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.
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.
The Winter Hedgerow
Before fibromyalgia affected my manual dexterity I painted in many mediums, oils being my favourite. Chronic illness can’t destroy my creativity though! Art is not simply something that I do, it defines me. I just love Painting With Light, almost the literal meaning of photography. I’m often at my happiest finding scenes that inspire me, like these ones captured at Claremont Landscape Gardens, and using my imagination and creativity through digital processing to paint my visions. For these pieces I first processed my images in Camera Raw then worked on them extensively in Photoshop. I wanted to capture the essence of an old masterpiece by Constable or Turner, focusing on rich tones with strong elements of light and shadow.
Black And White Challenge: Day 5 – Crafty Corvid
Have you ever been called a “birdbrain”? Well, it may not be that derogatory anymore! Recent evidence has revealed that corvids (members of the crow family) are amongst the most intelligent species on Earth, beside humans and the Great Apes. The posses imagination that allows then to use and even create specific tools. They can solve complex problems of many stages. They are highly sociable and monogamous. Their brain-to-body-size ratio is only slightly smaller than that of a human! This jackdaw at Claremont Gardens was watching us feeding the squabbling geese, ducks and gulls by the lake before carefully choosing his moment to come down for a share of the bounty. Thanks, Amy, for setting me the 5 Day B&W Challenge!
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.