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ShareMondays2018 – Juvenile Blackcap

Juvenile Blackcap

ShareMondays2018 – Juvenile Blackcap

This is my third image from my encounter with this dear little blackcap. After feeding and cleaning it’s beak, it hopped up into the branches of the shrubs, in the the riverside hedgerow, to preen. Some of those feathers are still quite downy and the gape (oral flanges) in the corners of the beak are clear to see. I have no idea exactly how old this fledgeling is but it certainly seems to be fending for itself well! The brambles were providing a feast for bees, butterflies and birds. My mum might just have sneaked a few ripe berries for herself too!

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Blackcap In The Brambles

Blackcap In The Brambles

Blackcap In The Brambles

I’m sharing this second image of the juvenile blackcap, that I encountered yesterday, for today’s Fotospeed challenge. I haven’t had to crop these images much at all. I was so close to my subject I could hardly believe it! The blackcap was very aware of me and the numerous passers-by on the Thames Path, but was completely unfazed, gorging itself of the bountiful berries before hopping further up into the brambles to clean it’s blackberry-stained beak. I loved the way the light caught it’s face as it turned and stared straight down my lens!

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Blackberry Picking Blackcap

Blackberry Picking Blackcap

Blackberry Picking Blackcap

Last week brought so many fantastic photography opportunities, but the ones that I most want to share in this weeks Monday photo-challenges are among the last few images that I captured yesterday in the late afternoon. I was with my parents at The Weir in Walton, on the banks of the Thames, near Sunbury Lock. There was an abundance of wildlife in the brambles and trees along the river path. I almost missed this juvenile blackcap picking blackberries. It’s often the song that first alerts me to the presence of a bird but this little one was being very quiet. It’s efforts to pick the blackberries where rather clumsy though and the sight of a shaking bramble bush gave the game away! I took a closer look and a shaft of sunlight caught upon this cheeky little face. I was pretty sure the youngster was a blackcap having seen an adult male in the vicinity earlier on. It’s perfect habitat for them as they feed on both berries and insects! I’m sharing this first image for Wex Mondays. More to follow!

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Bald As A Coot?

Coot Chick

Bald As A Coot?

While a young coot chick might look pretty bald, this is not actually the origins of the phrase. It’s in reference to the white frontal shield of the adult coot (see image below). This similarly applies to the name of the Bald Eagle, which has a fine head of white feathers. Bald also appears in the word Piebald, referring to horses, birds and other animals that are black and white. So where does this word for white actually come from? Annabel Rushton sheds some light on this in the RSPB community blog:

You often hear the phrase ‘bald as a coot’, but as you can see from the photo, they are covered in feathers. Even the chick, though a little sparse on its head, has a flame of red and orange down. So where has the saying come from? Well the word ‘bald’ is actually derived from an old English word ‘bala’ which means ‘white patch’. If you look at a coot, they have a white patch above their beak known as a ‘knob’ or a ‘frontal shield’. It is this that has given rise to the term ‘bald as a coot’, rather than because they are featherless.
Coot and chick

Coot and chick at Claremont Landscape Gardens

The Idioms website adds:

A coot is a water bird which has marking on its head that gives it an appearance of being bald. It does have feathers on his head but it is the way it looks from a distance that gives this expression its shape.

This phrase has been in existence since several centuries with the first literary use being in 1430 in ‘Chronicle of Troy’ written by John Lydgate.

Source: theidioms.com

I couldn’t find a specific name for a coot chick, such as duckling or gosling so I propose to start calling these cute yet odd looking chicks cootlings or cutelings. What do you think?
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#ShareMondays2018 – The Three Stooges – #fsprintmonday

The Three Stooges

Three young swallows just barely fitting into their nest in Kos Town! We sat almost below them at one of our favourite tavernas on Saturday and they were cute and comical. Just had to share it with you all 😀

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Lost Souls Swimming In A Fish Bowl

Lost Souls Swimming In A Fish Bowl

The lyrics from one of my favourite Pink Floyd songs, Wish You Were Here. I wish I could be back down there now, under the sea, weightless, floating into the blue, escorted by a flotilla of fish.

The diver you see here, surrounded by all those fish, is Darios from the Arian Diving Centre in Kardamena. We’ve been fortunate enough to do four dives with Arian this year while in Kos. The dives were split over two days, the first a new site for us off the little island of Strongili. Fantastic spot with stunning underwater landscapes, shimmering thermoclines and vast shoals of damselfish.

On our second day out we headed west along the coast of Kos to Santa Irini, where Mount Dikeos drops down in almost vertical cliffs and gullies to create an underwater landscape full of chasms, reefs and caves. Around the reef Darios feeds the fish and they flock to him! Moving through the waters with fish darting all around you, swimming side by side with them is the most wonderful experience. I can’t thank Arian and Darios, particularly, enough for these experiences! Simon and I learn more with each dive and Arian have helped us immensely on our journey as Open Water Scuba Divers.

We’re coming to the end of our holiday sadly but it’s been absolutely wonderful again! Kos is a beautiful island above and below the waters. I thoroughly recommend that you put it on your travel list! I hope you all enjoy these images and I bet you do now wish you were here.

For WexMondays photo challenge.