A MOUSE TALE – 44

I was lucky enough back in April to be invited along to witness the flying of a Tawny Owl in a privately owned bluebell wood.

At the end of the display the owl was rewarded with a meal of a mouse – and I was rewarded with a sequence of images that show the bird manipulating the meal and then swallowing it head first having initially, I am told, crushed the mouse’s skull with its very powerful beak.

A MOUSE TALE by John Allen

All taken on the Olympus EM-1 MkII + 40-150mm f/2.8Pro lens, ISO 2000, f/3.5 and 1/125sec in natural lighting.

EPPING FOREST WALK – 43

A walk through Epping Forest this morning just after a short rain shower.

The forest had everything – colour, sunshine, bright red fungi, old trees with nooks and crannies and the blazing oranges of autumnal ferns.

All images taken on the Olympus EM-1 with a 45 – 150mm lens. I travelled very light.

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Is there a better way to spend an autumn morning?

THE BRITISH IRONWORK CENTRE – 42

When we were in Shropshire we  visited the British Ironworks Centre & Shropshire Sculpture Park just outside Ostwestry. The place is described on Wikipedia as “a forge, silversmiths and bric-a-brac shop”.

The grounds are full of (metal) sculptures, mainly animals, but some human ( or humanoid ) forms. There is, apparently, a gorilla made of spoons – I don’t think he is the one show below – but there is also the Knife Angel – constructed from “100,000 knives, blades, swords and other weapons used in violent crime from across 43 Police Forces in the United Kingdom.” ( Source : Wikipedia ). The knives were collected as the result of a nationwide knife amnesty.

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The Knife Angel.

BIC by John Allen-2

These final two shots are of deer sculptures, part of the outdoor display at the centre.

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We visited on a very wet Friday. I’d love to go back in the sunshine!

SHROPSHIRE – 41

We’ve just returned from a week in Shropshire where we stayed in a stunning house situated to the west of Ostwestry, close to the Wales/England border. These images are of the view from the main sitting room and verandah, looking west into Wales.

They show, not only the magnificence of the view, but also the changing light and conditions that we saw during the week.

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Even on the last days as we prepared to leave, and the rain hammered down across the valley, it still retained its splendour and beauty.

If you do not know Shropshire, go take a look. But don’t tell too many people. Keep it our secret. 🙂

 

SPIDER ALERT!! – UNINVITED HOUSE GUEST – 40

LOOK AWAY NOW IF YOU DON’T LIKE SPIDERS.

Overnight this uninvited guest moved in and built a huge web in the hallway of our house. The web was anchored to a lightbulb, one of my shoes and a plastic shoe tray.

It was a magnificent piece of engineering – but it had to go – as did the spider!!

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All images taken on an Olympus OMD EM-1 MkII with a 60mm macro lens – and some extra light from a small LED torch.

CORMORANT & CATCH – 39

On our trip to Berwick-upon-Tweed I decided to walk down the river to get underneath the famous railway viaduct. ( More of that later, perhaps.)

On the way I came across this cormorant that had caught itself some lunch! A huge flat-fish of some type, that seemed far too large to swallow. And, indeed, the bird did seem to spend some time trying to decide how it was going to eat its meal. Note also how much of the cormorant in the first two shots appears to be under water!!

Eventually, as shown in the final image, it swallowed the thing whole! Amazing!

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It sat for a while on the water, made a couple of attempts to take off, and on the third go it flew along the river and under the arches of the viaduct. What a catch.

BAMBURGH BEACH AT DUSK – 38

During our Northumberland trip we spent an evening on the beach at Bamburgh in the hour – and a little after – sunset.

The changing colour of the light was fantastic, and the colour when the sun had finally set was stunning. We could have stayed longer – but in the end the call for food, and a glass of wine, was too strong.

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Bamburgh and the Northumberland coast is one of England’s best kept secrets. Don’t tell too many people about it!

Moorhen Family – and an Apple – 36

Walking along the New River near Stansted Abbots last week, we spotted this clutch of Moorhen chicks.

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Mum was close by with a more mature – but, we think, still young – sibling. Mum had found an apple floating in the stream and she had managed to move it from the middle of the river to the bank, close to the chicks.Moorhens by John Allen-2

By grabbing hold of the stalk on the apple – with her beak – after several attempts Mother Moorhenpulled the apple out of the water and on to the bank.Moorhens by John Allen-3

The older Moorhens then enjoyed an apple treat. The younger ones were unable to take part in the feast. But great to witness this piece of animal/bird behaviour.