There’s been a dearth of photos here recently; here are a few photos taken earlier in the month:
That’s Katherine keeping tabs on her block collection. She’s especially fond of the one with the lady-beetle on it, set aside on the windowsill. Having been born with good instincts, she recognizes that it’s all about birds, insects, and flowers.
Here’s one from my weekend in Devon (not Cornwall, as earlier reported), looking from the village of Topsham to the Exe ria, the edges of which I spent my time exploring:
A little farther along:
I was told that the path is called ‘The Goat Walk’ because villagers used to graze goats on the estuary grass and then would take them back along this path when the tide came in. Currently, the path is a lovely place to walk along the ria and look for gulls and shorebirds. This is where I saw my first avocets, which was very exciting for me. This area is one of their main wintering areas in England. They’re a big deal here — the train line into town is called the ‘Avocet Line’. There are avocet cruises on the river (solidly booked months in advance — otherwise I would have been on one of them). Lots of people come here to see the avocets.
I saw my first avocets along the Goat Walk but the truly spectacular sighting came early Sunday morning at a nature reserve just beyond the Goat Walk. Several of us birdwatchers were scanning the large flocks of godwits, widgeon, shelducks, redshanks, and so on, when suddenly a couple of hundred avocets flew in from the west in close formation. They then proceeded to fly back and forth numerous times, banking gloriously with each turn, looking for a good place to settle. Avocets are large birds with striking white and black plumage, but what made it so spectacular was that they were backlit by the morning sun but against a dark background. Unfortunately, I don’t have the equipment that’s necessary for decent bird photography, so I have no photos to show of the event. But other people do have such equipment; you can get some idea of what it looked like from the lovely photo of avocets about a third of the way down this page. I also saw thousands of the oystercatchers in the immediately prior photo on that page.