A cold but sunny end to the month

Tuesday 20th to Wednesday 28th February 2018

Tuesday 20th saw us on Canford Heath, in the sun, where we met our friends Brian and Poppy. Brian is a Staffie/Shar Pei cross.

Brian and Poppy

Come Saturday we were back on Upton Heath. Here is a slightly windswept Teddy…

A windswept Teddy

… and a more posed version.

Teddy

They were taken on the Friday, and on Saturday we were back on a lovely, sunny heath.

We had sunshine for our walk

Teddy in the sunshine

On Sunday we went to Canford Heath, where I snapped this shot of Teddy, the moon, and the police helicopter.

Teddy, the moon and the NPAS helicopter

This next photo is of Teddy by a felled tree that he always likes to go and stand by. I’ve since found out that Chris has a habit of sitting on it when he’s walking him.

Teddy loves to go and stand by this tree

On Monday we met Teddy’s friend, Marley, on Upton Heath. Marley may only have 3 legs but that doesn’t slow him down and he and Teddy had great fun racing around together.

Teddy's friend Marley (only 3 legs doesn't stop him from racing around)

Tuesday 27th was my Dad’s 91st birthday, so I drove over to see him and took him to the Cliff Top café in Highcliffe for a cup of hot chocolate.

Hot chocolate time Dad on his 91st birthday

In the afternoon I took Teddy to Canford Heath and we ended up getting caught in flurries on snow.

We had a small flurry of snow on our walk

Which gave me the opportunity to get a photo of a Teddy paw print.

Teddy's pawprint

This next photo was taken when we got home, and is another is the series ‘Teddy likes to lie in some funny places’.

Teddy lies in some funny places

And lastly for February are some photos taken from a cold walk on Canford Heath on the last day of the month. There was ice on the pond near the entrance.

Frozen pond

Along the old pit road the council are clearing a lot of trees and shrubs.

Cutting down trees along the pit road

This photo of a branch on a frozen puddle was taken on the old Coach Road.

Frozen branch

Here’s Teddy posing

Teddy posing

And ice on the stream.

Frozen stream

And that’s it for February.

Summer Solstice and a Strawberry Moon

Monday 20th June 2016

So today was the summer solstice. It didn’t feel like it. It was more like the winter solstice when Max and I walked over Upton Heath.

Wet dog in the pond

As you can see it was wet an miserable. At least today I was dressed for it, kitted out from head to toe in full waterproofs. Its so wet the fungi are starting to make an appearance.

Fungi time again

This little chap was loving it though.

The snails are out and about

Once we’d finished our walk it did at least stop raining, although it was cloudy for most of the rest of the day. It was still cloudy as it started to get dark so I thought my prospects of getting a photo of the much talked about Strawberry Moon were slim. And just to clear up any confusion here, just as a blue moon isn’t blue, a strawberry moon isn’t pink.

Apparently the names for our moons mainly come from the North American native tribes, and in the case of the strawberry moon the name comes from the Algonquin tribe which lived in the New England area. The Strawberry Moon is the name of the full moon in June and indicates that it’s about time to start picking the strawberries. So, now we know what the Strawberry moon is, this year it coincided with the Summer Solstice for the first time since, I believe, 1967. Apparently the two coincide about once every 70 years. And this year I was lucky – the clouds parted as I was going to bed and I was able to take some photos from our bedroom window.

The Strawberry Moon over Creekmoor

How lucky was that?

A year ago today

Max, Jez and I were out walking on Upton Heath.

Max on one of the boardwalks (with Jez in the background)

Blue Moon, You saw me standing alone

Friday 31st July 2015

So this evening I took the camera and tripod up to the top of Upton Heath, by the Viewpoint, just as it the sun was setting behind the hill.

The sun sets behind Upton Heath

I passed two cyclists as I walked onto the heath, and later on watched two people walk down the hill, but otherwise I was alone up there: apart from the little rabbits hopping about and the Nightjars churring in the background.

The photos didn’t quite turn out as I’d planned as I’m not used to night photography. But I have one or two images to share.

There were lots of whispy clouds around the moon tonight making it quite atmospheric.

Blue Moon in a haze

This was taken with the telephoto lens, looking across the Roman Road towards Poole.

Blue Moon over Poole and Upton Heath (3)

And this was the view across the heath, again looking out over Poole.

Blue Moon over Poole and Upton Heath

I was out there for about 45 minutes and it was nearly 10pm when I got home. As I came into the drive one of the young fox cubs was in the garden. It didn’t run away but sat by the hedge and watched me go inside. A nice end to the evening.

A year ago today

Max and I went to Upton Country Park where I took this photo of a Moorhen and her chick.

