Friday, 28 November 2014

A Short Walk Through Fordham Moor, Fordham, Cambridgeshire, UK

On a visit to see family in Fordham we had a walk to Fordham Moor, approximately a 1.5 mile dead end road, winding its way thorough agricultural fields and over a disused railway track.  Instead of entering Moor Road by the road we opted to walk along the public footpath that takes you through the centre of this field of cereal, as you can see a well worn track.

It was mid summer and the roadside verges were speckled with Cow Parsley in flower and Poppies.

Here we are standing on a small bridge over the River Snail which runs through Fordham, it is at this point that we are going to leave the road and follow the river back to the centre of the village.  The river at this point is quite shallow but has a steady flow to it so always looks crystal clear.

There is just something lovely about the 'big skies' that you get to see when ever you are standing in any of the fenland around East Anglia.

I think these are Mirabelle Plums also known as prunes which can be found in a lot of the hedgerows around Cambridgeshire.

This little snail was hiding under an Ivy leaf, the snails shed had quite a green tinge to it, I am not sure if it was because it was a juvenille?

At times you cannot see the river as it is shrouded in trees and bushes but now and then it pops out.

Here we have some Sloes growing on a Black Torn bush.  We used to pick these and make Sloe Gin which made a lovely fruity liquor.

We have now left the trees and bushes and the river meanders through open fields.

We were quite surprised to see a field of what looked like Sugar Beet ready for lifting, it seems quite early.

I just managed to catch a glimpse of a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly fluttering around a large clump of Common Ragwort flowers.

Another common sight when you are walking around this area are the Stratotankers flying around the area.  These are Boeing KC-135 refuelling aircraft based at RAF Mildenhall, which is just under 6 miles away by car.  This one was flying around most of the afternoon.

Here you can see just how clear the river is, and you get the odd glimpse of fish swimming around, but they like to hide in the weeds.

I really love walking along this stretch of river it is so pretty.

Decisions, decisions, which way to go??

Some more Mirabella plums.

Some Horse Chestnuts maturing.

I took this photo as I was amazed at how long this water weed is, anchored to the river bed with such a small area.

We are now at the end of this particular public footpath and are now back in the village of Fordham on Carter Street.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Forest Bug

This poor Forest Bug (Pentatoma rufipes) had a bit of a crash landing our our terrace the other day, it took quite a while before it managed to right itself.

The Forest Bug is a species of Shield Bug, given this name due to the shape of their bodies.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Male House Sparrow Feeding Juvenile

Mother-in-law regularly puts out bits of ham fat on her garden wall for the birds here in East Anglia, in the UK.  Recently we were privileged to watch a male House Sparrow feeding a juvenile.

The male House Sparrows are distinguished from the females by their black faces, throat and bid, darker brown on their heads and wings and greyer underside, where as the females and juveniles are much paler with no very few if any black markings.

House Sparrows are native to most of Europe, the Mediterranean Region and much of Asia.  But can now been found in some areas of Australia, Africa and the Americas, due to accidental or intentional introductions.

Both the male and the female will share in the duties of feeding the young, whilst they are in the nest and for their first few days out of the nest.

In this photo of the juvenile, you can just make out the yellow cartilage like protrusion, around the base of the beak, which helps the adults to see the opening of the beak in the dark nest at feeding time.

The juvenile has now flown off and the male has a feed itself and then a well deserved shake of its feathers before flying off, job done, for now.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Juvenile Male Common Black Bird

This juvenile male blackbird is a regular visitor to Mother-In-Laws garden wall in East Anglia, UK, where there is a regular supply of bacon or ham fat.  This bird appears to be a first year juvenile, as it has lost most of its mottled juvenile wings but the new ones are not as jet black as they will be in a few months time when it comes of age.

The Common Blackbird, Eurasian Blackbird or Blackbird, is a member of the Thrush family, they breed in Europe, Asia and North Africa.

The male Blackbird is distinguished by it being all black except for the yellow ring around its eye and its yellow/orange beak, which becomes darker with age.  You can still see some of the juvenile mottled feathers on its belly.

They are fascinating birds to watch as they are constantly cocking their heads from one side to another as they listen to what is going on around them.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Painted Lady Butterfly

I had another spotting of some Painted Lady Butterflies - Vanessa cardui, the other day, loving the nectar they were getting from a large Bougainvillea.  The lovely shades of brown and orange really stood out against the deep pinky purple of the Bougainvillea.

These butterflies are one of the most widespread of all butterflies and can be found on every continent except Antarctica and South America.

Mediterranean House Gecko

This little Mediterranean House Gecko - Hemidactylus turcicus, was on the wall of our neighbours house the other night.  I only just spotted it as I saw something move out of the corner of my eye.  It was only about 2 inches long, there was a second one there as well, but as I approached to take this photo the other one seemed to let out a little squeal and disappeared behind an air-con unit.

Because I had to use my flash to get the shot, you can really see the markings on its body and how translucent the skin is, you can see the dark areas where the organs and stomach appear to be.

Eurasian Jay

There are quite a lot of Eurasian Jays - Garrulus glandarius, around our house living out their lives squabbling amongst themselves but otherwise having a good life, but not so much at the moment. There are also a lot of Collared Doves around here as well, and normally the two species get on well, but at the moment the Doves are either building nests or sitting on eggs and so they are very defensive towards the Jay.  Jays feed on chicks and eggs, as I witnessed with a House Sparrows nest,  and so they are not popular with the Doves.  The poor Jays have very little chance to sit in the trees before they are being seen off by the Doves.

These two had managed to find a quite spot in one of the trees for a little while, but they were very alert the whole time they were perched there.

The Eurasian Jays here are part of the subspecies atricapillus group as they have the uniform mantle and nape, black crown and very pale face.