A Dose of Crabs

Hello Crabbies

Hello Crabbies

Is that the correct name for more than one or am I trying out for a headline writing job at News International?

C'mon I can take the lot of you

C’mon I can take the lot of you

We saw these wee critters just over the sea wall at Playa Blanca in Lanzarote.

Sex rears it's ugly head

Sex rears its ugly head

They want to be careful, they are but yards away from the very tasty seafood restaurant Bodegon Las Tapas

Photos copyright QueenMab/Shipscook Photographic. contact simon.ball3@btopenworld.com for commercial reuse

Return to Terra(pin) Island

All five of Epping Forest’s Terra(pin) Island residents have survived into another year

Terrapins Epping Forest

Terrapins Epping Forest

Five is the most I have seen in one go, there may of course be more lurking in the depths, One lady I have spoken says she has counted eight.

Photos copyright QueenMab/Shipscook Photographic. contact simon.ball3@btopenworld.com for commercial reuse

Woodpecker and Son

One of our most welcome garden visitors is a green woodpecker who enjoys probing the lawn for ants. The other weekend he or she turned up with a recently fledged youngster.

Woodpecker and son

Woodpecker and Son

The juvenile is on the left. As you can see unlike the adult it has a speckled breast, a bit like a thrush. I did manage to get a slightly better shot of the youngster a bit later. Unfortunately they are quite easy to spook so the pictures were taken at the extreme range of the camera’s zoom and through a window.

Juvenile green woodpecker hunting for ants

Juvenile green woodpecker hunting for ants

Little Venice

We took a trip to Bristol last week and London Underground got us to Paddington with time not only for breakfast, but a brief walk along the Regents Canal before our train left.

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The smog full of dust from North Africa imposed a hazy kind of light, but I was delighted to find a couple of red headed pochard dabbling in the murky depths.

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They are pretty little ducks and not that common. Even their eyes are red.

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It had been a long time since I was here last and the area has had a bit of a makeover with some nice looking bars and restaurants, not to mention the odd sculpture.

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This one is called Standing Man by Sean Henry.

However we couldn’t hang about, a really tasty breakfast at the Sloe Bar in Paddington Station beckoned, £8.75 for full English with black pudding and a cafe late included, knocks spots of airport rip off joints.

White Egret

Down by the water’s edge there was a flurry of whiteImage

It was a white egret and he had caught something.

 

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We were not the only people with a fish supper in Playa Blanca that night.

 

Photos copyright QueenMab/Shipscook Photographic. contact simon.ball3@btopenworld.com for commercial reuse

Pintail

We took a walk around the lake at Chingford’s Connaught Water on Saturday. I was just remarking that we hadn’t seen as many species of duck as we had in the past when I noticed this chap.

Pintail

Pintail

 

He’s a pintail and I was dead chuffed to get a snap of him as I have not seen one in the wild before. Of course being so handsome takes a lot of work.

keeping up appearences

keeping up appearances

 

Other species spotted at Connaught Water that day included: loads of tufted ducks, mallards, mute swan, Canada geese, Greylag Geese

Greylag goose

Greylag goose

moorhen, coot, black headed gull, magpie, carrion crow, wood pigeon.

 

 

Raven Mad

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore —
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“‘Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door —

Not a Raven after all

Not a Raven after all

OK it wasn’t the Raven, but a pheasant sitting on our window sill at the Alton Towers Hotel last weekend.

‘I’ve never been so close to a pheasant before’ quoth the Powder Monkey

‘you were when we ate one’ I replied.

I made sure the window was well fastened I didn’t want to come back and discover he’d invited his mates round to scoff the complimentary biscuits.

Party room 105 everyones invited.

Party room 105 everyone’s invited.

Egrets and Wagtails – River Roding, Essex

Out by the River Roding on Monday evening we spotted a snowy egret. Unfortunately it also spotted us and took to the wing before we could get a snap. This is the first time I have seen one of these visitors to the UK so close to home although I did spot one up in Walton-on-the-Naze in 2009.

Snowy Egret - Walton-on-the-Naze

Snowy Egret – Walton-on-the-Naze (shot in 2009)

While the egret eluded us I did get a snap of a pied wagtail fledgling, which I was quite pleased with as these are normally quite busy little birds who rarely stand still,

Pied Wagtail Fledgeling

Pied Wagtail fledgling

Other birds spotted included: mute swans, Canada geese, mallard, moorhen, coot, great crested grebe, jackdaw, magpie and wood pigeon.

Photos copyright QueenMab/Shipscook Photographic. contact simon.ball3@btopenworld.com for commercial reuse

Ducklings, Thistles and Fledglings

The mallard ducklings at Earl’s Path Pond in Epping Forest are still going strong.

Mallard ducklings

Mallard ducklings

There are at least eight of them and they are quite bold, even when mum isn’t about.

Mallard ducklings

Mallard ducklings

In the forest the thistles have finished flowering  and now the seeds are waiting for a draft of wind to see them on their way.

Thistles

Thistles

We have a new visitor to our garden., excuse the quality of the shot, it was sneaked through the kitchen window as I was hiding behind the chilli plants.

Scraggy

Scraggy

This is Scraggy and he’s a recently fledged magpie. I put some breadcrumbs out for him most days, but he is very nervous and spooks easily.

Photos copyright QueenMab/Shipscook Photographic. contact simon.ball3@btopenworld.com for commercial reuse

The Peacock Struts its Stuff

The recent good weather and flowering of the Buddleia has attracted some lovely visitors to our garden.

Peacock butterfly

Peacock butterfly

The Nikon is usually rubbish at close up work so I was dead pleased with this shot of a peacock butterfly from our front garden.

Photos copyright QueenMab/Shipscook Photographic. contact simon.ball3@btopenworld.com for commercial reuse