Saturday, 26 May 2018

Final images from Manila

Rod Hay - who genially guided the COP all the way through as its  acting Chair
makes his closing comments with a tear in his eye.

The Indian delegation invites everyone to the next COP in thress years time
in their country.  

Closing comments from the host country.

And a final round of applause for the Philippines

The view from my hotel window across a building site, busy roads, the amusement park and finally out to sea.  

And then off to the airport - passing signs announcing the CoP:

One of the characteristic Philippines buses.

A short piece focused on the marine successes at the CoP can be found HERE.

The Fledglings of Spring

The starlings are having a good Spring. Their early morning songs are combined with the rapacious cries of their fledgling begging insistently for food. A wonderful cacophony. 

Parent and offspring high in a hawthorn tree.
Adults and fledglings mix on the lawn.

Feed me!
Feed us!

Recently fledged blackbird in the leafy undergrowth

Young starling bath time.
Another young blackbird.

And then here come the first ducklings of the year -

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Beautiful badgers

The days are now long and the night short. Tasty snacks tempt badgers out in the light onto the lawn meaning that I can better photograph them.

The lids in the film below hide snack so that other animals (cats and crows) don't steal them. The badgers gently list the lids and remove the food. This one is rummaging around picking up a few stray peanuts.

One small damp badger.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Finally a visit to Love Island

The 2018 Scientific Committee of the IWC finally lets up for a couple of hours and the day is pretty, so this provides an opportunity to visit the mystical island on Bled Lake. 

The Bled Gondoliers (an occupation that belongs only to certain local families) take tourists over in exchange for a fee (14 Euros at the tine of writing), allow 45 minuted to visit (which is not enough time but probably ensures that the island does not sink under the weight of visitors) and then return them to the real world.

The distant island from Bled town.
During Pagan Times, the island hosted a temple to the Goddess of Love (well one of them - rather like the Spice Girls, there may have been several each with a different theme and hair colour). But then the Christian Church came along and spoilt whatever the followers of the Love Goddess used to do out there (probably a little rustic dancing and a glass of sherry before bed time) and built not just a church but also - separately - a monstrous great five storey tower. 

They put a clock in the tower so everyone would know when their 45 minutes was up on the island (this also being roughly the time in takes to climb the tower). 

And just in case anyone was still having fun, the lovely little church is adorned with a huge picture of St Blasius being tortured with metal combs. This was apparently shortly before he was beheaded and earned him the right to be the patron saint of wool (because that is what metal combs are more regularly used for). 

Anyway, it was a lovely day and the sun shone on the turquoise waters and the views were fabulous. 

Approaching the island/

The tower
In keeping with the love theme, there is a tradition that would-be husbands should carry the lady of their dreams (or the woman they want to marry) up the 99 steep steps to the church in order to show they are suitable. 

This seems a reasonable test, although it is not clear if the 'fireman's lift' is allowed.

The 99 steps to Matrimony

A really keen husband-to-be might  also carry his lady up
the five story clock tower.

The island also hosts a swan couple who have very wisely built their nest inside a small roped off area. (As nest-builders go, swans are somewhat avant-garde, basally throwing some sticks together and then sitting on them until they surrender.)



View from the Island of Love

Into the Woods - where the Wild Garlic Grows!

An ocean of wild garlic - if only the heady smell could be shared here too.

Wild garlic and just a single stalk of bluebells

A study in time - dandelion clocks

Tufted ducks on the lake... in the forest.

Blue bell reflections.

A solitary greylag goose chews on some seeds

The subtle unfurling of a woodland fern

Another amazing carpet of wild garlic

Rabbit with garlic!

Another shy forest creature - Mark Simmonds

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Around Lake Bled on a Sunny Morning

It is possible in little over an hour to walk around Bled Lake and on a sunny Spring morning it is a landscape made for photographs with its pretty trees, dramatic backdrop of still snow-capped mountains, island with a church and fine villas.

Come with me....

Floating pollen - blown close inshore 

Tito's mansion

The steps up to Tito's mansion