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8th April 2020 – Self-isolating in Bristol

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Slideshow of some of my photos from the last two days. (If being viewed on an iPad you can pinch and stretch).

Three weeks in to lock-down and there is clearly a repetition in my blogs. My apologies, but trying to capture photos of wildlife from the boundaries of my home is doing the world of good for my mental stability and, for anyone who sees my blog, I hope others enjoy a little bit of digression from the worries of the terrible Covid-19 pandemic.

At least the weather has helped to lift moral and my photography has benefited from a little of the sunshine in the past two days, although this morning when I took most of my photos, it was still very grey.

DSC08322Carrion crow jumping for joy!

DSC08355…because he’s found a stash of chips (not ours!)

DSC08415Dunnock getting tarted up

DSC08509Blue tit about to move off

DSC08510Blue tit in flight

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DSC08549Starling with party hat

DSC08560Bird on a wire

DSC08591Crab apple in front garden

DSC08594Bee on crab apple in front garden

DSC08604Crab apple

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DSC08612Gull (I’m hopeless on gulls especially when I can’t see their backs or the colour of their legs)

DSC08621Starling

DSC08628Neighbour’s magnolia lasting well

DSC08637Hover fly (well at least it was hovering)

 

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3rd April 2020 – Self-isolating in Bristol

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I realise the quality of my photos today are not really worthy of a blog but it does give me a focus in these strange times and its worth keeping a record for myself. Especially as I added a new bird to my garden list (I’m not really keeping a list) when I spotted a distant male sparrowhawk  flying over head – in fact it was probably more likely to be flying over the neighbouring district of Frenchay as it was a long way away.

#stayhome  #staysafe

DSC07583Male sparrowhawk 

DSC07595Male sparrowhawk

DSC07272Dunnock (hedge sparrow)

DSC07280Dunnock (hedge sparrow)

DSC07301House sparrow

DSC07314Lesser black-backed gull

DSC07366Lesser black-backed gull

DSC07412Collared dove

DSC07440Dunnock

DSC07476House sparrow

DSC07389Bee

 

 

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1st April 2020 – Self-isolating at home in Bristol

Even though it hasn’t been as bitingly cold as yesterday it has been a very dull day and my trips to the end of the path didn’t produce much. I did see the house sparrows, which are making a nest in the eves of the roof of the house opposite, mating in a nearby tree but the light was so poor for a decent photo. More and more sparrows are appearing and starlings, crows and jackdaws are collecting nesting materials. The dunnocks have again been looking at themselves in car wing mirrors.

What was quite an achievement was to get a photo of a blue tit on the bird feeder – my presence nearly always frightens them off.

DSC06540House sparrows mating

 

DSC06695Starlings collecting nest materials

DSC06780Wood pigeon

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DSC06821Blue tit on one of my garden feeders

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Blue tit on the tree opposite my house

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28th March 2020 – Self-isolating in Bristol

I managed to get a short fix of nature this morning whilst self-isolating at home but I didn’t stay long outside as, with a strong north-easterly wind, the temperatures had plummeted.

The bird feeders in our garden continue to go down but I get little or no opportunity to photograph the birds on them because as soon as I go in to our small back garden the birds disappear. I can see them from the bathroom window  but that’s too geeky for even me to photograph them from there. Consequently I am restricted to photographing birds discretely with a long lens in neighbours’ gardens or on nearby rooftops.

The wood pigeons were easy to spot but I didn’t see any of the collared doves which have been around recently.

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There seemed  to be more house sparrows this morning. It is very encouraging to see them as, although once quite abundant locally, they had disappeared in recent years.

DSC05698Male sparrow

DSC05681Female sparrow

I could hear goldfinches but didn’t see any today.

The dunnocks appeared again and instantly made for the car across the road to look at themselves in the wing mirrors or at their reflections in the car windows.

DSC05742Dunnock getting ready for the day ahead

On the same wall I also saw a robin.

DSC05596\DSC05604European robin

In a distant garden  there were a pair of blackbirds. I haven’t seen any locally recently but I have heard them. That’s the next thing – recording bird song!

DSC05715The best I could manage of this male blackbird

On the roof tops there were jackdaws, crows and magpies.

DSC05777Two jackdaws

Before going in I spotted a huge bee busy on a flowering red currant next to the back door.

