The Shard is such an iconic view on the London skyline that it becomes difficult to find a new way to capture the scene. Sometimes being in the wheelchair actually works to my advantage, allowing me to gain a different perspective on my surroundings, and I couldn’t resist the angles of the bridge and stairs that framed the building. It had been a dull grey day but London becomes a colourful city when the lights come on, whatever the weather!
My fascination with the pelicans in St James’s Park continues! I managed a short visit on Friday afternoon after an appointment at Guy’s Hospital. It’s so therapeutic after you’ve just had to hear more bad news. I was expecting it really, no big shocks but disappointing all the same. So from having to keep my own mouth wide open for the dental conservative consultant, I went to see a much more impressive wide mouth!
The bare skin on the lower mandible of the pelican is known as the gular pouch. There are other birds with gular skin but the pelican has the largest. The lower mandible expands to open the pouch allowing it to scoop it’s prey from the water. As the mandible contracts, water is expelled from the bill and the bird can then tilt its head to let the fish slide down the gullet. The gular pouch actually has a larger capacity than the pelicans stomach! You may have heard the rhyme by Dixon Merritt: “Oh, what a wondrous bird is the pelican! His bill holds more than his belican. He can take in his beak enough food for a week. But I’m darned if I know how the helican.” In fact, any surplass food is actually stored in the oesophagus!
I finally managed to get some camera and nature time last Friday with a visit to RHS Wisley Gardens. I had a delightful time having tea with the birds outside the Glasshouse cafe before heading into the Glasshouse itself to play with the orchids! On a very grey, damp and windy Monday, I thought you all might enjoy a bit of joyful colour.
Happy New Year everyone! A new ShareMondays tag and my favourite muse to start it all off. Happy Birthday to the wonderful Julia K, dressed as Brandon Lee (aka The Crow) for her Dead Famous party on Saturday night. She’s singing I’m In Love With A German Film Star with purity and passion, well, one of The Passions in fact, Clive Timperley on guitar! What a great party and I absolutely loved hearing two dear friends performing this beautiful and haunting song together. Thank you both!
ShareMondays2019 – What’s The Difference Between A Weasel And A Stoat?
A weasel is weaselly recognised but a stoat is stoatally different! Boom Boom!
Sorry, but I couldn’t resist a bad Christmas cracker joke. This is the first WILD weasel I have ever managed to catch on camera! What a way to celebrate the festive season. I know it’s a weasel, not for the aforementioned reason, but because it’s REALLY small and the tail is only about 3cm long, with no black bushy tip! I only actually caught very brief glimpses of the tail as they’re also REALLY, REALLY fast. My photos with the full body and tail are unintentionally motion blurred!
Anyway, wishing everyone a fun and joyful festive season, whatever and however you might celebrate! Here are the festive feathered friends that I went to photograph, who actually alerted me to the presence of the Wisley Weasel. A redwing in a cherry tree and rockin’ robin!
I’m actually judging ShareMondays this week so my image is only being entered into the Fotospeed challenge this week. I’m still keeping the ShareMondays title up there though as this piece was created very much in the spirit of our Twitter togs challenge. It’s really all about connecting photographers, generating discussion and inspiration. It’s for the love of art!
I spent a fantastic day with my godchild, Quinn, last week, sharing our love of creativity and photographic art. They’re currently doing an art project at school based on patterns in nature. It’s something I know we’ll explore more at RHS Wisley Gardens soon, but I thought we could try a “rainy day” project and create our own, imagined, cosmic patterns. For our subject we used milk, cornflower, food colouring, inks and a couple of straws to create the swirling patterns we wanted.
Our results really spoke to the science-fiction fan in me and I decided to take a couple of the base images a step further with two 3D rendered spheres as planets. I added some light effects in overlays for stars and bands of particles spiralling out from the planets. This one’s for you Quinn! Keep creating, keep seeing the cosmically-beautiful in the small and simple things x
I managed to get out of the house last Thursday to visit some of my favourite tree decorations, at RHS Wisley Gardens, fieldfares and redwings! These two birds are members of the Thrush family that fly south from Scandinavia, to overwinter in the UK and other parts of southern Europe. They won’t take long to strip the cherry trees bare of these sweet treats! It’s a spectacle I love seeing every year. They are so busy feeding that I can get just a little bit closer to them than in some other areas where they are gathered.
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!
Another appointment in London led to another visit to St James’s Park last week. My lead image is a macro of one of the new pelicans. The three are just ten months old and have yet to develop their punk-like crests, but they have such beautiful shaping to the feathers on the back of their heads. They all still have some of their juvenile plumage on their wings, a brown colour, which easily distinguishes them from the three adults.
Of course the pelicans aren’t the only birds in the park! I had great fun watching juvenile coots munching on mushrooms around the edge of the lake. Anyone foraging for fungi in the Royal Parks should seek permission first! Not all fungi are suitable for human consumption, but many are an important source of food for hungry wildlife.
Lots of visitors to the park feed the birds and squirrels with peanuts. This is actually a great food for them at the moment as they contain plenty of calories to keep their energy reserves going in the colder weather. The parakeets love being fed! They’ll come and sit on your hand (head, arm or shoulder too!) to eat nuts or fruit. The smaller birds like the robins, tits and dunnocks will happily come to take bird seed from you too.