along the river. Buttercups seemed to adorn many a meadow so I had to check whether I still liked butter. The golden reflection on my chin proves I do. Obviously. 🙂
Day Thirteen ~ Wharfe Wildlife. Today our walk to the Bolton Abbey estate passed through meadows and woods as well as a long the banks of the river Wharfe. I saw and heard so many different birds and unfortunately I couldn’t photograph them all. Black Caps in Strid Wood were one of the highlights but I didn’t manage to capture any. 😦 Kingfishers too were very camera shy, streaking by in a gleam of turquoise. We heard a cuckoo ( the first time I have listened to one in years) and also the call of lapwings and curlews. But here is what I did photograph. I may need some identification help with a few if any of you nature buffs can help? 🙂
A few of these birds and flowers I could not identify even with the help of my Collins Gem guide books so any help would be appreciated.
Day Fourteen ~ Hug a tree. A-hem so here I am hugging a tree. I’m not sure if it was the most affectionate big old hug but I guess It made me feel giddily cheerful. 😛
Day Fifteen ~Smell the Roses.. The Wild roses in the hedgerows smell gorgeous. I made sure I inhaled their sweet scent on my walk on day 15. What is your favourite wild flower scent?
May in the Castle Grounds and everything is so much leafier. Summer is definitely round the corner. The Squirrel population seems to be taking over though. If you ever want to take a piccie of a squirrel come to the park at Clitheroe Castle. 🙂
Life in the Park is vibrant and colourful right now. Take a walk round yours and see what wildlife lives there. 🙂
I very recently returned from a fab trip to london with my friend B. Lots to blog about but I thought I would start with a picture post of what we got up to, and I’ll go into more detail later.
As you can see from the above photo I’m posing ( terribly) with one of the many Shaun the Sheep who are gracing the capital until the 31st of May. Artists, celebs and designers have created the sculptures which will be auctioned off for various charities at the end of the year. If you miss the London lambies don’t worry , a further flock can be spotted in Bristol from the 6th July. Check out this Shaun in the city link. 🙂
My friend’s brother lives in Fulham and he was kind enough to let us stop with him. We got to wake up to this great view of the Thames every morning. I spied lots of different water fowl ( I wish I had brought the better camera) as it turned out the London Wetland Centre was just over the river.
Speaking of birds, I never realised that the late ‘Alexander McQueen’ was interested in ornatholigy. I learn’t this at the stunning Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A. A spectacular theatrical homage to the talented fashion designer, this is a must see….even if your not interested in fashion. An immersion of the senses, a feast for the eyes, I cannot describe how fantastic the exhibition is. McQueens designs took inspiration from nature, from the tortured history of his native Scotland, from Victorian Jack the Ripper England, from the lost city of Atlanta & more. His collections are put on show to the most astounding effect. Highlights for me included the room entitled ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ and a ghostly floaty hologram of Kate Moss.
Of course no trip to London would be complete without an afternoon Tea or two. Yep B and I just had to sample two. And I’m sure I will be blogging about them in the next few weeks. There was an elegant and very English afternoon tea at the Bentley Hotel in Knightsbridge and a curiously quirky ‘Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea’ at the Sanderson Hotel near Soho. They were both fun in different ways. 🙂
The British weather had to rain on our parade at some point and of course it chose Thursday to absolutely puddle it down because we had booked a ride on a giant ferris wheel. The London Eye is a great way of seeing the city’s famous landmarks….even on a rainy day. My pics are pretty terrible though and my not very waterproof pumps meant I felt like I had been roaming around on wet sponges all afternoon. I looked like a cross between a not very happy bunny and a drowned rat…
One of the places you can hang out when its raining is of course the iconic department store Harrods and we spent a lot of time here. Its easy to get lost in! Since I last visited five years ago a Chocolate cafe and an Ice cream parlour have opened inside. I shall put them on my bucket list for the next time I visit! There are also lots of free museums. We made sure to visit the Natural History museum to see the famous giant diplodocus in the beautiful entrance hall. Apparently its going to be dismantled next year so now is the time to pay your respects to this particular dinosaur.
B and I being crazy cat ladies, just had to visit London’s only cat cafe Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium near Brick Lane. Its a cute little cafe which is also home to 12 gorgeous cats. I shall certainly blog about our time here in more detail soon. Let me just say we spent a purrfect couple of hours enjoying the company of Carbonelle, Wookie & co. And the food wasn’t bad either. ~^^~
And I will end this post with a couple of pics of some surprising ( to me !) visitors to a park B and I were relaxing in one afternoon. I nearly jumped out of my skin when four bright green parakeets flew above us. For Londoners though this is simply an everyday occurrence. 😉
Its been a while since I’ve taken my camera down the river side. Its a bit difficult taking photos when I have Hugo with me , as all my time is taken up with ….making sure he doesn’t eat sheep poo, making sure he doesn’t chase ducks, making sure he doesn’t steal picnics and er making sure he doesn’t eat any dead pheasants. He is not really the ideal photography companion. Ha ha ha 🙂
Today I tired the doogal out with a morning river walk and an afternoon park walk, so i could escape on my own for a wander along the banks of the Ribble. It was quite breezy and the sun was shining. I wondered what I would see……
I was so happy to get my first piccies of an Orange tipped white butterfly. I have tried chasing them round in the past ( without a huge butterfly net! ) and not had any success. Shortly after I spied that little beauty I looked up and saw something hovering in the sky above me…..
Thats the first time I have seen one in the wild up so close. You just never know what you might spot on a walk by the river. 🙂
April in Clitheroe Castle’s grounds might just be my favourite time of year. So many planted flowers and shrubs are bursting with colour right now as well as luxurious carpets of celandines and forget me nots. You cannot fail to meet a squirrel on your stroll around the park. And melodic bird song accompanies you wherever you go. Enjoy the piccies.
I thought I would post these before the expected ‘April Showers’. Happy Friday. :0)