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I made a mental note to myself to learn the names of different types of bees. As Simon Barnes writes in the Sunday Times today:

” I can’t kiss you. I can’t buy you a pint. I can’t invite you to drop by and watch the football. All I can offer is the best thing in the world. Nature”. He goes on to say:
“It all starts with noticing. The second stage is seeking the name, and that will give a greater intimacy, as names do.”

But enough was enough and I disappeared indoors to find some chores to do.

 

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26th March 2020 – Self-isolating in Bristol

We have been self-isolating at home all week. We had a 7 am walk in our local park last Saturday but didn’t feel safe as people, especially runners, came very close to us (even though I often pretended to be looking for a bird in the bushes).  On Sunday we travelled to the Forest of Dean where we managed some exercise in isolation. However, reading what NHS workers had to say, and pleading with us to stay at home, we have remained at home. Neighbours and friends have helped with shopping. It has seemed very strange because it has always been in our nature to help others and now we find we can only help by staying at home.

To some extent I have enjoyed painting fences, building garden storage, cleaning the patio and so on as the weather has been wonderful for this time of the year. However, I have missed my camera (and nature) and today I self-indulged by taking photos from in and around our tiny urban garden. If I can’t go to nature, I’ll have to let nature come to me. I could see a herring gull, goldfinches, sparrows, dunnocks, wood pigeons and collared doves, jackdaws, crows, starlings, blackbirds, a robin (only heard),  blue tits and great tits (only heard), bees and a peacock butterfly.

Unfortunately, all of the birds (except the blackbird on the washing line) were outside of the garden and I hope that neighbours don’t think I am being a voyeur with a long lens. I hope my photos are the proof of it.

DSC04597Goldfinch

DSC04605-2Dunnock

DSC04612-2Wood pigeon

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DSC04694Jackdaw

DSC04706-2Male sparrow

DSC04737-2Male sparrow

DSC04762Magpie

DSC04779-2Female sparrow

DSC04784Dunnock

DSC04790-2Female sparrow

DSC04853-2Jackdaw

DSC04875-2Dunnocks

DSC04881Dunnocks

DSC04902Dunnocks

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DSC04946Female sparrow

DSC05047Female sparrow

DSC05115Collared doves

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DSC05297Peacock butterfly

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22nd March 2020 – Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

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At the end of the first week of self-isolating due to the Covid-19 pandemic it was a sure delight to get out and about today. I have kept myself busy during the week doing jobs in and around the house but I have felt hemmed in (not surprisingly) and the lack of social contact was beginning to have an effect on my moral.

We were pleased to hear earlier in the week that the National Trust was keeping its outdoor spaces open but as people went there in their droves social distancing was clearly not possible and this decision was revoked. So we decided to give the Forest of Dean a go. We have been many times to the RSPB Reserve at Nags Head in the past and  never seen many people. Fortunately again today there were very few people around and we could keep a good distance from them.

The aim of our sortie was to get some exercise and not particularly to do bird watching, which was just as well as we didn’t see many birds at all (we avoided the bird hides even if they had been open). It was a lovely sunny day and the beauty of the forest certainly lifted our spirit.

Although we didn’t get many sightings of birds we did have a wonderful moment when a bat flitted around above us. A managed one rather poor shot which might enable anyone who knows about these things to identify it. – a pipistrelle perhaps?

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Right at the beginning of our walk a lone greylag goose mystically appeared from nowhere.

DSC04364Greylag goose

There were a few blackbirds, some coal tits and frequent noisy robins.  We also heard woodpeckers, probably Great Spotted although Lesser Spotted are found here.

DSC04407Blackbird

DSC04460Coal tit

DSC04537Robin

DSC04548Robin

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16th March 2020 – Eastville Park, Bristol

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It’s been a while since I’ve been able to get out and take photos and write a blog as its been very wet and I have also been sidelined with a poorly foot. As a septuagenarian the risk of Covid-19 will clearly limit my opportunities for a while. Hopefully I will manage a little exercise in the park and maintain social distancing.

It was truly beautiful this morning. The stars for me were a peacock butterfly, a wren, a chiffchaff , a couple of grey wagtails and a kingfisher but I also enjoyed photographing the ducks, geese and swans on the lake.

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