February 2016

New Toy

Got myself a new toy:

Nikon J5 'mirrorless'

Nikon J5 ‘mirrorless’ & lens adaptor

As with all things Nikon it was not cheap: the adaptor, which allows use of Nikon DSLR lenses, was over £150!

As a camera it’s OK: geared towards the snapshotter methinks. The only things I’ve really benefitted from are the swivel screen and the in-camera panorama shots, the header pic above is one of these.

I’ve decided to give the rest (Jul- Jan) of last year a miss and try to keep up to date from now on. (Knowing me, as I do, that’s a rather forlorn hope.)

Random rabbiting

Did you know that adult nails grow about 3 mm per month? Finally got fed up with trying to do mine (specially my toe nails!) with a pair of dressmaking shears (My mother’s, if you’re interested) and bought one of theselink on Amazon. £5½! I’m sure that the case alone would cost more than that if made here!

Monday the first of Feb 2016

Walked up to Cinderhilllink; Godfrey’s pond → Chesterfield Canal → Shireoaks Woodland → Shireoaks → Chesterfield Canal → Cinderhill → Thorpe Lane → Shireoaks Row → back home via Chesterfield Canal & Godfrey’s Pond.
I’ve been walking a rather delightful wee Westie (Molly) for a guy who works in Nottingham. At least I think she’s a Westie – the brown patch over half her face means she’s possibly got some Cairn Terrier in there.

Totally unsure of how many great crested grebes there are on the pond. Some days I see four and some only one, they’re adept at hiding either underwater or in the reeds. As is usual over winter the tufted duck count is quite high, up to thirty or forty. If there’s no-one about there’s often a grey wagtail or occasionally two at Deep Lock by the Lock Keeper pub. On the Eastern entrance to Shireoaks Woodland there’s a seasonal pond – Molly found it irresistible.

Hazel trees have had their male catkins on display for over a month now – the tiny red female blooms are beginning to appear. Long tailed tits are really cute birds. In November and December they were travelling in flocks of twenty or thirty around their patches. These family groups have now reduced to ten or less as food grows scarcer and weather colder.
Just below (East) of Cinderhill is an aqueduct carrying the canal over the River Ryton and incidentally over the Nottinghamshire:Yorkshire border. The lock just to the East is called Boundary Lock for this reason. Duke’s Bridge was rebuilt when the canal was reclaimed – the cobbles add an authentic touch.
Back down towards home there’s lichen on trees, crocuses in the grass and a stick for Molly.

Why isn’t aqueduct spelled with an ‘a‘: aquaduct? Seems as if every word in our language has to be individually learned.
‘aqueduct (n.) 1530s, from Latin aquaeductus “conveyance of water”, from aquae, genitive of aqua “water”, + ductus “a leading, conducting”.’ (from herelink)

Tuesday the second of Feb ’16

Goosanders are annual visitors; they don’t individually stay long, they use the pond as an overnight stop on their way South. They seem to be skilled at the art of co-operative hunting: forming a semicircle and all diving at once – presumably to trap fish between them. The creamy white of the males makes their heads look black, it’s only when close up that they can be seen to be dark green. The femaleslink have contrasting rust red, rather shaggy heads and greyish bodies. Both sexes have vicious looking hooked beaks. There’s over 400 pictures of the beasties herelink
We’ve acquired a resident pair of swans, again this is something that happens most winters, occasionally they’ll stay for the summer.
There’s a GCG peeping through a bankside bush.
When trees are leafless the lichen shows. Some shrubs are covered with the stuff while an apparently identical one a foot away is untouched.
Molly drying off after a walk in the rain.

Wednesday the third of Feb ’16

Remember those loser or winner chants when you were a kid? “One potato; two potato; etc …” Each person holding out two fists and lowering the fist that was counted on the “… seven potato, more!” Can’t recall if it was the first person to ‘lose’ two fists or the last person with two fists still up who was picked. How about “Ickle, ockle, chocklate bockle, ickle, ockle, out!Yes I know chocolate’s spelled wrong There were loads of different ones but blessed if I remember them. A bit of googling brings both of these, or variants, up as nursery rhymes.

Once again walked up to Shireoaks Woodlands and backlink.

The swans occasionally fly across the pond for no apparent reason – the first notice is usually the “whump; whump” of their wings beating the air.
Probably because of its location, there seem to be a disproportionate number of aircraft crossing Worksop’s sky. When cloudy they’re audible but against a blue sky they frequently leave a network of con trails; up to six at once at times.
As might be guessed, when the trees are bare and birds are concealing themselves, I return to lichens – the colours are so varied.
The yellow buttercupish flowers are lesser celandine. There’s a couple of patches across the canal under a hedge of pollarded willows.

