Saturday, 24 July 2010

Boots are made for...

"These boots are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do".

The repeated lyrics of the well known song by Nancy Sinatra released in 1966, when I was somewhat younger, subsequently covered by many other artists including Jessica Simpson's own rewritten version. The rest of the original lyrics bear no relationship to my daily life but without boots I wouldn't have got anywhere. As a youngster I explored the local common and woodlands; as a teenager I hill-walked (often with my father in places such as the Brecon Beacons), hiked, rock scrambled and even climbed a bit with a close friend (Snowdonia, North Wales in the depths of a snow and ice filled winter was fun); I cycled a lot (even owned a tandem for a few years which won the heart of one young lady) and also canoed for a while; then car ownership enabled me to explore other parts of the UK testing the boots over mountains,  moorlands, valley floors, clifftops and beaches. In more recent times the boots now usually carry me over less treacherous terrain as I stroll here and there often stopping to watch our native wildlife or to just soak up my surroundings at a much more leisurely pace.    
[You can click all the images to enlarge]
 Are you ready boots? Start walkin'! ......and follow me as I tread the paths, tracks and bridleways around a very small corner of a local common. Starting from a clearing close to where Nightingales, Garden Warblers, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat etc. were singing a month or so ago I cross a bridge over a tiny dried out stream. A Common Whitethroat partly hidden from view warns its young that a 'watcher' is about. Tiny day flying moths flicker around my legs as my footsteps disturb the grasses; a Small Skipper rests on a Cat's-ear and the blackberries are in need of some rain to swell before ripening.....I'll be back for a taste when they are ready!
My ears as usual are  listening for any bird sounds but it is my eyes that are doing most of the work, constantly moving from right to left and back again as tiny fluttering shapes, some colourful and some drab, flit in and out of of my peripheral vision as they seek out their favourite nectar sources; chase away interlopers or hunt for a partner. On this occasion I have initially loaded the 18-75mm IS USM  lens so capturing a close up will no doubt present its own challenges.

Comma and a Skipper (far left) hidding deep in the greenery.

Further along a break in the hedgerow leads me over another small bridge and a style providing a view of the layered clouds above the recently cut field with all the bales neatly stacked up in box-like fashion. With nothing flying to hold my attention I return to my original route.

Green-veined White.
On the other side of the path another style leads into another field often frequented by Corvids and Pheasants but today it was silent with just the clouds drifting slowly overhead. The Elder berries are also looking a little limp from the lack of water and the aniseed-like fragrance of Sweet Cicely drifted to my nose on the slight breeze. The flower head was littered with Soldier Beetles and various other flies and tiny insects.

Silver-washed Fritillary (female).

Following tracks thankfully providing shade from the overhead sun it was generally very quiet apart from the constant mewing 'piiyay..piiyay' call from a Common Buzzard not too far away and the pleasant interuption as two chatty ladies passed by gently exercising their mounts. In fact my pace was so leisurely that they passed me by twice during their circuit! Close to the spot with the sign I heard a few bird sounds and then saw Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Blue, Coal, Great and Long Tailed Tits, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird, a young Chiffchaff and very fleeting glimpses of a Goldcrest. They were all grabbing a quick meal from amoungst the dense foliage and then flew on ahead much faster than my footsteps so I turned and retraced my steps between the hedge lined fields.
The hedgerows were full of Bindweed, their white and some pinkish tinged trumpets glowing like light bulbs inbetween the dark green leaves; a lonely fallen feather shed by its owner; plenty of colours other than green with blue, purple, yellow and reddish-browns provided by Bugle, Vetches, Clover, Grasses, Sorrel, Thistles and Ragwort; the Honeysuckle has already lost its flowers plus on the floor the recent remains of a very well plucked Woodpigeon.....someone had a good feast! 
Back out in the sunshine again I finally switched over to the 70-300mm lens. There was still a slight breeze and more butterflies were on the wing but fortunately some were resting briefly to catch the suns rays including (clockwise from top left) Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Ringlet and  a Meadow Brown.
After two hours or so the boots are back at the bridge where a Peacock (the dark under wing shot made it look a bit like a bat) and several bright male Silver-washed Fritillary are enjoying an afternoon feast on the thistles and knapweed. I also had fleeting views of a fast flicking Common Blue, a lazy Brimstone plus a high flying White Admiral bringing the total count to 12 species of butterflies. Once again the boots have served me well and as I drive away the sweet call of a Yellowhammer rings out from the other side of the roadside hedge suggesting it's time for a 'little bit of bread and no cheese' so I head home for a well earned sandwich and a cuppa.

I make no apologies for the length of this post but do hope you will join me again sometime when the boots go walkin....FAB.


  1. We're all fortunate you have a good pair of boots. I thoroughly enjoyed the walk. The Green-veined White was something new for me. Thanks.

  2. Well worth the wait! You warned us, but you didn't say it would be such a fantastic post. I mirror Steve's comment when I say I so thoroughly enjoyed the walk. Not only was the Green-veined White something new, but the Silver-washed Fritillary! All your photos were extraordinary. Thanks for taking us along on this journey!! ~karen

  3. No need to apologize! I LOVED this post. Your pictures are terrific, and your descriptions and narrative put me right there with you.

