Category Archives: Animals and stuff…

Pluto Photos…. Not the Planet!

I used some birthday money to buy myself a little gadget called a “Pluto Trigger”. It attaches to my camera and I can trigger it from a distance to take photos using an app on my phone.😍 😍

 Tried it out first by setting my tripod up near some of our bird feeders and then triggered it from our  front room! I’m impressed with how good they are. It’s clear that the blackbird and one of the bluets heard the shutter moving and looked over to the camera.

This is what it looks like. More info on the Pluto Trigger Website.

Frogs, frogs and more frogs..

The frogs arrived back in our pond a week or two before the Arctic cold spell at end of February. The pond promptly iced over. Whether they were under the ice or under the snow, most of them reappeared once normal weather had resumed.

And then they got on with what they had come for….

Ciostal the Collie

In 2016, I spent a few weeks at Big on Isle of Lewis looking after my friend’s collie. His name is Ciostal. Pronounced something like Kee-shtal but he wasn’t too fussy at my not very good Gaelic pronunciation! I hadn’t been over at Uig on the Lewis west coast before. He and I had an enjoyable time exploring the local beaches and hills. Here he is

As with the rest of Scotland, if you wait for blue sky before you set off for a walk, you’ll spend a lot of time indoors! And often if you set off anyway, you might get a bit wet but the blue sky often appears later on. We had a very stormy couple of days when a Force 10 storm barrelled in from the Atlantic. 

Enjoy the videos!

Photo Flaneuse 1 : Victoria Park Slide Shows

According to Wikipedia: Flaneur (pronounced: [flɑnœʁ]), from the French noun flâneur, means “stroller”, “lounger”, “saunterer”, or “loafer”. Flânerie is the act of strolling, with all of its accompanying associations. To flâne “is the very opposite of doing nothing” according to Sainte-Beuve. For Fournel, there was nothing lazy in flânerie. It was, rather, a way of understanding the rich variety of the city landscape. It is a moving photograph (“un daguerréotype mobile et passioné”) of urban experience.

First of all action at the pond ~

I’ve been having a bit of trouble with calf and hamstring tendons. Ouch. As a result I can’t take going for a walk for granted.  If I walk too far or too fast those tendons do not like it. If I don’t walk at all, they don’t like that either. 

So I’ve come up with notion of being a photo flaneuse : I take my camera, I get a decent walk by sauntering, dawdling, photographing, watching, retracing my steps when need be, sitting on a bench. It takes much longer and it’s very enjoyable.

Victoria Park is ten minutes walk from my house. On the afternoon these photos were taken it was being enjoyed by many kids, parents, dogs, strollers and a few other photographers. 

Then dogs, bare trees, bulbs sending up new leaves…. and the magpie that got away

It’s the Ciostal Movies!!!

Costa is a collie who lives in Timmsgarry, Uig on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. I looked after him for a couple of weeks in the summer. He’s great!! The place is also great. Wild and beautiful. Uig is about an hour’s drive from Stornoway. Less if you’re a local and used to driving on single track roads. Ciostal (pronounced Kissh-tal) likes walks. So do I. So we explored some of the nearby beaches, hills and headlands. The result is a set of four movies starring Ciostal –

  • Ciostal Goes to Bolsta
  • Ciostal at the Radar STation
  • Ciostal Goes Hill-walking
  • Ciostal and the Storm

Here they are. Enjoy.

a visit to Monkey World, Dorset

Monkey World is an absolutely ace Primate Rescue Centre in Dorset, UK. It’s set amongst woodland in Dorset and it has 65 acres of sanctuary for over 250 primates. It was set up in 1987 by Jim Cronin to provide abused Spanish beach chimps with a permanent, stable home and now works in conjunction with foreign governments from all over the world to stop the illegal smuggling of apes out of Africa and Asia. At the park you can see over 250 primates of more than 20 different species – chimps; woolly monkeys, almost extinct in the wild; orangutans, ditto 🙁 ring-tailed lemurs; capuchins; gibbons….

Don’t think of this as mainly a day out with the kids. It is a great place to take kids but when we were there there were loads of adults without kids enjoying themselves too. A lot of them seemed very familiar with the animals’ names… they obviously watch Animal DSC_0206Planet too! Viewers of the TV series also get familiar with the staff. I guess long-standing animal keepers like Jeremy Keeling just get used to be waved and smiled at by loads of folk. Like me.

There’s a thriving trade in primates around the world, often babies whose mothers have been shot as bushmeat or just shot. Monkey World assists governments to stop this smuggling. At the Centre refugees of this illegal trade as well as those that have suffered abuse or neglect are rehabilitated into natural living groups. As far as is possible, the natural tree cover is retained so for example you’ll see the golden-cheeked gibbons swing through a stand of mature Scots Pines and the ring-tailed lemurs high-tail it up into big old oak trees.

Jim Cronin’s untimely death a few years ago hasn’t stopped the Centre from expanding and thriving…. as well as the animals, there are numerous cafes, a shop, and a fantastic Big Ape play space for Homo Sapiens and their kids!

See their website for more info: Monkey World (opens in new tab)

Bluetits, bluetits, bluetits…

At last, a plug-in that let’s me display all my little bluetit nesting box videos in one place… Thank you Huge-It Video Gallery