today I woke up in a cloud

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juvenile mute swan

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P1180478 (1).jpgWhen adult this juvenile Mute Swan will be all white with an orange-red beak. 

young mute swan (& Canada goose)

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P1180479.jpgWhile I have photographed black swans here in Australia I was delighted to spot this young Mute Swan resting in Kensington Gardens, London, on a trip to the UK last year. Mute Swan adults are all white with orange-red beaks, they are the heaviest flying birds in the world, weighing up to 15 kilos. Contrary to its name the Mute Swan produces a range of vocalisations, including the hissing sound swans are famous for when threatened. The friend in the background is a Canada Goose.

ruddy shelduck

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P1180484.jpgI spotted this lovely chestnut water bird at Kensington Gardens in London. The information on their website to aid in identifying birds to the Gardens is very limited. The bird is not in my British Wildlife book either.. again this only has a limited coverage of birds. I was guessing this was a Wandering Whistling-Duck at a different stage/gender as the bird in the post below. But I have had it identified as a Ruddy Shelduck and changed my entry accordingly.

Kensington heron

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P1180468.jpgGrey Herons are global citizens, while they live in Australia I spotted this one, standing motionless as they are want to do, in Kensington Gardens, one of eight Royal Parks in the city of London, UK.

castle guards

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P1190071.jpgRosslyn Chapel was made famous in Dan Brown‘s novel The Da Vinci Codes that went on to become a much discussed movie. Last October on a visit to the UK I visited the Chapel while staying in what remains of Rosslyn Castle, once the St. Claire family home. The Castle is available to rent through the Landmark Trust and is located a short distance away from the Chapel on private land.

My bedroom, visible on the left upper story.

The Castle accommodation is a walk back in time, filled with old paintings, faded wall hangings and memorabilia, statues from the Chapel, descending dungeons and a few resident ghosts thrown in! I captured these Jackdaws from my window one morning, and while strictly speaking Rooks are associated with castles and belfrys, in this case it was Jackdaws that presented plenty of atmosphere as they swirled in large flocks overhead and cawed and chacked into the night. 

whose calling me baby now

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P1180999.jpgThis Sottish Mod (aka Highland Steer) has the mod fringe down pat, take a second look and check out the single eye under those beautiful bangs. The horns may look scary but in reality Highland Steers are docile, good natured animals, and often house cows. The coats vary from black to white, red to silver and in between all thanks to a gene. I met this fellow when touring the Isle of Skye in north west Scotland last October. With the car window down I was only inches away from his lovely snout. These fringes were made famous when  Corb Lund (Canada’s country music singer) released his song ‘Hair in My Eyes Like A Highland Steer’.  

Is this edible? (car side mirror)