ShareMondays2020 – In Safe Hands

A Safe Pair Of Hands

ShareMondays2020 – In Safe Hands

My favourite image of the week is my nephew, Finley, playing at hand-clapping with my mum. I’m not allowed cuddles yet as a shielded person, but to be able to get together in the garden, as a family, was wonderful. Seeing my parents being able to rekindle this special bond with their grandson was so very precious!


ShareMondays2020 – Happy Birthday Bro!

Longes Family Portrait

ShareMondays2020 – Happy Birthday Bro!

Happy Birthday Robin!!! Yes, that’s my little brother on the left, with my sister-in-law, Mo, and nine month old Finley. They came over for a brief window visit this week and it really lifted my spirits. It’s been ages since we’ve seen each other in person and Finley is growing up so quickly! He’s such a character and like most little ones his age, he just wants to put everything in his mouth. It was so funny when he made a beeline for the birdbath and feeders! I had visions of a wet and confused baby until Robin just managed to get to him in time.

The birds continue to visit too! My brother isn’t the only Robin visiting the feeders! There’s a lovely pair of robins nesting in our hedgerow and the adults have been cleaning up the mess on the ground left by the starlings.

The juvenile starlings are becoming much more independent and are still very vocal. The blue and great tits don’t get much of a look-in at the feeder but it’s great when we do see them! The pigeons are also very good at clearing up whatever mess is left underneath the feeders by the starlings and tits.

For 30DaysWild I have also been watching the bees that are feasting on nectar from the hydrangea outside my window. I’ve seen three different species. Occasionally there is also a cat in the flowerbed too!

My parents continue to make random window visits too. This week they chose to visit in the rain! No need to make such a song and a dance about it though, lol 😉


Branching Out At St James’s Park

Tawny Owl juvenile in St James's Park

Branching Out At St James’s Park

When tawny owlets are only about five weeks old they leave the nest. They’re not fledging yet, they’re branching! The staff at St James’s Park discovered that tawny’s had returned to the park after an absence of twelve years, when they discovered one of the branched owlets in the back of a tractor. It’s not unusual for branching owlets to fall off their perch. Most of the time they will be absolutely fine and the advice is to leave them where they are unless they are lying down, showing other signs of distress or are in immediate danger. They will sit still on the ground until nightfall when they are known to use their strong talons to climb back into the tree! Even if they don’t return quickly, the parents will carry on feeding the owlet on the ground. Gardeners at the park were actually able to return this little owlet to it’s mother in the tree!

It was quite incredible to be able to watch this owlet and one of its’ parents last Friday. They were high up in the trees and it had started raining. I was captivated though! Fortunately I had my raincoat so I was able to observe them for a while despite the weather. It did make it hard to photograph them though. I was using a Fujinon 100-400mm lens with a 1.4x teleconverter to watch and photograph. You really do need a long lens or powerful binoculars to see them closely! The owlet has some good adult feathers coming through on the tail and wings but still plenty of downy fluff too. It was stretching the wings a lot and jumping between branches really well. The other wonderful behaviour I was able to watch was the circling off the head as the owlet builds up a full picture of it’s surroundings.

There are also Tawny Owls in Regents Park and these sighting are brilliant news for the species! It’s also a good sign that wildlife conservation and habitat management in The Royal Parks is working well. There must be a good amount of prey species available for these wonderful owls and this owlet certainly seems to be thriving! If you do go to St James’s or anywhere else to watch tawny owls and owlets, please keep a reasonable distance from their tree so you don’t disturb them. They are a protected species and these London owlets are very precious!


Black And White Challenge: Day 3 – Baby Steps

First Gosling Of The Year

Black And White Challenge: Day 3 – Baby Steps

First baby of the year! This is a two week old Egyptian Gosling that mum and I were amazed to discover so early at Claremont Gardens. Such a cute little bundle of fluff 🙂 Thanks again to Amy, from The World Is A Book, for setting me this challenge. Do any of you want to have a go? I decided to tackle birds in monochrome as they’re not a subject that I would normally think of processing in this way. Do you have a favourite subject matter that you’ve never processed in Black and White? I challenge all my readers to think on it and join in when you have the time.


Blue Monday: Blue Eyes

Blue Monday: Blue Eyes

Blue Monday: Blue Eyes

It’s amazing to think that Rachel and I have been friends for over twenty years now! We bonded like sisters at college and she’s been borrowing my clothes and make-up ever since 😉 Little Nate joined the family a year and a half ago.

Nate is such a beautiful little boy and he’s inherited his mum’s lovely blue eyes. His arrival does mean that they can’t stay with us in our little home any more. After they left yesterday I realised just how weird it feels that neither my wardrobe or make-up drawers have been raided!


Weekly Photo Challenge: (Even More) Joy

Weekly Photo Challenge: (Even More) Joy

Weekly Photo Challenge: (Even More) Joy

Small boy with a new trike!

It’s the simple pleasure of watching children achieving new milestones that is so joyful.

Nate got this fantastic trike from his Grandparents for Christmas and although his toes only just reach the ground, he managed to scoot forwards on his own this morning!

Then came another moment that I should have had the camera out for but had just started blogging – Nate just took his first two completely unaided steps!!!! I feel so lucky that we were here, visiting to see it 🙂

Thank you to Rachel, Joe and Nate, our Manchester family, for having us and completing a truly joyful Christmas time!