There’s a kestrel that spends a lot of time at the southern side of the Woodlands. This time I saw it several times as I walked westward.
Wild roses are well protected by vicious looking two centimetre thorns up their stems.
Once more there’s lichen.
And some birds: two tits, one blue and one great; and a thrush, possibly a redwing?

Thursday the fourth of Feb ’16

‘Walked’ twice: first time I somehow lost Molly’s lead and, despite retracing my steps, couldn’t find it. So I bought a couple and took her out again.

Another picture of the winter tufted duck visitors.
The blossom is plum – there’s a lone tree down the towpath towards town.
Bored with lichen yet?
A few daffs at the eastern end of the pond.
I know it’s a terrible picture but have you ever tried to photograph midges?

Are robins everyone’s favourite bird? They are certainly the least afraid of people.
Wasn’t sure whether the two birds high above were geese or swans. Came down on swans.
Blue tits are ubiquitous but not always easy to catch on camera.
The young gull was posing on the duck’s posing log at the west end of the pond.
Gorse adds colour to many hillsides throughout the year. “When gorse is out of blossom, kissing’s out of fashion”link

Friday the fifth February two thousand and sixteen

On Flickr it is strange (not really, but rather saddening) how many more ‘hits’ I get on pictures captioned or tagged ‘tit’ and the word ‘pussy’ sends visitor numbers through the roof.

Lichen, lichen, lichen and more lichen … sorry!

Think the little flock were greenfinches but they might, just might, have been siskins.
Willows are starting to push out their pussy catkins.
Blue tits all around, heard but elusive.
More plum blossom.

Sat 6 Feb ’16

Birds: magpie, goosanders, great crested grebe in winter drab, and a heron touching down on a field.

Down the new fence towards the canal appears to be where our local druggies have taken to shooting up, there’s syringe packets around everywhere. Worksop used to be the drug capital of the East Midlands – not sure if it still is but it’s definitely a contender.

Elder trees (should that be ‘shrubs?) have the craggiest bark. Which is why, I suppose, they harbour so many parasites. Here’s a lichen infested specimen and several with jelly ear fungus. The final pic is of the oldest fungus – it’s become quite hard and dark with age.

Sunday the sixth of February

Two black cats look so angelic but the smaller, the female, once brought in a full grown still living male mallard.
First narrowboat I’ve seen moving on the cut for ages, Ramble On was heading up to Shireoaks Marina from Retford for maintenance before moving out in May to tour the network.
These fungi (still prefer ‘fungusses’ but I’ve been told off for using it) are tiny, both the white and the brown being less than half a centimetre across.
Robins are everywhere.

That Woodlands kestrel again.
Tree stump on the canal bank outside Shireoaks Marina covered in fungus.
The tangled mass is the branches of a ‘Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick’ hazel tree recently planted in the garden of the house at Shireoaks treble lock.
Nb Ramble On was by now above Deep Lock.
A final robin on the canal bank.


6 thoughts on “February 2016

  1. dip dip dip (dib dib dib?)
    my blue ship
    sailing on the water
    like a cup and saucer
    dip dip dip

    and the downright racist (?)
    eeny, meeny, miny, mo
    catch a ****** by the toe,
    if it hollers let it go
    eeny, meeny, miny, mo

    The pictures are better than the rhymes…


  2. Lovely to have the blog back with the first signs of spring. i love the wagtails.
    Here’s a dip that I remember:-
    “There’s a party on the hill
    Can you come?
    Bring your own bread and butter and bun.
    Susan (or whoever) will be there
    With a ribbon in her hair
    O U T and out goes she!”
    Continued until the last one left who was then “on” as chaser in tiggy.
    When you wanted to be excused for a while did you say “Kings” or “Queens” or “Faynites”? In Norton we said “Kings” but my southerner husband said “Faynites”.


    • That’s a new one on me; never heard it before – the ‘ribbon‘ leads me to believe it was prolly girlstuff 🙂 Did you know that ‘tiggy‘ was allegedly antipodean – the English version being ‘tag‘ – think the internet’s wrong there. There was also ‘tiggy off ground‘ where you couldn’t be tigged unless you were on the floor but had to keep moving.

      How about:
      Eenie meenie macca racca
      Rara pie dommy nacca
      Chikka pokka lolly poppa
      Ping pong push
      G. O. spells go!

      Kings“, with fingers crossed, was what we said for truce although I have heard of Faynites. From t’internet: It was based on the medieval English phrase “fain I”, which means “I decline” and from the old French saying “se feindre”, which means “to make excuses, hang back, back away from a fight”.



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