I had received the summons to Castle Hill for heart surgery las t Friday and had been to avoid catching cold or flu. Consequently I was hibernating in the house and the Birdwatch was a welcome distraction. Normally we get few birds in our garden and this proved to be the case today, although I was excited at my first bird, a female sparrowhawk, which swooped in, settled for a brief moment and then flew off again. My list is included below.
Parking up at again at The Ship in Barnoldby, the decision was made to don wellies as the ground is getting stickier. As we set off in the opposite direction from last week we noticed that already the daffodils in the village are already begining to open. These are always early and I used to enjoy them when still at work and making home visits to parents of new children. I was rather a dreer gloomy start to the walk and the brisk wind made it feeler cool, despite a temperature of 12C. As we passed through the woodland it was interesting to note that old oak woodland had, at some time, been inter-planted with serried rows of poplar trees. I understand that these were at one time destined for the match industry, although I am not sure whether that is still the case. Soon we came out into open fields with rape crops just begining to grow and enjoyed views across to Barton Street and the scarp slope of the Wolds. After a short circuit of Brigsley past the church we headed back the same way with skies gradually brightening. Once back it was time for a welcome lunch in The Ship. Replete, Heather and I then drove on to Scallows to top up the feeders at the feeding station. Changing the feeders to smaller mesh squirrel proof ones seems for the moment to be keeping them at bay. There was a flurry of activity as we arrived and whilst walking through the front meadow we enjoyed listening to the mewing of the local buzzard. The tawny owl was calling as we were walking down to the west end of the wood. I have it in mind to put up a tawny nest box ready for next year's breeding season which begins in the autumn with courtship and territory establishment with eggs being laid any time now.
Having photographed the brick wall and visited the post office, I continued my walk out to my local Horsefield edgeland. The idea, as mentioned in my last post, was to be 'in the moment' and, as Roger Deakin did, to explore the undiscovered world of the nearby. It was a wonderful afternoon and I enjoyed focusing in on the less noticed side of nature and as Deakin did to enjoy nature by seeing through the eyes of a child. I think that we all need to do this more often and be amazed at the unseen, unnoticed side of nature that is all around us.
I have recently watched an excellent Natural World Broadcast narrated by, and based on 'The Wild Places' by nature writer Robert Macfarlane. The programme was called The Wild Places of Essex. It was very interesting and I couldn't help but think what a suitable photographic project it would make up here: The Wild Places of Lincolnshire. My dissertation for my recently completed photography degree was entitled: Wilderness and Its Representation in Contemporary United Kingdom with Particular Reference to Lincolnshire.My major Body of Walk centred on walking in Lincolnshire woodlands and was related both to my dissertation and Macfarlane's Wild Places to which I made reference in both. I am minded to compile a body of work with the title, The Wild Places of Lincolnshire. I am also currently interested in the idea of Mindful Photography: using photography as a vehicle for being 'in the moment'; a human being rather than a human doing. Consequently whilst walking down to the village to post a letter I was struck by the micro-wilderness on the top of an old, slightly crumbling brick wall. Rather than being smooth, clean and pristine it was a miniature forest; not of trees but moss. I was reminded of a quote made by Robert Macfarlane in his programme when talking about fellow nature writer, Roger Deakin: he explored the undiscovered country of the nearby. This perfectly describes my observations of the brick wall and my explorations of The Horsefield and also our Lincolnshire coastline where the extensive areas of salt marsh must count as one of Lincolnshire's truly wild places.
Following a quick trip out to the feeding station to top up the feeders, we belatedly decided to go for a walk around The Horsefield in the hope of some sunset images. The hedge behind the school had been cut and cleared out to reveal a huge amount of discarded litter, especially along the length of the playground!!! We soon discovered that we had made a mistake in wearing walking trainers; after last night's rain, wellies would have been the preferred option. Sadly the sun disappeared behind cloud without colouring the sky but there was some interesting light. No walk is ever wasted.
It was good to wake to a frosty morning today and it was with anticipation that awaited Brian to pick me up for our walk. Parking at The Ship we set off past the church along the bridal way towards Bradley Woods. By the church the snowdrops were in flower and a short way down the track were hazels with their 'lambs' tail ' catkins fully out. The going was good along the track with any soft ground frozen. Frozen puddles were an excellent opportunity to make abstract images. The basal rosette of a thistle frosted with ice crystals also gave a good opportunity for a close-up image.We made such good progress that we had time to complete a circuit of Bradley Woods before heading back to meet up with the 'management' for lunch at the pub.