Pre-pilates at the Country Park

Thursday 19th May 2016

As usual on a Thursday Max and I walked at Upton Country Park this morning. This was the view over Upton Lake towards Poole as we walked around.

View over Upton Lake to Poole

Max likes the Country Park: he gets to play in the stream.

Waiting for his cone

Today we saw the buzzard – we haven’t seen him (or is it her) for ages.

Its been a while since we've seen the buzzard on his perch

The blossom was looking rather nice this morning.


And here’s a shot of the blossom looking up through the branches of the trees.

Blossom covered branches

And lastly for today, we came across this lovely rhododendron as we walked through the gardens.


A year ago today

I grabbed the camera when I saw this blackbird sunbathing in the garden.

Playing dead

Birds at Upton Country Park

Thursday 21st January 2016

Pilates day means Upton Country Park, so that’s where Max and I went this morning. I don’t have any photos from yesterday, by the way, as in the morning I took the dogs over to my Dad’s to sort out a few bits and pieces for him.

Although it is still fairly cold, the forecast is for it to start warming up, and this morning I discarded my hat gloves and scarf and walked around the Country Park with my coat open.

As we walked towards the stream I heard a bird singing loudly in the trees and looked up to see a thrush sitting in the topmost branches. As it was slightly obscured I didn’t get a photo of it though. We played in the stream, walked through the Woodland Walk and then went onto the lake, where I spotted a headless duck.

Headless duck

Thankfully she soon proved that she did indeed have a head and was just searching for food in the weeds.

Oh good - there she is!

Walking on round we spotted the buzzard again, this time keeping an eye on the proceedings around him.

The buzzard keeps watch

Max had another play in the steam and then we headed in the direction of the boardwalk. En route we had to walk past Max’s nemesis – Alder, which currently has lots of catkins.

Alder - Max's nemisis

Poor Max is badly allergic to alder, but there’s no avoiding it, or the silver birches and oaks that he’s also allergic to (although slightly less so).

This morning in the field with the cows there were lots of Little Egrets. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many there. I took this photo as we walked along the side of the field.

Little Egret

And this one as we got round into the old orchard.

Little Egret

I keep hoping I’ll see one of the avocets from Poole Harbour there (which has been known in the past), but to no avail.

A year ago today

I took the dogs to visit Dad. What a coincidence.

Jez, Max and I went to visit Dad

Still sunny

Thursday 14th January 2016

I had a busy day today. But, as usual, the first job was to take Max for a walk. We went to Upton Country Park and it was nice to see it looking less drab and grey.

Upton Lake

There were a lot more clouds about than yesterday, though.

Reflected sky at the Country Park

As we walked around the path at the back of the park (Hamworthy side) I was surprised to see the buzzard. We haven’t seen one there for ages. It was on the ground when I spotted it, but when I raised my camera it took off.

The buzzard takes flight

I know that’s not a great shot, but I only had a standard landscape lens on the camera. As we walked round it started to cloud over, and the wind started to pick up. You can see the extra clouds in this shot of the cows.


By the time I left the Woodland Walk and headed for the stream and then the car there was quite a cold wind. It didn’t stop me stopping off en route to take a few photos of Missy though.

Meet Missy (10 weeks)

Isn’t she cute? She was only 10 weeks old and I’m not entirely sure she should have been out meeting so many dogs. It was only her second walk, and she wasn’t entirely convinced that my camera was a good thing.

Missy wasn't too sure about my camera

I let her sniff the camera, so I hope she wasn’t too traumatised by it.

A year ago today

Max and I were out and about in the sunshine on Canford Heath.

Heading towards Knighton Heath (2)

More black and white, and a buzzard

Tuesday 7th July 2015

Max and I went to Upton Country Park this morning. Although we got round in the dry it had been raining, which gave me the opportunity to take this photo of a wet bench seat alongside the path.

Wet Seat

Sticking with reflections and the subject of power lines from yesterday, here are some reflected power lines in the lake.

Reflected power lines

Back at home some tree surgeons had been taking the dead wood out of our neighbours’ trees. As I walked up the drive they pointed out a buzzard to me, sitting in the large oak tree in the drive. Apparently it had been hanging around all morning.


I have seen it since then, so am hoping that I can get a better photo of it one day.

A year ago today

Dad and I went to the farm shop at Bashley. I took this photo of the cottage opposite.


Lambs, a puppy and buzzards at Upton Country Park

Wednesday 18th March 2015

There was a spring-like feel to the air today. Although we still have a bit of a chilly wind the sky was blue and the sun was shining, so I decided to take Max to Upton Country Park. I’m still waiting for the hawthorn blossom and thought it might have been out by now – which, with the exception of one small bush, it isn’t.

