Friday, 30 November 2012

As far as the back door

 It seems at the moment, the only time I get to take photos are when I take Bracken out in the garden (he can't be trusted to be out there alone!) not that I am complaining as there are plenty of nice shots to be had!

These were from the 26th/27th

Eucalyptus silhouette against an early morning sky

When Bracken is sleeping I have a play around with the photos, enhancing shadows, boosting colours etc. Technology is so advanced! 

A veiny autumn leaf
Passion fruits and collared doves
Yummy Bracken? He knew he shouldn't be eating it!

Running around like a mad thing!
Some day soon I really need to go and find some waxwings and other lovely birdies, but for now the confines of the garden will do!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Close to home

Not had a chance to be out for long recently, but did manage to go for a short walk last week (14/11) while the pup was asleep. Was hoping for some field fares and redwings, alas we did not. However we did see a green woodpecker, some rooks and starlings but that was about it really. We were treated to a lovely sunset though, making for some pretty silhouette photo opportunities!

In the last few days there has been some welcomed sunshine and I managed to take a few photos in the garden when there was great wintry lighting... 

Sunlight glinting off a water droplet on this vibrant purple flower (18/11)

Silhouetted buddleia against the autumn leaves and wonderful blue sky

Lovely crescent moon at dusk

I was about 1 meter away from this bold little wren! Totally undaunted by my presence!

  Our single glazed, condensation covered windows at their best! (19/11)

I think this little selection just show that you don't have to drive for miles to get some effective photos!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Puppy bound

Back in May I was studying hard and revising for my finals, as an incentive to do well (because the prospect of getting a good degree was clearly not enough!) my dear Mother told me we could get a puppy if I got a 2:1 and 2:1 I got so that is why we ended up getting a puppy rather than a dog!
We kept an eye on rescue centres for litters, and it didn't take long, we went to visit some tri-coloured collie pups brought over from Ireland. We had to choose from 3, not an easy task,  but we went for a cute little boy who wasn't too shy but also not too boisterous! We picked him up 5 days later and called him Bracken (Irish surname and born in the woods).

So here is the little cutie the evening we picked him up, puppy pads all over the house, not that he used them!

I can safely say he is a lot more excitable and crazy than that evening! My hands are nicely chewed as are most things in the house! Really didn't realise how much like a child he is! Whenever he is sleeping, rush around and do things that can't be done when entertaining an energetic pup!

We got him some lovely puppy toys, but his favourite toys are a shampoo bottle, a yoghurt pot and a kitchen roll tube!! Oh and the obvious shoes, slippers and sleeves!

He is adorable though, and has found his preferred sleeping place... my lap!

So anyway, this wonderful bundle of joy is the reason why blog posts will probably not contain any bird, countryside or outdoors themed photos as he is still too young to go for walkies. Can't wait to get him out and about walking!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

RSPB Campaign road show

Today I headed up to London for the RSPB "Aren't volunteers Brilliant Campaign Event 2012". I couldn't get my bearings when i came out of Euston, but thanks to my ingenious smart phone, Google maps led the way to the University of London Union where the event was being held. Got up to the room where everything was going on and had a few cups of tea then talked to a couple of the other people there. All sat down and awaited the welcome talk. All the staff were very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. We had talks from Richard Budden who welcomed us and showed us some very emotive and shocking video clips from various organisations (Greenpeace, UNICEF etc.); Martyn Foster and Benedict Southworth who all provided us with very interesting information and I felt I had learnt a lot. It also felt like I had been transported back a few months to the days of sitting in lectures, however this was new and exciting material that I was really interested in. We were then put into groups and had discussions about the best campaigns that we had seen, which turned into a good debate with lots of ideas being bounced around.

After this was lunch, and not your bog standard crappy triangle sarnies, they had really made an effort to put on a good day, and catered for carnies, veggies and vegans! I should hope so too!

Anyway after this we had a feedback session where all the groups showed the flip charts of what we had come up with. Interesting how all groups picked up on the fact that the petitions which gain the most signatures or names are set up by celebrities (Brian May etc)! Many other common themes came up, such as knowledge and education and capturing the right audience.

Following this, Paul Outhwaite talked to us about the Thames Estuary Airport (TEA) campaign and showed us some shocking figures of the huge numbers of birds and large areas of wildlife habitat that would be destroyed if said plans were to go ahead.

In our same groups we were then asked to come up with 3 actions which we would implement for the TEA campaign. This was a very difficult task as we kept going down different paths. It was really great to have such an involved discussion about the ways in which we would put a stop on the idea of there ever being an airport built in the Thames Estuary. It is simply not viable and hopefully it will not get to the stage where we have to fight this! Surely Boris and the other idiots involved will see it is a ridiculous proposal.

The day was rounded off with Martin Abrams telling us a rather inspirational story about how he first got into campaigning. Everybody then used the paper with a speech bubble on that we were given at the start, to write a pledge of something we aimed to do to help, whatever we liked. I pledged to tell friends, family and the community about the TEA proposal and the campaign which is just beginning.

Then had a chat to some of the staff and signed myself up to be a pin badge holder, then made my way home, very weary due to lack of sleep (puppy Brackens fault) - but I will tell you more about that little terror another time!

p.s. sorry for lack of pictures!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Blog re-design...

As I'm new to this whole blog thing, when I first created it I just kind of went with the flow, with regards to the design, well and pretty much everything else, but I thought it didn't look quite right, I'm still not sure it does now, but it's a bit better I think.

I was down in Plymouth the last few days visiting relatives and friends, so unfortunately not much time for proper birding. However on the coach down there I was blessed with about 15 red kites driving through Berkshire, a couple of kestrels along the way and 20 or more buzzards, sitting on fence posts or soaring majestically. I also spotted a couple of deer in a field, but which kind I could not say. i also encountered many garden birds, robins, blackbirds, blue tits etc. There seemed lots of bushes with enticing berries on so always on the lookout!

Anyway until next time when I may have some more interesting finds!