The blue tit is a delicate little bird, weighing in at around 11g – half the size of a robin. Often considered our most attractive garden bird, the blue tit is extremely colourful, with a bright blue cap, white face, black stripes across the eyes, bright yellow breast and blue, green and white wings.

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Acknowledgements: Extract taken from The Woodland Trust

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They’re one of the UK’s most popular breeds of dog, but how much do you know about the loving and playful Border Terrier?

By David Hepburn Monday, 27th September 2021, 11:19 am

The last 18 months have seen many of us welcome a new four-legged friend into our homes, as the Kennel Club saw dog ownership rise by nearly eight per cent over 2020.

But with 221 different breeds of pedigree dog to choose from, there’s plenty of thinking to do before you select your perfect pup.

Those with active lifestyles might want to consider a larger dog, while somebody with allergies will be looking for a hypoallergenic dog.

There’s even academic guidance to seek out, with Psychologist Stanley Coren’s book ‘The Intelligence of Dogs’ ranking breeds by instincts, obedience, and the ability to adapt.

One dog that often appears at the top of people’s canine wishlists is the Border Terrrier – they were one of the UK’s 12 most popular dog breeds in 2020 and have a range of positive attributes that make them a great family pet.

Here are 10 fun and interesting facts about the breed.

1. What’s in a name?

The Border Terrier is named after the area where is was first developed in the early 18th century – in the Cheviot Hills on the border between England and Scotland.

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The Border Terrier is named after the area where is was first developed in the early 18th century - in the Cheviot Hills on the border between England and Scotland.

2. Famous fans

Celebrities who have welcomed Border Terriers into their families include Sir Andy Murray, David Walliams, Dennis Quaid, Diane Keaton, Daniel Craig, James Herriot and Kate Lawler.

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Celebrities who have welcomed Border Terriers into their families include Sir Andy Murray, David Walliams, Dennis Quaid, Diane Keaton, Daniel Craig, James Herriot and Kate Lawler.

3. A fearsome reputation

While Border Terriers are now mainly beloved family pets, they were originally bred to flush out and kill foxes, as well as hunting vermin, badgers and even otters.

Photo: Canva/Getty Images Photo Sales

While Border Terriers are now mainly beloved family pets, they were originally bred to flush out and kill foxes, as well as hunting vermin, badgers and even otters.

4. A change of name

The breed has only been known as the Border Terrier since the late 1800s – before then it was referred to as the Coquetdale Terrier or Redesdale Terrier.

Photo: Canva/Getty Images Photo Sales

The breed has only been known as the Border Terrier since the late 1800s - before then it was referred to as the Coquetdale Terrier or Redesdale Terrier.

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Ever wondered why meditation retreats and monasteries of all spiritual traditions are often found in the mountains or deep in the forest? There are many benefits of meditation in nature—it’s a place where wisdom and perception come alive. Meditating outdoors activates our senses, making our practice more alert and wakeful. At the same time, the usual distractions seem far away and somehow less important. Many meditators find it easier to let go of their worries and their electronic devices when they’ve got such a satisfying alternative: mindfully communing with nature.

Meditating with Nature

In Asia, the accomplished meditators of yore believed that isolation in the wilderness was conducive to advanced mindfulness training. They would retreat to hermitages carved into mountains or hidden among the flora of the jungle and spend time in deep contemplation. Many ancient poems and chants evoke the wonder of such retreats. A verse by Han-shan, a 7th century hermit who lived on Cold Mountain in China, describes this experience beautifully:

Today I sat before the cliff,
Sat a long time till mists had cleared.
A single thread, the clear stream runs cold;
A thousand yards the green peaks lift their heads.
White clouds—the morning light is still;
Moonrise—the lamp of night drifts upward;
Body free from dust and stain,
What cares could trouble my mind?

(From Cold Mountain: 100 Poems by the Tang Poet Han-shan, translated by Burton Watson, Columbia University Press)

Photographs by CRUSH Photography©

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Acknowledgements: Extract taken from Mindworks

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Any one who has ever taught a bird watching class or led groups of beginners will be familiar with the rare birds seen by their group. And sooner or later one of them is bound to report ‘ a brilliant yellow bird with a bright red head’. And they are usually convinced it is some sort of tropical bird – it must be really rare. But it is a sighting of this bird, which oftentakes some time to be accepted as ‘only’ a green woodpecker, which can fire the enthusiasm of many beginners. The yellow is in fact a yellowish green, confined to the rump, which becomes very visible as the woodpecker flies away with its bouncing ‘undulating’ flight.

There is no question, the green woodpecker is one of the most colourful of all the birds native to Britain. And they make themselves very obvious by often feeding right out in the open in the middle of lawns, where they can be relatively inconspicuous while feeding, but when disturbed become very obvious as they fly away. Unlike the other two species (the Greater and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers), they are frequently to be seen on the ground, and this is because they have a great love of ants, and will return day after day to a favourite anthill to feed.

The largest of the three species of wood pecker found in Britain, Green Woodpeckers are also easily recognized by their laughing ‘yaffle’ call. Like many such obvious birds they have a wide range of old country names and while standardization of the names is obviously an advantage for birdwatchers, I can’t help feeling that we have lost something when these old names are lost :

Like the other woodpeckers, Greens do drum, but their drumming is neither so resonant nor harsh as the other two species, nor as frequent – they rely on their laugh to demarcate their territory. In Europe the closely related, though duller, gray-headed woodpecker is also found – but this is a more difficult bird to find, and one that even keen birders often have trouble in seeing.

Article By John A Burton

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