Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Mice, snails, insects… now Hitchock’s birds!


What did I do to earn the ire of Mother Nature?

I don’t seem to be able to keep ANY of her damned offspring out of my house.

There was a new twist in the invasion tale this morning when I got up and looked out of my living room window.

I thought I saw a little bird fly past, and thought it was odd that I thought I could hear its wings.


A few seconds later I saw it fly past again, only thing was… it was flying around INSIDE, not OUTSIDE.

The good news was that its next port of call was the kitchen, and that’s where the back doors are so, I shut the inside door and opened the back doors. By the time I got back to kitchen door and turned around to see where it was – it had already found its own way out, so at least I was spared the job of shepherding it out. The other good thing was this one was so small it couldn’t knock anything over – you really don’t want anything larger flying around inside your home (like when they fly in the back door!)

I’m slightly puzzled as to how it got in though – while all my windows are open, they all have insect screens.

There’s a possible/unlikely way in if it crawled under the outside back door – LIKE A MOUSE!

But I guess it flew in the open skylight – where one of the local cats really did ‘drop in’ for a visit once. We heard it ‘arrive’, then panic, and were able to get it down. Unfortunately, it didn’t stay, just ran away once it was out of the loft.

The surprise with the visiting robin was that it made its way out of the loft and into the house. Although the loft ladder is on a swinging hatch cover, at the moment it’s almost closed, but is normally wide open just for ventilation.

I’m guessing/hoping it wasn’t inside for too long – birds are similar to mice in that they’re more or less incontinent, so just drop their load whenever the need arises.

So far the news is good – no evidence found (so far).

PD Robin

PD Robin (probably shouting at me to “Dig Faster!”

It took me a while to find a PD robin image that looked like the ones that turn up in my garden.

In fact, they look more like the New Zealand variety I found online, as opposed to our traditional type with the light underside. I’m sure those I see close-up have a very dark area below the red breast – but what to I know?

I usually only see them when I’m digging holes, and they are so intimidated that they not only dive into the freshly turned earth (risking having the next shovelful thrown on top of the) to pick out the insects I’ve just uncovered, they’ll sit on the shovel if I stop for a moment and just stick in the ground to deal with an obstruction.

11/10/2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Glance at the Royal College of Science and Technology

Another example of the problems encountered when trying to take a half decent picture of a sizeable building within a city.

Standing at the corner of George Street and Montrose Street, it struck me how awkward it is to photograph many buildings in their entirety – in this case the Royal College of Science and Technology, a significant part of the University of Strathclyde (and a building I spent a significant number of years wandering around), it formed the original building of the University of Strathclyde (awarded charter 1964).

Most of the time, I can get away with only needing to take pics of parts of buildings, such as entrances, or shop fronts that lie within them. But when the subject is an entire building, it suddenly becomes apparent how narrow the streets are, restricting how far back one can stand, and how NOT wide a reasonably priced wide-angle lens is. I won’t even go into the cost of special lenses built for architectural photography.

Sometimes I can manage a reasonable effort using (free) software to stitch multiple images together, but this can lead to excessive distortion which I can’t process out. Sometimes the simplest solution is just to take the shot looking along the front of the building.

There are a few rules which need to be remembered when doing even this, or horrible distortions and extreme converging verticals can be introduced, and look as bad as an unwanted ‘fish eye’ lens shot.

I managed to get most of the Royal College on this occasion, but still couldn’t get the whole thing, and lost a little off the top – but got the benefit of not having silly horizontal and vertical angles in the image.

Royal College Of Science And Technology University Of Strathclyde

Royal College Of Science And Technology University Of Strathclyde

You may want to compare this view with one taken in 1909.

It’s intriguing to see the street clear of the now usual clutter of signs, traffic islands, traffic lights, bins, railings, and bus shelters.

Since I knew there was not way I was going to get a plain front elevation, I decided just to catch the main entrance – showing off its metal grille, closed as this was a Sunday.

Royal College Main Entrance

Royal College Main Entrance

Oddly, the three arches appear to be too tall and narrow, but having checked the original, and found some undistorted circles recorded, can only assume it is an illusion, possibly from seeing the three in isolation, and not in context with the rest of the façade.

11/10/2017 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: