Nature is Home: the joys and pleasures of birdwatching

“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
― Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

A little while ago, I wrote about the return of a pair of black-backed gulls to the roof-tops opposite our apartment. Since then, we have been keeping a keen eye on proceedings and I am delighted to be able to provide an update (click on any image for a closer look).

To give some context, you can see in the photo below our vantage point across to the gulls’ nest, which has been built in front of the third chimney pot to the right of the gull in the centre of the picture:


Hub is the ‘proper’ photographer in our house and has been magnificently putting up with my nagging gentle encouragement to take some pictures of events as they have unfolded. He has produced some crackers. Here is Mum (and/or possibly Dad):


The gulls seemed to spend weeks on the nest, to the point where we were wondering if the embryos had perished. But the gulls of course knew what they were doing.

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson


One sunny morning, a couple of days a go, we could see a different scene….


Aren’t they gorgeous! But wait, when we looked again…..

THREE chicks – woo hoo!!

Here’s another picture of them already starting to stretch their wings:


The two outer gulls in this next picture came to visit. ‘Our’ two gulls are in the centre. Interestingly, they were not at all bothered by the arrival of these two, whereas they have been chasing off any other gulls which have tried to come near the nest. Could these be relatives saying hello to the new additions to the family?


So that’s us glued to the binoculars now for a while – it’s such a privilege to see nature in action like this.  🙂

“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”
― Gary Snyder

Friday Quote(s) – Five Reasons to Love the Olympics

Image from Google Images

Image from Google Images

There is no escaping the 2016 Olympics and Para-Olympics at the moment.  It has been thrust into our lives whether we like it or not.

So how can those of us who are not sporting superstars make the best of the Games?  What have the Olympics ever really done for us? With a nod to Monty Python’s ‘Romans’ sketch, from the film Life of Brian, here are five reasons why the Olympics and Para-Olympics are so brilliant for those of us who are not elite athletes.


1.   A sense of belonging

You belong to the world.  Don’t be afraid to be part of it.

~ Thomm Quakenbush, Flies to Wanton Boys

Many of us regularly follow particular sports.  For me and Hub, it is mainly cricket, rugby and tennis, with a spot of golf and snooker thrown in from time to time.

Both the summer and winter Olympic and Para-Olympic games provide the opportunity for total sport immersion, often in disciplines about which we know very little.  How easy it is to become instant experts in the differences between fencing with a foil or épée; the importance of a good pike in diving; and the advantage of an ankle pick in a wrestling bout.  Yes, we suddenly find we can speak with confidence over dinner about the finer points of the modern triathlon.  So what?  Without noticing, we have expanded our minds; learned new things; seen a broader vision of the world.  We might even be spurred on to take up a new sport, having been shown what is possible.  But most of all, we get to feel like we belong, as part of an incredible global community.

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