I was totally surprised when I first found this plant, it was so usual. It felt like I was the first to discover it and thought wouldn’t it be great to have flower named after me. It was really exciting to find this tiny beautiful blue flower (less than half an inch across), it looked so exotic in amongst the wild grasses. I had walked past this particular shady area for years and had not seen this plant before, it was only when, one day, a small ray of sunlight shone on a flower that I found it. Even though I know where to look for them now, it is easy to walk past them unnoticed, but the really interesting thing about them is that the flowers only open for one day, making it even tougher to get a view. Amazingly, today, I came across another area where these delightful plants are growing, but my first find still rates as a special moment in my life and I remember it well and being taken out of my reverie at the time by Pickles having a pee on the rock behind it.
All good terriers love digging and my two are no exception. I watch them as the smell of something down a hole drives them crazy, nothing can distract them when they are digging. Their front feet frantically scratching away at the earth, their jaws ripping at the roots trying to get to the prey. Mice or Voles? I’m not sure but after 20 minutes they are nowhere nearer getting their breakfast and I drag them away because I am beginning to feel hungry myself. Maybe it’s because we’ve been out walking for over an hour or possibly it’s something to do with fact I have been staring at the Common Toadflax plant and it has conjured up a delightful vision of buttery scrambled eggs on toast, mmm, maybe I should add some bacon and grilled tomato. My mouth is starting to water as I drive home contemplating breakfast. The boys, disappointed at not having caught anything today, will just have to do with a slice of bacon each.
Getting a photo of a fox in the wild really makes my day, seeing these beautiful animals out in the open fields gives me a huge thrill. Taking a great photo of a fox is tough at the best of times but having two terriers in tow makes it almost impossible. If the boys are running free they will take off after the fox and I won’t see them for the next hour or two. The thing is to get lucky, see the fox before them, leash them quickly and then try and sneak up on the fox without him seeing you, not that easy. If the fox is hunting for food you are much more likely to get a couple of photos before he senses something’s up and is off. Below are some pictures I’ve taken over the last few days of a young fox while he was out looking for food. Some are grainy because the light was pretty bad and it’s tricky shooting with a wide aperture on a long lens with one hand and of course it doesn’t help when you have two dogs pulling at your other arm trying to get after the fox. Sometimes I’ll be very lucky and get a sharp photo and be amazed at the result, it’s a miracle I say. Thanks Branston and Pickles for staying still for 250th of a second.
These are my constant companions, they are my shadow and they are the reason I am writing this blog. Branston and Pickles are just over nine years old and I have been walking them everyday for that time and have taken a camera out with me on our rambles. I have shot thousands of photos over these years, landscapes, wildlife, wildflowers and of course lots of pictures of the boys. We have met many dogs on our walks, Zeke, Bella, Laddie, Hudson, Hogan, Abby, Barney, to name just a few, I probably know all the dog’s names and not the owners because that is how we were introduced. During the years I have also learnt the names of the trees and plants I photographed and have been recently studying butterflies, meanwhile the dogs have sniffed every blade of grass, chased rabbits, deer, squirrels and anything that moves including fox and coyote, not something I would encourage. This is their world, their joy, a place of peace and beauty and I’d like to share it with everyone.