Posts Tagged ‘reflection’

Scottish Birds cover and last post for 2017

December 25, 2017

Through the post recently came the latest copy of Scottish Birds which I receive as a member of the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club (SOC). I was struck by the front and back covers which I think are possibly the most attractive of the year. The journal contains articles on in-depth research on birds in Scotland – their numbers, their habitat and trends in population. There are also shorter articles on rare sightings of visiting birds. I have to admit that I don’t read the research articles in full, but I particularly enjoy the photographs of birds which accompany the articles. I don’t count myself as a birder as I don’t do any serious bird watching. Please don’t use the term twitcher for bird watchers as this is regarded as pejorative, a bit like referring to serious runners as joggers or The Inuit as Eskimos. I’ve been given permission to scan and use the covers by the good people who run SOC. The front cover below shows a water pipit which was photographed at Skateraw, which is along the coast from Dunbar and on one of my mountain bike cycling routes in the winter. The article on this bird stated that is has a “prominent pale supercilium”  – unfamiliar terminology to me. Looking it up, supercilium (good illustrations) is “also commonly referred to as “eyebrow” — is a stripe which starts above the bird’s loral area (area between beak and eyes), continuing above the eye, and finishing somewhere towards the rear of the bird’s head”. Loral area is more new terminology. The scanned photo is not as clear as the journal cover photo, but you can see that this is a strikingly attractive bird, with its sharp beak which has a lightning streak of yellow, its pale plumage neatly folded to keep out the rain, its blacksmith crafted legs and feet, and black snooker ball eye.

Scottish birds front

Scottish Birds front cover (Click on all photos to enlarge)

The back cover has this photo of a Spotted Crake, captured at Doonfoot, near Ayr. This bird has the wonderful scientific name of Porzana, Porzana and there is a short video of the bird at this location here. While the spotted crake does not (I think) have the elegance of the water pipit, as it has a patchwork-looking foliage, it does have a fascinating beak, with what looks like a small boat on the upper part. As with the pipit, the spotted crake’s eye is prominent and alert to food in the water. Of course, the bird’s reflection and the reflection of the reeds by the water add much to this well composed photo.

Scottish Birds back

Scottish Birds back cover

This is the last post of 2017 as your blogger is taking a rest over the New Year, to return reinvigorated in early 2018. So where did 2017 go? Or 2007 or 1997 or ….? In a flash is the answer. Looking back on my extensive range of photos for 2017 and earlier blog posts, I recall the colours and reflections in a rockpool at Seacliff Beach on New year’s Day.

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Vibrant colours and reflections at Seacliff Beach

In May, it was the smooth lines of the tattie dreels that drew my attention. Soon after, the first sign of green shaws appeared and before we knew it, September was well under way and the tattie machine was lifting the crop. This field is now a vibrant green, with the spring wheat coming through.

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Smooth tattie dreels near Dunbar

Smooth tattie dreels near Dunbar

In September, the Tour of Britain came our way again and I was up Redstone Rig with my cycling pals – and many other cyclists – to see the peloton approach the big hill, with the rolling country side of East Lothian in the background.

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Peloton at the top of Redstone Rig

Then I blinked and it was December and Seafield Pond was frozen over on a very bright, sunny and freezing cold day.

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Seafield Pond frozen over

 

If my letter to Santa has been received and the white bearded reindeer driver is in a good mood, I may return with a brand new DLSR camera, with a video function. I’m off to leave out carrots for the reindeer and a large dram of Bunnahabhain for the man. I wish you all the very best for the festive season and a Guid New Year when it comes.

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London trip: camellia tree and Hampton Court walk

April 16, 2014

The blog is delayed until today (Tue 15 April) from last week as we were on holiday in the London area from Wednesday to Monday. We stayed in the pretty village of Thames Ditton. We were staying with relatives and in their back garden, the camellia tree was in full bloom. As the weather is milder in the south east of England, camellia trees grow extensively in gardens, whereas they are much rarer in the colder south east of Scotland where I live. I took photos of a bed of leaves which lay under the tree and my photographer’s luck was in, as a whole flower had fallen to sit in the middle of the spread of leaves, which lay as if waiting for a fairy princess to lie down in the pink softness. The 2nd and 3rd photos below show a single and a double camellia flower.

Bed of camellia leaves

Bed of camellia leaves

Single camellia flower

Single camellia flower

Double camellia flower

Double camellia flower

The day after arriving, we went for a walk to Hampton Court, via East Molesey. We walked along the river, past the well known Molesey Lock, which was built to allow large vessels to sail the river Thames. As you walk along the river, you see a variety of houseboats, some very narrow and some much larger. I took the photo below of a larger boathouse, as it was beautifully reflected in the river. Further along, we passed a  cherry tree in full blossom, with the flowers being a very similar colour to the camellia tree – see next photo.

