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Sunday, 10 March 2013

Shifting weather, yellowhammer and a confluence of rivers

For a moment, for a day or two, it felt like the transition into the season of spring had begun. Temperatures had risen, clouds gave way to blue skies, and people were even down to their t-shirts. And now the days are noticeably longer, drawn out as the planet's orbit moves us around the sun, holding the Northern hemisphere closer to our solar system's star. The reeds bordering the river glow golden, catching the light as they gently sway in the wind.

Golden reeds blown in the breeze

Last years cygnet, now with its own territory, stands proud in front of the setting sunlight

Venturing further afield, Joey, Sky and Pa joined me for a stroll by the confluence of the Ivel and the Great Ouse. Where the modest yet mystic river I grew up on joins this leviathan of a river; the fourth longest river in the United Kingdom at 143 miles from its source to the mouth at the Wash.

The River Ivel, on the right, joins the Great Ouse on the left

Roxton Lock

Looking back up the two rivers; The Ivel to the left, and Great Ouse to the right

Walking home from my Nan and Grandads after dropping off some birthday presents, the sun set over Fairfield as I crossed the fields with Sky and Haz back into Stotfold. The hedgerows flutter with brilliantly bright yellow birds, showing off their pure white tail bars as they flee further along the hedgerows upon our approach. The yellowhammers call 'cick' repetitively, usually ending in a high-pitched, slightly electronic 'tee' sound. As the males get older, their heads become a brighter yellow in colour, with fewer striations. Females leave the males to the fanciful colours, and appear far more drab with a greater amount of darker streaks, obscuring the yellow plumage. 

The sun goes down over Fairfield

Yellowhammer; another example of the wonderfully exotic coloured birds we have here in the UK

The sun's final moments before the Earth rotates us away 

A fond farewell for another day; gloriously coloured skies

Now it is cold again. Only five days ago, people were hot and bothered wearing only t-shirts. And, hopefully, some form of clothing from their waist down as well. And now the hats, scarves and gloves are back on again. Snow fell today. Yesterday, the bitter winds kept my hands in my pockets for most of the 13 mile Uncle/Nephew walk to Shefford and back along the Navigators Way, where I took this panoramic in preparation for the wind turbines being built behind our back gardens in Langford. If I am honest - I can not wait to compare the before and afters!

The fields of Langford; soon to be the site of the closest wind farm to a village in the UK

A token, winking photo of Sky...

On the 1st of March, the BBC released a story reporting that 100 million Sharks are killed annually, with the major driving force being the demand for shark fin soup in China. The act of finning has to be one of the most inhumane treatment of an animal I have ever heard of. To dispose of a finless carcass still alive, to sink and painfully drown on the seabed. It has to be up there with the live skinning of animals for the fur trade.

Quality of data remains uncertain, but what is beyond a shadow of a doubt is the fact that these animals are being caught and killed at insanely unsustainable rates, for totally pointless and selfish reasons. I particularly like the quote from Ding Liguo:

"Materialism is well developed in China but other things, such as morality, haven't progressed so well"


  1. I love your photo of the swan - beautiful!

    I also very much share your views on shark finning, how people and industries can be so cruel, I just don't know :(

    Lou :)

  2. Thanks Lou ! :)

    It is tragic, but things seem to be getting better slowly - some good news today for the five species now listed on CITES :)