I really don’t know whether it is Covid or just getting old but the thought of going out and capturing bird images is a little bit off of the radar at the moment. Instead I have been trying to capture the best images I can whilst in and around my own garden.
In a time when it seems standards in public life haven’t reached any significant height of propriety in so very long is it any wonder that our former Prime Minister but one has been caught with this snout well and truly in the trough. Of course this isn’t a party political statement as I’m old enough to remember when a former Labour minister faked his own death to get out of a financial pickle – it failed and he ended up in prison – oh if only history would repeat itself!
As the great welsh bard sang…it’s history repeating itself….
In this over connected world full of people crying out to be looked at there appears to be one eternal truth. Nobody is Watching. Of course there are the exceptions but they are so few and far between that from a statistical point of view they really don’t count. We all shout into the ether and nobody answers back. I, for one, am glad about that.
After all the excitement of being allowed out, and it really did feel like a release, it was time just to take stock and makes some art – it also helped that the unseasonal summer weather we’ve enjoyed has been replaced by weather more in keeping with this time of year.
Whilst doing this I decided to show my age and enjoyed Tubular Bells …for the unknown time.
‘….spanish guitar and introducing acoustic guitar….’
The days are getting longer and I can now start to sit outside in my garden and watch the world go bye whilst drinking my afternoon tea. That may well be the most cliched english thing I do but I am what I am. With the joys of lockdown still inplace my opportunities for travel are next to zero – over the past 7 weeks I have driven my car for only 200 miles – great for the bank balance, covid and the environment but less so if you want to capture the world coming out of the winter gloom. Still there is nothing I can do about things at the moment so I am stuck with trying to make photographs in and around my garden and local parks – not the world’s worst hardship!
Strangely enough there are more opportunities sitting in my garden than walking through the park. I live in a modest post 2nd world war house that was built overlooking the River Soar. Over the years all the gardens backing onto one another have slowly formed a long thin copse that is around about 20 metres wide and over 500 metres long. On top of this there are numerous trees of all kinds in the gardens that I back onto. In short we live in a condensed urban woodland setting which attracts the wildlife.
Whilst this woodland setting offers great opportunities for nature it also means that the small birds also have to be on the lookout all the time for predators. The most successful/dangerous one is the local cat population who instinctively take many birds but then don’t really know what to do with them. However, there are other predators that really know what to do with their kills – they too have chicks to feed. The top of these predators is the Sparrowhawk which I was able to briefly capture as it zipped through the gap between the houses.
They will take birds upto the size of a wood pigeon although they usually take smaller prey – hence the name. The small birds also have to be on the watch out for the local corvid population as they won’t miss an opportunity to take eggs as well as chicks from the nest. We have a resident copuple who are nesting in another house’s chimney pot.
Away from this urban idle(?) modern life is starting to reassert itself. We live under the main UK, Europe, USA flight path and it has been noticeable there has been a slow but steady increase in the aircraft flying overhead.
I guess FedEx has got to get all those parcels from the USA to Europe!
Not sure if I’ve mentioned it before but one of the YouTube channels I follow is Gold Shaw Farm. It can get a bit ‘Our Tune‘ at the moment from time to time but on the whole the ducks, chickens, geese and, of course, the wonderful Toby dog compensate for that. The fascinating thing at the moment is to notice just how far the seasons in Vermont, USA are behind us in the UK. For those of you who might know Vermont is much much further south than where I live yet they have winters that are significantly colder than us and so spring arrives later.
Up here in the far north, we’re roughly on the same level as Churchill, Hudson Bay, nature is bursting out after the winter’s short days and long cold nights. Apart from the flowers the thing that we notice most about spring is that the birds pair off, have sex on our pergola and build nests. We now have a couple of jackdaws nesting neraby and I have to say they are an impressive bird in the breeding plumage.
They are the smallest Corvid but lack nothing because of that as they really are as cunning and curious as their much bigger cousins. The nest boxes are now beginning to be populated and all around the bird spong is simply the best pick me up I know. It starts about an hour before dawn and continues almost relentlessly until after sunset. For such small creatures birds are capable of creating a such a loud and varied choir.
After the long winter we’ve just endured it is so uplifting to realise that once more we can look forward to longer warmer days. Perhaps life isn’t so bad at the moment after all, although your life, for obvious reasons, may well not be so peachy.
It’s almost 3 months since I visited Abbey Park – can’t think what stopped me taking the short trip. As of today some of the restrictions have been lifted and so I thought that it would be alright for the short journey (I am only too aware that this self restriction is not being observed by many people but I can only do what I think is right.). How things have changed. Just a few shrubs and trees are starting to stir but the whole park resonates to the sound of Canada Geese and their loud honks. Spring is here and the Geese are breeding.
Of course the geese are not the only creatures responding the lengthening days it is just that they are by far the most gregarious.
….Rogerus dedit totum boscum suum quem habuit in villa de Swaniton sine aliquo retenemento, vel qui aliquo tempore se vel heredes suos potuerit contingere, cum tota terr &, cum omnibus aliis pertinentiis suis…
Anybody who has any knowledge of languages will know that the opening paragraph is Latin. Over the past couple of weeks I have been trying to translate whole blocks of Latin text using Google Translate…it has been an eye opening experience! To illustrate the point this is what Google Translate translated the text above to mean:
Roger made entirely out of wood in the village, which had Swaniton without any reservation or any time that they or their heirs can happen when all the land, and with all other appurtenances …
I think you’ll agree this is nonsensical. Of course you could legitimately argue that without knowing the context it makes any translation far less reliable. This is true but even when you know the context Google’s A.I. has made a real hash of the job. What it really means is, and this is my translation so will no doubt lack finesse:
Roger has gifted his wood and all the land in the wood in the manor of Swannington without any reservations and forever….
So why am I trying to translate 14th century Latin written by a clerk in the East Midlands? Well from time to time I dabble in a bit of local historical research (I have mentioned it before from time to time in this blog) and as I have time on my hands I have been filling it with a bit Latin translations. What this was all about was trying to identify the location of land gifted in Swannington to the Cistercian abbey at Garendon which once stood isolated in the countryside outside Loughborough (the site of the abbey today is next to the M1 junction 23 – a rural idol no more.). As a result of hours compiling translations I have now got a pretty good idea of the land use in 14th century Swannington and also where the missing Grange in the manor was located. It is a niche interest I know but we can’t all have the same hobbies or interests.
Taking of hobbies the Lockdown has really knocked my photographic endeavours for six but at least I have exercising the creative part my my brain by making some art.