stories and illustration

March Fields by River Tweed


brown fields

Tweed Landscape

There is still snow on the hills, or rather the sprinkling of snow has come back.  The fields are being ploughed, revealing the chestnut and chocolate  earth of Berwickshire and North Northumberland. The new machines turn the earth and render it to  fine grains and smooth it out, the newly-ploughed field is a thing of beauty and elegance. But if you walk along the edge of the fields across the river, there is little evidence of wildlife or even birds, apart from the crows and the ubiquitous wood pigeons. I remember many years ago living in the Liddel Valley, on the edge of the Middle Marches, looking at the fields after they had been drained and thinking how wonderful they looked.  But now that the fields over there have been left to roughen up again, become rushy and bumpy, or thick with flowery long grass, there is an abundance of wildlife. Saw a deer on the edge of the woods. And merlins up on the hillslope. Small flowers among the stones on the pathways. Nature taking over again, sharing with the hefted sheep.

March 31, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Long-Tailed Tit

long-tailed tit and buds

Long-Tailed Tit and Budding Tree

I love these little birds – they flit about in gangs, tweet-tweeting, you just suddenly become aware of them in bushes, recognise them by their long tails. I think I must have seen them when I was a child, just the sight of them and the sound of them gives me a pleasure I can’t really explain. I see wonderful portraits of birds on the Internet, and this is just a snapshot, but I was glad to get a picture of the creature before it darted away. I put long-tailed tits on the cover of a book called The Mouse of Gold, really because I think the birds are so pretty it was fun to paint them. This is a Spring picture.

March 29, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heron By The Weir


Heron by the River Tweed

March 26, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Looking Down Into River Tweed 2


Weir Water 2

March 26, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Looking Down Into River Tweed 1


Weir Water 1

March 26, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shetland Pony and Pile of Stones


Shetland Pony

A neat little character, in a very tidy horse blanket. I think this may be a skewbald Shetland under that covering, we shall see….

March 25, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Muddy-faced Horse


Muddy-Faced Horse

This handsome horse has a companion, I am glad to say, unlike the mournful character who inhabited this field at the tail-end of last year. This horse just looked at me mildly, not bothering to approach nor to back-off, obviously quite happy in this field with its equine companion, a Shetland pony. Through watching various behaviours and distress, I have come to realise that horses need company, and get distressed when that company is taken away.

March 25, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Walking Home Through The Daffodil Wood

Walking Through the Daffodil Wood

A beautiful day, but this man and his dog were the only people I met in the wood, which in Spring is full of wild daffodils and blackbirds and these grey-trunked trees.

March 23, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Rooks and Nests

Rook Wood

This wood, that lines the Tweed from Lennel up to Lennel Cemetary, is quiet in the winter, but then in Spring the rooks take over, cawing endless, wheeling about the trees then settling in the top-most branches.  The nests are there, like growths in the trees, all the year round. Birds seem to make more noise on fine days. I found it hard to capture the rooks in flight together with the nests, but got a clearer image of two of them at the top of this battered-looking tree:

rooks and tree

Strange how different species of crow behave so differently.  The rooks do stay together in big colonies.  Crows are more solitary, though you do see them sharing road kill.  I was pleased yesterday to have two jackdaws feeing on the bird table, though they flew off quick when they saw me peering at them between the leaves. In an old house I once lived in the jackdaws would nest in the chimneys.  Every now and then a jackdaw fell in, and would descend, scrabble by scabble, till it appeared, blinking, filthy, in the fireplace.  One jackdaw started flying round the room early in the morning.  We had pale cord curtains, and big sooty prints of jackdaw wings were imprinted on the material as it flew round in a panic at being enclosed.

March 23, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Swans on the Green 2


These three swans have taken up residence where Leet Water runs into River Tweed. They feed on the grass in this corner of the green much of the day, but when I go too near they quite slowly waddle off towards the water, with their large delicate wings outspread. Swans make so many different shapes with their bodies, it fascinates me to look at them.

March 17, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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