Thursday, 29 March 2018

It rains for longer in the woods!

It seems that you can hear every raindrop as it tumbles through the leaves and every breath of wind releases more. Whilst sheltering from the passing shower and giving thanks to the Holm Oak and for its year long leaves, you can forgive the large drops of cold water that find their way down your neck, better the odd drop of rain than a good soaking out on the path.
The view from this semi-dry safe harbour is of a sea showing more signs of Winter than Spring and the occasional gull or Jackdaw as they patrol the cliff edge, the rain drops continue to drop and trees sway slowly with the added weight of those that don’t.
After a while I noticed a puddle, not too far away, that showed little sign of the torrent that had forced me to seek shelter under the trees. Not a ripple stirred the water, not a single raindrop added to those that had already found this pool and contrary to what the deluge under the trees would suggest, it seemed that the passing shower had indeed passed.
It was time to move on because under the trees it continued to rain.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Blue skies and Adders

A walk along the coast path is always good whatever the weather but on a beautiful blue sky Spring morning it is just about perfect. Apart from the Peregrine, the Kestrel, Guillemots, Razorbills, Fulmars and Gulls we had a handful of Adders,
For me these creatures are fascinating and perhaps just a little bit addictive.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

A Good Walk

With the weather not really playing ball lately you could be forgiven for staying away from the cliffs but this morning all that had changed. A beautiful sunrise gave way to bright blue skies and it seemed that Spring was well on its way. In the distance on the hills there was still patches of snow but for the most part that part of our recent history had just about disappeared.
As soon as I reached the coast path I was treated to the sight of two Kestrels, at eye level, passing slowly by as they searched the ground for food. Later, just a few meters along a Peregrine sat on the cliff edge and gave me that look that only an apex predator can give. Below, on the water, Guillemots and Razorbills bobbed and grumbled and washed and flapped, the same as usual, but it is a sight that I always enjoy. The warmth of the Sun could really be felt and it was no surprise to see three large female Adders sunbathing above the quarry. The walk back through the woods was interrupted by a Tawny Owl that flew just a few feet above the path before heading higher into the trees. Even though I had my camera there was no chance of a shot, it all happened so quickly and I was so surprised I didn’t even think of using it.
All walks are good, but some are better than others and this was a good one.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Snow on the Purbeck

We don't get snow here on the Isle of Purbeck very often but this year we have had a good covering twice in as many weeks. Unfortunately for everyone with a camera the skies have been grey and gloomy and that really does nothing to make a good photo. It doesn't stop us getting out and about of course and every local landmark gets a visit from every photographer wanting that perfect snow shot.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Tuesday: and all was calm

There was a little fire in the sky at dawn this morning but by the time I had reached the cliffs clouds had settled and it seemed that the Sun wasn’t really sure whether to bother breaking through or not. Although the paths were clear, mud and puddles were evidence of the weather we have had and the footprints of weekend wanderers were joined by a single Roe Deer print! Either I am not as good a tracker as I thought, or we have a one-legged deer on the patch. I think I know which one is true!
So as I continued my way along the cliff path I pondered the obvious existence of a one-legged deer and marvelled at my incredible tracking skills.
There was a quiet to the morning though, almost the lull before a storm but without the storm. It wasn’t silent of course: Jackdaws were calling as they patrolled the cliff edge, Guillemots and Razorbills splashed as they washed the worst of the night away and a couple of Dunnocks were trying to out sing each other. These are sounds that I am used to up here but it seemed that if I concentrated, really concentrated, maybe I could just about hear the Adder as she made her way across the mud towards her favourite sunbathing spot.
Well maybe not but you get the point, up on the cliffs this morning it was as lovely as always and all was calm.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Friday: Day four at the Castle

Ok so not every day on the Isle of Purbeck is blue skies and sunshine so instead of a cloudy grey shot from the castle I thought I would post one of the photographs that has got a few 'oohs' and 'aahs' from people who have visited, and the story behind it.

I’ll start with the Puffin, a bird that I am happy to admit that I have an addiction to. I have travelled to many places in order to get close to these birds because the few that stay on the Isle of Purbeck during the summer are very difficult to photograph. 

This Puffin was seen on our trip to The Shetlands last year after a trek to the most northerly point of the most northerly inhabited island in the United Kingdom. The path took us across heathland, through the nesting sites of the infamous Bonxie to cliffs high above the sea and views towards the rock stack of Muckle Flugga with its lighthouse. When we got there, it was blowing a hoolie making it difficult for us but good for the hundreds of Gannets that surfed the winds just off from the cliff edge. The Gannet was one of the other birds that I had come here to photograph but there was a hint of disappointment that there were no Puffins. We sat on an outcrop just above the cliff edge, opened a flask of coffee, watched the skies and the sea far below. It was then that a Puffin appeared from a hole in the ledge we were sitting on and walked between my legs before flying off to find food. We moved back a little and waited a little longer before this one returned with a bill full of fish and disappeared below ground and out of sight.
For me it is impossible to see these wonderful little birds without smiling! 

Quiet but never silent.

I missed the Sun this morning, not because I was late but because the early wander was done and dusted by the time the clouds cleared. When...