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ShareMondays2020 – Le Chat Écaille

Juno

ShareMondays2020 – Le Chat Écaille

Something a bit more simple for the weekly competitions today! Juno, posed on the windowsill, giving the classic shaping of the famous Art Nouveau poster, Le Chat Noir, by Théophile Steinlen. I can’t really share just Juno! This portrait of Luna focuses on the beautiful colouring of her eyes.

Luna

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ShareMondays2019 – Lazy Days

Juno

ShareMondays2019 – Lazy Days

I’ve been out of action for two weeks now and I think our Juno is as bored of it all as I am! The antibiotics did improve my throat infection and I finally have my voice back. I only started the correct treatment for the inner ear infection last Thursday though so I’m still a little bit off balance. Hopefully things will improve soon and I’ll be back out there again!

 

 

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Protect Your Pets

Protect Your Pets

Protect Your Pets

The Wisley redwings have a very important message for everyone today! Small decorations and their parts can be a choking hazard to pets and young children, as demonstrated by this helpful redwing. Try to place them out of reach and if you have dogs, please don’t hang chocolates on your tree as it’s toxic to them. We don’t place any decorations on the lower part of our tree (including the lights) and we place the tree in a corner, with gifts and other obstacles around it to protect our cats. Tinsel is well known for causing intestinal blockages in pets so it’s best left in that box! Even the pine needles on live trees can cause intestinal problems. If you see your pets chewing branches please try to block off the tree from their reach or do as we do and get a synthetic tree. It’s still very pretty! Holly, mistletoe and poinsettia can all be poisonous to your pets. Mistletoe is also harmful to humans, so please keep it well out of reach of children and make sure you clear up any fallen berries. You can educate your children about the dangers of toxic plants when they’re old enough but I haven’t yet found a way to educate my cats!

Finally the redwings would like me to remind you all to keep feeding the birds!

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Kestrel Portrait

Female Kestrel

Kestrel Portrait

My hubby and I braved the elements on Saturday to go to the Cheese and Chilli Festival near Guildford on Saturday. We were all hoping for a break in the rain to watch the GMG Falconry display! No such luck, complete washout. The birds were out on perches under gazebos but they were still getting a bit damp and chilly. I did manage to take a few portraits and I really like the way the damp feathers brought exaggerated detail to this female kestrel’s expression! She had puffed her feathers up to get a bit more insulation from the damp and cold. Such a beautiful bird but she really wasn’t impressed. The phrase “fed up” actually comes from falconry language. It was used to describe a bird that had eaten enough food that it wasn’t interested in flying anymore, literally fed up! The birds on display certainly looked completely fed up but not from feeding. Birds of prey really can’t fly in such heavy rain! Although oils spread through their feathers give them a certain amount of weatherproofing, a wild kestrel would have been hunkered down in a tree or rock roost waiting for the rain to pass. We decided that it was too wet to stick around and returned to our own roost to wait out the weather! So my choices for today’s Fotospeed challenge were limited but I can’t really complain when I had this lovely kestrel.

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Unlocking The Landscape Part 5

The Towpath is popular with dog-walkers

Unlocking The Landscape Part 5

Jude (The Earth Laughs In Flowers) commented the other day how much she liked the processing of the Lock Gate photos, that they were reminiscent of a Constable Painting. John Constable was well known for producing romantic images of the English Landscape and I often find that his visions are in the back of my mind when I’m out photographing scenes and later processing them at home. This one’s for you Jude!

Lock Gates with a painted effect

New four-legged friends:

The towpath of the Basingstoke Canal is very popular with dog-walkers. The dogs themselves just love it out there! New friends to make, lots of interesting smells, sticks, squirrels, ducks, people, children and the water itself. I really love meeting dogs out on the path and very often have an interesting chat with their owners, many of whom are passionate about the local environment and have a good eye for the wildlife too. It was a dog walker who first alerted me to the appearance of our two lovely kingfishers!

And some old favourites:

Part of Weekly Photo Challenge: Landscape

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird

Barn Owl Flight

Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird

The saying goes, “It’s the early bird that catches the worm”. This week we were challenged to get up early and capture the morning light. My challenge while in Devon over Easter, was to get up much earlier than I usually do and catch the birds! Specifically, birds of prey. I’ve been sharing a few of these images with you over the past few weeks, but this montage took some time to compose and get the feel of motion and light that I wanted. The story that I hoped to tell with this image is of the special relationship between the owl and her owner.

This is Pepper, a pure-breed British Barn Owl (Tyto alba alba), flying to her handler, Steve Hopper from South Hams Hawks and Owls. Steve is a falconer who runs a raptor rescue centre and flies his birds of prey for educational displays and photography groups. Pepper was rescued at the age of sixteen when her owner passed away. She’s now twenty one, which is very elderly for a Barn Owl! She’s almost completely blind so can only manage short exercise flights, relying upon the sound of Steve’s voice and the taps he makes on the glove to guide her to him. Watching her short flights was a real privilege. She flies high and, as Steve put it, creates wonderful “angel” shapes with her wings.