Tuesday 11 February 2014

Week 4: Between Rain Storms

I was thwarted by the weather and various other constraints on Monday, so, it wasn't until today that I made it to the Oak. After a morning of driving rain, the sky cleared and the sun came out. From the car park, I could hear the usual pair of Mistle Thrushes rattling away to one another. It turned out, they were up in the Oak tree. Unfortunately, by the time I'd reached a good vantage point to photograph them, they had moved on. Over to the east, a pair of Common Buzzards were calling and floated over Dellfield, heading west. So, today's Oak tree photograph - the canopy against the sky...

On my way to Westbrook Hay, I'd noticed one of the Little Egrets was in its usual spot on the Bulbourne River. I decided to make the most of the hiatus in the incessant rain and walk down to take a closer look. The floods had inevitably grown on Snoxall's Moor and there were plenty of gulls enjoying them. One of the Lesser Black-backed Gulls had just found what turned out to be a particularly long worm, requiring a number of good tugs to release it from the earth. Its mate looked on with envy!

Walking through Station Moor, a Sparrowhawk swooped in low from the south, over the river and into a hedge full of little birds. A mass exodus ensued but the Sparrowhawk didn't emerge. It could well have been tucking in to something.

Over on Harding's Moor, on the south side of the River Bulbourne, there were in fact two Little Egrets. However, as I crossed Station Road, a sudden spat over fishing rights (maybe) led to one of the birds heading off east, down the river. Thankfully, the other bird hung on and I spent a good 20 minutes watching it fish in the shallows. With its eyes honed on the water, it would carefully lift one (bright yellow!) foot, waggle it around over the surface of the riverbed and see what emerged. It caught at least 2 little fish whilst I was there. (To enlarge the photographs, just click on them)
    Little Egret (Egretta garzetta), fishing
    Little Egret (Egretta garzetta), taking a stroll

Walking back along London Road, the pattern in the bricks under the A41 bridge caught my eye. Ok, they're not "wild" or "alive" but I'm sure I can make some tenuous link to the many and varied patterns found in nature and the idea that the aesthetics of man-made structures only echo those. Mmm…ok, maybe not.

When I arrived back at Westbrook Hay, at about 15:30, I was surprised to find that the sun wasn't the only celestial body in view. Surely a shot of the Moon through my chosen Oak, and cradled by my chosen branch, is ample compensation for the inclusion of the brickwork photograph!

Ok, 3 facts about the Moon (not something I imagined I'd include in this blog when it was first conceived, I'll admit!)
  1. It's approximately 250,000 miles (384,400 km) from the Earth. Practically speaking, it would take about 130 days to travel by car; 13 hours by rocket, or 1.52 seconds at the speed of light, should you so desire.
  2. Its diameter is 2000 miles (3, 476km). The surface of the Moon is about the same area as the continent of Africa.
  3. Its surface temperature varies between -233 and 123 degrees celcius.
For more interesting facts about the Moon, take a look at the NASA website.

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