There was lots going on at the Park today and the car park was packed: so much so that I had a job to find somewhere to park. I’m guessing it was partly due to the publicity in the past few days as the new section of the Park was officially opened at the week-end. The paths weren’t too busy as we walked around though.

We stuck to our old route more today, but walked it clockwise (we normally used to walk anti-clockwise). So we started off by walking across the front lawn and then heading out towards the shoreline. And I was so pleased we did as in the corner field were two sheep with their lambs. And the sun was behind them, which meant we get to see those wonderful pink ears.

Pink ears

And here’s the little one having a quick mid-morning snack.

Time for a mid-morning snack

We walked on and I took this photo of Max by the duck pond.


As you might be able to tell, I had my best camera with me today. And I had taken two lenses, which meant that when we saw the pair of buzzards flying around above us as we crossed the boardwalk I was able to swap to the zoom lens and get a few shots (well lots of shots actually, but I narrowed them down to the best few). So here is the buzzard in flight.


And here’s another one as it’s underwind is lit by the sun as it banks away.


As I mentioned earlier, the hawthorn isn’t in blossom yet, but I did find this pussy willow, oddly enough on a fallen tree.

Pussy Willow

That was taken in the new section of the park. I’ve just got a couple more shots to share with you today. I was busy taking more buzzard shots (one of the juneviles from last year) and still had the camera set to a really high shutter speed, when we met a lady walking her very wet, and very excited spaniel puppy by the stream.

Happy pup!

What a happy dog. I’ll leave you with one other shot of it: not quite so well in focus but my favourite for the expression, the flailing ears, and the position of those front paws.

Spring fever

Hopefully we’ll meet him (or her) again.

A year ago today

I found a raft spider in the stream when Max and I were out walking on Canford Heath.

Raft Spider

Are you sure that’s Max?

Wednesday 4th March 2015

Today Max had his appointment at the groomer, but before he went I took him out to Badbury Rings for a walk. It was a lovely sunny day with a bitterly cold wind, so Badbury Rings, being high and exposed, might not have been the best choice. But I had my reasons. You see, en route there are a couple of fields with young lambs in.

With Mum

They are just so cute.

Lazing in the sun

Even when they’re sticking their tongue out.


And, as is the trend this year, the very young ones have their little plastic raincoats on.

Showing of my plastic mac

Out at the Rings it was a day for the birds. We saw a Kestrel.


A Buzzard.


And, joy to my ears, the skylarks are up in the sky singing their hearts out. This one had landed (sorry it’s not a very good shot).


As for Max, well, this was what he looked like when we went for our walk.

Shaggy boy

A bit of a shaggy dog story I think you’ll agree.

And this was our ‘new’ smart boy afterwards.

Max looking very smart

He smells wonderful, and his coat is lovely and soft – it feels like plush velvet.

A year ago today

Looks like it was Shrove Tuesday.

The pancake is in the pan!

At last I get to see the Redwings

Friday 30th January 2015

It was a cold, sunny morning so Max and I went to Upton Country Park for our walk. In order to ring in the changes I put the 70-300mm lens on the EOS 20D, and what a good job I did.

For a start, as I drove up towards the carpark I glanced to my right and saw a buzzard in the field. So after we had parked I walked Max back down there. The buzzard had moved but I did at least manage to get one half decent shot of him.

The buzzard hunts for breakfast in the field

I’m told this is last years fledgeling and that he keeps to the fields at the front of the Park.

After I’d photographed the buzzard Max and I walked back up to the car park and through the gardens down to the shoreline, where I took this photo of Max on the boardwalk.

Max on the boardwalk

I was also rather taken by the sun on the reeds again.


Just before we got to the stream I realised there was a robin in the alder tree at the side of the path. He was singing away, so while Max waited patiently by the stream I took a few photos of him.


After a play in the stream we walked on and finally I got to see the Redwing. Of course, the photos aren’t great as they insist of feeding in the shade, but I’ve done the best I can. The photo is also quite heavily cropped.


While I photographed the Redwing Max put his cone down in the leaf litter, and then had to dig it out again. This digging attracted another robin, who was so interested in what Max was uncovering that he came within about a foot of me – so close that I couldn’t focus on him with the lens I had so actually had to move away!


He was such a little cutie.


And his daring paid off. Max found him a nice big juicy worm.

We continued on our walk, past the lake, through the woodland walk and then round the new ‘loop’. After I’d washed Max off in the stream we headed back to the car, and as we were coming out of the woodland walk Max spotted a male pheasant about 6 feet away. Max stopped, did a double take and then ran. The pheasant flew. Max followed. Eventually he came back, but in the meantime the buzzard had been flying overhead.

Buzzard in flight

Thank goodness for Photoshop. It allowed me to tidy that photo up enough to share.

A year ago today

Wet, muddy dog on Canford Heath.

Muddy nose!