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Showing posts from March, 2015

Real radio

If you only listen to one programme on the radio this year, please make it this one. Dawn Chorus, as recorded by Chris Watson, in BBC Radio 4's programme Soundstage .  It's fifteen minutes of pure perfection.  It has all my favourite sounds - birdsong, waves, music. The programme just finished and it will be on iPlayer, and also available as a podcast.  Don't miss it, any which way!

A little jaunt south

I flew down to London on Tuesday morning. Flybe operate a good service to London City Airport but I flew in what looked like a purple dragonfly, with very noisy engines!  The important thing, however, is that I got there and back safely, which is all that matters.  I do like to sit by the window in an aircraft.  Down below, on Tuesday, I could see a smidgen of snow on the top of some peaks in the Lake District. Tilly and I had enjoyed a short walk around one of the fields a few hours before I found myself standing on this platform, staring at the golden syrup factory, and a solitary street of Victorian terraced villas.  The woods, the fields, the wild animals, and the cry of the curlew were a world away. The Docklands Light Railway bore me off towards central London, past the Emirates Air Line which straddles the River Thames, near the O2 arena.  I had no idea it existed, and only know the name now because I have just Googled itI  It was one of many changes I found.  I can'

Sunday surfers

I love the subtle colours of the saltmarsh at Belhaven Beach.  With the cold wind at our backs this morning, we walked across to the beach.  The wind had switched direction from yesterday, when it blew in from the east.  It had created a good swell for today's surfers.  I counted about 26 of them, all tumbling about and enjoying the North Sea surf. Out at sea we could see the gannets fishing, diving headlong into the sea, leaving a telltale splash where they hit the water and disappeared.  And on the sand, appropriately enough, a surf clam. As I type this post I am listening to Words and Music on Radio 3.  A fabulous programme.  Today the theme is 'The Silver Sea'.  It's all very atmospheric!

Eclipsed - by a hare

My camera and I have failed to capture the eclipse this morning, although I did get a good glimpse as I drove back from North Berwick, when a small black cloud passed in front of the sun, and I could clearly see a decent black crescent of moon.  :o) I did take some photos, none of which came out, so I had a little play around with them on iPhoto, just to get a bit of fun out of the experience!  Starting off in Tesco car park, where it became apparent that I wasn't going to get much joy, I decided to make a dash for home. On the way back I passed one of East Lothian's countryside rangers, standing behind her van, with a piece of card in one hand, and holding a second bit of paper behind it.  The card had a small hole in it, and she told me she was waiting for the moon to pass across the sun, when the light shining through the hole onto the paper behind would disappear.  She had chosen a quiet spot, where you could only hear the birdsong - mostly skylarks - and she said

Thursday walk

I was going to give the walk reports a bit of break, having posted quite a lot of photos of the same common reeds, and the local wildlife, over the past couple of weeks.  But this morning, despite a sharp frost, the sun was making a hazy appearance, and everything was just looking so lovely.  I am pretty sure the haze was not the smog the UK has been experiencing today, because it all cleared away as the sun got stronger. The sights were great, but so were the sounds.  I could hear seagulls calling, curlews mewing, larks singing above, and lots of assorted twittering from the smaller birds.   We were about to turn the corner at the bottom of the field, to walk up the side of the pine wood, and ahead of us there were these ladies!  Aren't they just fabulous?  I didn't want to spook them any further, so we changed our route, crossed a little wooden footbridge over the burn, and walked back along the edge of another field. On the ground I saw a group of about 20 pied wa

I'm just saying ....

I walked down the drive towards the road into the village yesterday.  I had the Doggie Girls with me so both hands were pretty full - two leads being yanked off in different directions!  I stopped to see whether the tiny patch of violets were in bloom yet.  Sure enough, they were.  Just a few flowers, but it was wonderful to see them.   A few feet away, there is a big field.  I walk around it with the DGs.  I haven't done so for a while because when I drove past it a couple of weeks ago, it was being sprayed.  We have had heavy rain since then, so I felt it was probably OK to take the dogs in there.   The field is now dead.  And by that I mean completely dead.  Not just whatever the farmer was trying to kill off, but every tiny wild plant - heartsease, common mouse-ear, germander speedwell, camomile - that would have been re-awakening from winter, like the violet, to flower and provide food for the bees.  As I walked back to the gate, out of the field, a great big bumble bee c

Dunbar harbour

The drear of last weekend and the first few days of this week finally lifted on Wednesday.  The day was slightly misty, but the sun was warm enough to filter through and, bonus - no wind either!   Mr Gaucho and I decided to go and have a mooch around Dunbar harbour.  The last time we went there it was so windy we could barely stand up, and it was bitterly cold.  Yesterday was much more promising. You can't fail to find masses of things to photograph in a fishing port!  The boats, the lobster pots, and piles of fishing paraphernalia and, of course, the catch!  It was all there in Dunbar harbour, and so we had a rather nice time! On the outer side of the harbour is the Lamer Island Battery, which was built in 1781, but never saw any action, other than providing an isolation hospital for infectious diseases in 1872, and caring for invalids during the First World War. Dunbar Harbour has three parts.  Dating back to 1710, it was a major herring and whaling port.