  4. Steve W. I'm delighted you stopped by and that I could show you something new. Cheers.

    KaHolly. I'm glad you approved Karen. Not sure I can or should produce this length every post but it seemed right this time. There are a few far better pics of the SWFrit in previous posts and on FABirding if you care to search the blogs.

    Mona. You must know by now that I love having you looking over my shoulder and always a pleasure to hear from you.

    Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend..FAB.

  5. Wonderful post that was not only informative but enjoyable as well.Since the heat wave here of over 90+ days for the past couple of weeks (100 today), extended walking anywhere has not been possible without much discomfort. Thanks for teaching more about nature.

  6. No need for apoligizes Frank!!!
    Not only did I enjoy the walk and great photos I also enjoyed the descriptive flow of your writing!!!
    I don't know what you have left of your weekend but enjoy!!!

  7. Oh I just loved that song when I was a wee child I remember hearing that song and I would get so excited. I love your barn owl photo and all these wonderful photos!
    I have been taking photos of birds this year, actually the first time I have ever tried to take so many different types of birds photos. It's a challenge I find. I Have to sit and wait for them or quietly very very quietly wait for them and then snap away.
    It sounds like you have been around the block and been to many fun places. I find taking photos of nature to be one of life's finest blessings.
    have a wonderful day!

  8. Brilliantly constructed post there, Frank. You certainly have the knack when it comes to writing.

  9. Beatrice. Thanks, glad you enjoyed this one. 90 - 100 would probably keep me indoors as well...try to stay cool.

    grammie g. Ta very much. Just chilling out in the garden waiting for a flutter to appear.

    Kat & Steve. Thanks, I appreciate your visit. I also find photographing any wildlife a challenge, but if you persevere it's addictive. Sit and wait is certainly the best method.

    Dean. Cheers. Not sure my English teacher would have agreed way back but perhaps I've learnt something over the ensuing

  10. What a wonderful hike! Thanks for taking us along.

  11. Those boots look nearly new Frank, best get them doing some more walking, and show us the results :-)

  12. Lois. Glad you enjoyed the stroll.

    Warren. They are a lot older than they look...just well cared for...unlike their

  13. I enjoyed my visit here so very much , your words and photogrpahy.
    We have the same interests as in Boots.. and the path. How beautiful your paths are surronded by nature. Thanks for the visit.
    Im going to be back I enjoyed your blog so much and will be following you.
    Have a beautiful day.

  14. Lisa RedWillow. Thanks for joining the Early Birder...I have reciprocated so we can keep an eye on one another. Have fun.

  15. What a fabulous, wonderful work of photography and story; the principal actor(s); the pair of boots.....!!!! A great, original and charming story; FANTASTIC!!!!!!

    All my COMPLIMENTS; it has been a big joy to discover and read!!!!!!

    have a beautiful evening; Frank!!
    ciao ciao elvira

  16. Great pictures. I particularly like the fritillary shots.

  17. Hi again Frank, I agree completely with everyone above. No apologies required at all for the length of your post… you know I’d have to say that anyway ;-)

    In all honesty I do enjoy chatty, descriptive wanders like this especially in areas not familiar to me. What a brilliant set of photos montages to accompany your chat. So many butterflies I have never seen too. Hard as it is, I’ve picked a fav… the Silver-washed Fritillary :-D

    Wishing you a good week :-D

  18. Elvira. I'm delighted you enjoyed this one. I'll be in touch.

    Jeremy. Cheers, they are one of my favourites.

  19. Hi shirl. I really enjoyed putting this one together but it was quite time consumming so I may have to revert to a few quick posts! I'm not surprised to learn the SW Frit is a favourite. Despite having taken masses of photos already I'll find it difficult not to snap away the next time I see them. Cheers FAB.

  20. Thoroughly enjoyable post! Gorgeous photos and fabulous descriptive writing. Thank you for taking us along on your adventure. Looking forward to the next time you lace up those boots!

  21. Hi Frank what a superb walk with images and prose to make one feel they are there with you.I agree with your boot comments they last for years and when they wear out its like losing a dear friend.Thanks for sharing this one.

  22. Julie G. I'm delighted to see that you are 'following' me.

    Monty. Yes, I'll be sad when these boots need replacing.

  23. Great post Frank. A stroll with nature like that; the best thing in life. And it's free ;)

  24. I always feel like I'm watching a beautiful nature documentary when I come to your blog - so I enjoy your walks very much! Loved seeing all the pretty wings and things!

  25. What a great way to begin my blog journey this evening, just a splendid narrative and oh I do know that song ;) The images that you have captured are so very wonderful, the paths, the gardens, butterflies, the fields and landscapes, just so much fun to view your lands. Very similar in nature to our Kentucky. Very lovely presentation Frank~

  26. Keith. As always..on the same wavelength. Cheers mate.

    Kerri. Thank you.

    Shelley. Very pleased you could come along with me.

    Mary. I'm delighted you approve and I'm pleased as always to share an insight into my local landscape and its nature offerings.

  27. Awesome post!! I loved where those boots went a walkin' ! Look forward to the next.

  28. Kelly. Thank you. Maybe not as exciting as volunteering but still fun to roam around locally.


I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.


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