In Devon everything in the countryside takes on the colour of the soil; and that colour is often red. The Devonian red sandstone here colours everything. The wind-blown red desert sand which formed these rocks has kept its colour over hundreds of millions of years. When I last visited Paignton Zoo the animals were coated in it. There were naturally Pink Flamingoes with their feet in muddy red Devon pools rather than beautiful blue lagoons. Even the Zebras had pink and black stripes.
Today, on Exminster Marshes near Exeter the Mute Swans have red heads:
It’s a ginger swan.
Bird portraits at Stover Country Park - It’s cold and I fancy a walk. There are Black Headed Gulls at Stover Country Park. I love the way their toes dangle. The male Blackbird has a bright yellow beak in the low sunshine: A Robin sits in the shade: There are Cormorants perched on the top of a … Swans’ ankles - There’s a Mute Swan upending itself on the lake. It’s giving me clear views of its ankles, or ‘backwards knees’ as many people see them. I love the black dinosaur scales on their feet and that strange back toe marooned half-way up the foot. I want to watch them and … I’m a Loon short of a full lake - I hear that there’s a Great Northern Diver, a type of bird frequently called a Loon everywhere apart from here, on a local lake. I set off with camera slung over my shoulder to investigate. There are plenty of Black Headed Gulls in non-breeding plumage here: There are the usual … Mute - I never get bored of Mute Swans, Cygnus olor: There’s something about their size, their poise and their steady pace that enthrals me: Mute Swans are still threatened by pollution of freshwater, poisonous lead weights used by anglers, discarded fishing tackle, and overhead power lines as well as vandalism, with … Pink Zebras and Ginger Swans - In Devon everything in the countryside takes on the colour of the soil; and that colour is often red. The Devonian red sandstone here colours everything. The wind-blown red desert sand which formed these rocks has kept its colour over hundreds of millions of years. When I last visited Paignton … Mute - Photographing Swans is as difficult as photographing snow. They often appear bleached and featureless. Or bedraggled and dirty. Getting the exposure just right to make them look exactly like your eyes perceive them is a constant challenge. Feathered friends - There’s time to visit Stover Country park and see some wildlife today. I’m taking my dad along so he can experience one of the #30DaysWild. The first thing we see is the entry sign: Then the most extraordinary thing happens; a Great Crested Grebe comes fishing at our feet as … An evening in the fields - As part of the Wildlife Trusts’ #30DaysWild I’m heading out to have some nature experiences every day this month. Today I’m heading back to see the Mute Swans in my local park. There’s just one pair there, which seems sensible given how territorial they are. Yesterday I saw the female … From Cygnet to Swan - When did you last spend an hour so completely absorbed in something in the natural world that you forgot what time it was or what else you had to do? During June I’m going to be making a special effort to get out into nature by following the Wildlife Trusts’ …