I am an occasional contributor to the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge: and this week’s appealed. Birds that eat fish as their primary diet. Well, I have images of gannets, gulls and guillemots. I have puffins, though not a single photo features one with a beak crammed with sand eels.
But the fish-eater I love the most is the bird I so often see snaffling goldfish from our landlord’s pond: or as I walk the banks of our neighbourhood River Ure : the one I spot as I hang over the sides of bridges and boats in Spain: the one fishing in among the townhouses of Dordrecht, the Netherlands: the one in my featured photo who was flying down the canal-side in Busan South Korea. It’s the heron, the grey heron.
I have shamelessly engineered the last photo on my phone for February to be the one you see below. I wanted to showcase my Virtual Dog for March. Some of you may remember that to make sure I go out walking each and every day, I’m making sure of having a Virtual Dog who needs to be exercised. It’s a big ask of these dogs, so I think a month is enough.
Going out every day with Virtual Dog is definitely working for me. I’m out every single day, whatever the weather, and I now have 252.8 miles (406.84 km) under my belt this year. But I have nine more months after this to fill. I invite applications from interested dog-owners. Your dog will not have to leave your side, whether you live in England, America or Australia, but will join me daily for walks through the Yorkshire countryside, often in woodland, often by the river. There’ll be lots of chances to be off the lead, but especially during lambing season. will have to stay closely to heel across farmland. The only reward, apart from the walks themselves, will be the chance for your dog to feature on this blog.
Last on the Card. Here you are Brian. I know you’ve had a dig at those of us who don’t like to include our less-than-wonderful last images. But to misquote Bill Shankly: ‘Some people think that the last photo is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.’
So many of our favourite springtime flowers have cheerful sunny faces., beginning in January with aconites, then going via celandines, daffodils, marsh marigolds, primroses, dandelions and cowslips to glorious meadows of buttercups in June. Here are just a few of them.
I can’t end the post though, without reminding myself of the crowds, the hosts of daffodils in the woodland slopes of the Pyrenees, nearby to where we lived in France. The French don’t have the same love affair with the daffodil that we have here in England, but this was a spectacle I’ve never seen bettered anywhere.
Virtual Dog has been coming along with me on my Actual Walks for over a month now. She’s been complaining that we have yet to go on a Virtual Walk. She has a point. Let’s go on one today. It’s raining, and there’s mud everywhere. We could do Jude’s challenge while we’re about it, Life in Colour: Brown, and look for brown in anything but mud.
We’ll start off by the village pond. There aren’t usually ducklings at this time of year, but on a Virtual Walk, anything goes. Down the lane towards Sleningford Hall we’ll pass a friendly goat. And a herd of cows. Now I know that this hike is a virtual one. We have no cows at all north of our village, and I’ve never seen a goat either.
We’ll head towards Musterfield, and this involves a walk through the woods, and my favourite ancient oak. Look at the size of it. How many kings and queens, wars and eras of social change has it lived through?
And we’re sure to find some interesting tree fungus too. And butterflies. I’m not good at butterflies. Some kind of skipper? Can anybody help?
There are always a few friendly horses glad enough to wander over and chat. This one has a foal though (Virtual Walk, remember?) and takes no notice of us.
If we’re passing through farmland, we’re near barns. And if there are some (brownish) geese, so much the better.
And finally, because this is a Virtual Walk, just before we turn for home, we’ll visit this tiny dwelling, a home surely to fairies or elves. It’s actually at Nidd Hall, 15 miles from here. But on a Virtual Walk, we can achieve anything.
PS. It IS a rainy day today. A Virtual Walk would be very welcome. But needs must. I will go out with Virtual Dog for an Actual Walk too. And Jo, do Virtual Walks count on Jo’s Monday Walk?
Yesterday I showed you soggy France, a few winters ago. Today I’ll show you soggy North Yorkshire, yesterday. Despite often being up to my ankles in mud and water, I found my end-of-day walk had its own particular delights.
Well, you were game for a bit of a bet yesterday, and both sunrise and sunset got pretty much equal scores. Shall we go for a walk and see who’s right? Click on any image to see it full size and to get rid of the caption.
I took my puzzle picture, now shown in a different format as my feature photo, shortly after I’d left the lake. But this wasn’t overlooking another lake. It was yet another flooded field. Time? One minute past four. Sunset: the first moments. So I was up to no good, offering you sun down instead of sun up on a challenge featuring All Things Up,
All that snow we’ve been having. It’s so pretty, but I bet those poor sheep were fed up. Look at that featured photo. Not much evidence of grass there. So when I passed a neighbouring farm while out with Virtual Dog on Sunday, I wasn’t too surprised to find any number of sheep gathered round the serving hatch. Nobody needed to encourage them to eat up.