Poor little baldie chick

Practising

Thursday 29th 2015

No photos from our walk today, I’m afraid. But once it got dark I was out practising photographing the moon. So here is a shot of an almost blue moon, taken from outside our front door.

One day short of the Blue Moon

Tomorrow I plan to head up to the Viewpoint on Upton Heath to get some shots of the real thing.

A year ago today

We went to the River Stour for our walk. This was the view from Eye Bridge.

River Stour from Eye Bridge

Moon over Upton Heath

Saturday 11th January 2014

What a beautiful day. The sun is shining, the sky is bright blue, and there is hardly a cloud to be seen. Jez didn’t go out with Chris and Max in the morning, so I took them over to Upton Heath fairly early in the afternoon. When we got there the moon was out.

Moon over Upton Heath

And here it is again, through the bare branches of a silver birch tree.

Moon over Upton Heath

Max was happy in his water-filled gullies…

Max

… while Jez posed for me – and then decided to move.

Jez

Here’s Max again, down in the boggy area of the heath.

Max surveys a pond

And finally, as we came back along the Roman Road, it was lit by the low, late afternoon sunlight (yes, we’d been over there quite a while). I like the fact that the trees make a tunnel effect, enhanced by the old railway bridge in the distance.

Late sun lights the Roman Road

It was a lovely walk. Back to the drab and dreary weather tomorrow though.

A night-time stroll

Friday 12th July 2013

It’s at the cooler end of the hot scale today again – around 22C. I put a t-shirt and thin cardigan on to take Max over Canford Heath in the morning, but once the sun came out I was too hot. It was quite hot for poor Max too, and even his stream has now almost disappeared. There is one fairly clean pool left on the hill leading from the red brick path to the pit road, so he went in there towards the end of our walk.

In the afternoon Dad and Pat came over and I took them round to the Currys megastore near us to buy a new TV & blu-ray player. That means I have to go over there and set it up for them in the next few days.

So come evening I didn’t have much in the way of photos (other than one of an almost non-existant stream) so I took the camera into the garden in the late afternoon. I was surprised to find a male stag beetle wandering round on the trunk of our oak tree. It had been in a sticky area where sap is leaking out (at least I assume that’s what it is) and had managed to gather up quite a lot of detritus on his pincers.

What on earth has this stag beetle been doing?

I don’t know whether it was deliberate or not.

Later in the evening I went out with Dorset Wildlife Trust to count glow worms on Upton Heath. We set off from the Beacon Hill centre at 9.30pm, and shortly after came across the cows, who were getting ready to settle down for the night.

The cows on Upton Heath

I took a couple of photos of the moon rising over the heath.

Moonrise over Upton Heath

Moonrise over Upton Heath

I tried to take a photo of a glow worm but sadly only ended up with fuzzy green blobs. We were surprised to not find many (only 9 on this walk) as in the same area last year we had found well over 20.

I got home just after 11.30pm to find that someone had put food out for the badgers (peanuts I think, unless it was dried dog/cat food), so I had a go at taking a few photos. They are shy, but the food made them overcome that provided I stood fairly still. This pair also look quite young. These shots are all handheld which was just about possible with a very high ISO speed and the presence of a nearby street lamp. They are in black and white to get rid of the colour cast from the sodium street lamp.

Coming out for a snack.

The badgers coming out for a snack

Weighing me up.

Weighing me up

Hello there!

Hello there!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the badgers as much as I did.

Blue Moon

1st September 2012

Well, not quite – as you can see from the date. The Blue Moon (the second full moon within a calendar month) was actually on 31st August, but there was 8/8 cloud cover that night. However, I knew from the dogs’ bedtime walk 2 nights earlier, that the full moon was lighting Creekmoor Ponds beautifully, so I went out on 1st September.  This is actually my first attempt at night photography. It didn’t go that well – my remote shutter release decided to jam so I had to stand with my finger on the shutter release. And I’ve learnt that if I expose for the landscape (which was less time than many websites suggested), then the moon is burnt out.  Nevertheless, I was quite pleased with the results.

This first shot is of the larger of the two ponds. The orange glow comes from a streetlight along the footpath that runs round the pond.
Moon over Creekmoor Ponds

This second shot is of the smaller of the two ponds. There was no streetlight to provide a colour cast (in fact I was in a small, dark corner of the pond, but I have desaturated the photo quite a bit as I discovered I liked the effect. At first I wasn’t going to publish this photo because of the lens flare – a piece of dust has worked its way in somewhere a few shots earlier and I thought it spoilt the photos. But in the end I decided that I didn’t actually mind it.

Moon over Creekmoor Ponds

As I said, I’m quite pleased given that this was my first attempt at night photography. Even during the course of one evening I learnt loads.