Houseboat on the River Mole

Houseboat on the River Mole

Cherry blossom

Cherry blossom

On to Hampton Court itself, with its magnificent buildings and barley sugar chimneys – see here for a blog report on a previous visit, showing the chimneys. While all the daffodils had passed their best and were looking like weary revellers going home after an all-night  bacchanalian party, the tulips were standing proud and there were many varieties on show. The final 2 photos show a bed of tulips and other flowers and another bed next to the gates of Hampton Court. From there, we went on to Bushy Park, a wide expanse of grass and trees, and you can see where the avenues were created in the times when Henry the Eighth went hunting there. There are still herds of deer in the park and they often lie in the grass quite near the footpaths which transverse the park.

Tulips at Hampton Court

Tulips at Hampton Court

Tulips at Hampton Court gates

Tulips at Hampton Court gates

Hopes Reservoir, grey sea and Alice Munro

November 28, 2013

The blog is a week late as I had trouble accessing it. However, I went on the WordPress forums with my problem and someone has fixed it – thank you to whoever Raincoaster is.

On Sunday morning, my wife and some fellow members of Dunbar Running Club headed off up country about 14 miles (22K) to take part in the annual Goat’s Gallop run, organised by another local club HELP. On the way, you drive through the bonnie village of Gifford which is resplendent at this time of year with a carpet of dying but colourful leaves along the edge of the road near the park. The run starts at a local farm and from there, the runners face a long, steep climb to the top of Lammer Law (scroll down for walking route). The runners come off this route and run across the uneven swathes of heather – thus the goat’s gallop name – and continue towards a cliff, from where they face a vertiginous descent, before joining the track again, taking them past the Hopes Reservoir. Photos 1-4 show views approaching the reservoir, and across the reservoir, while it was still misty, one of the runners on the track near the reservoir, and a view over the reservoir when the sun had come out and provided a spectacular reflection. For the full set of photos – and a classic song – see my Photopeach page.  I walked to the reservoir from the nearby car park and was accompanied only by the puckpuckpuckpuck call of several red grouse, some of whom were startled by my approach and flung themselves into the air with a desperate flapping of wings. Otherwise, there was a very pleasant silence.

Today, looking from the back of my house, the sea, which was a deep blue with rushing, polished white waves on Sunday, is dull and the waves look as if they might be struggling to summon the energy to get to shore. In my poetry calendar last week, this image was captured in a much more descriptive way, by Barbara Crooker in her poem The Winter Sea. She writes “The ocean’s grey today, like someone’s dingy laundry,/ the slop and slosh of sudsy waves agitate on the sand/ and the sky’s the inside of an ashtray at some salty dive”.

Another poetic writer which I’ve been reading is the short story specialist Alice Munro who recently won the very prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. I bought her latest book of short stories Dear Life. I’ve read one complete story so far and have started the 2nd one. As the  Guardian reviewer notes, each story is like a mini novel and you need time to reflect after reading each one. Munro condenses people’s lives with enviable ease and it’s not until you finish one of her stories that you realise just how much you learned about the characters. Although Munro is not known as a poetic writer, she sometimes writes beautifully e.g. “The frozen lake not level but mounded along the shore, as if the waves had turned to ice in the art of falling”. This is a striking and imaginative image. Even if you never read short stories, get this book and you will be richly rewarded.

Looking towards the Hopes Reservoir

Looking towards the Hopes Reservoir

Runner passing Hopes Reservoir

Runner passing Hopes Reservoir

Hopes Reservoir

Hopes Reservoir

Elliptical reflection at Hopes Reservoir

Elliptical reflection at Hopes Reservoir

A Word a Week Photo Challenge : Two

November 7, 2013

This week’s photo challenge is Two. I was suprprised how many appropriate photos I had. Here’s my selection – see more at Sue’s site.

Mother and chick kittiwake at Dunbar Harbour

Mother and chick kittiwake at Dunbar Harbour

 Canoeists at Paxton House, Scottish Borders

Canoeists at Paxton House, Scottish Borders

Llamas at Coldingham Bay

Llamas at Coldingham Bay

Frosted bales in the winter

Frosted bales in the winter

Swans on the coast at Dunbar

Swans on the coast at Dunbar

Ross and his reflection at Spittal Beach

Ross and his reflection at Spittal Beach