Haiku: Heavenly Portal

Lochan Mor

a male mallard duck pecking at the ice on a frozen loch

iced-up loch
so many rainbows
resting here

© Xenia Tran

a male mallard duck standing on a frozen loch

Wishing you all a blessed Sunday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/4 – 1/160 s – ISO 160, f/2.8 – 1/100 s – ISO 160 and f/2.8 – 1/100 s – ISO 200.

Dutch Goes the Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge: Portal

Carpe Diem #1795: New Beginnings – Rainbow

Wordless Wednesday: A Special Place in the Sun

rock formations in the Moray Firth on a Winter's morning
close up shot of a pair of seagulls perched on a rock in the Moray Firth

Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/4.5 – 1/500 s – ISO 125, f/5 – 1/400 s – ISO 100 and f/6.5 – 1/320 s – ISO 200.

Wordless Wednesday

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #78: Special Spot Shots

Jez Braithwaite’s Water Water Everywhere #9

Looking Back at 2019 – Thank you for the Magic

Looking back at our tenth year in the Scottish Highlands we are once more so humbled by the beauty of nature and grateful to share a few favourite moments from the places we love.

We have enjoyed our walks along the river, the pond and the shores along the Moray Coast. It was early January, when the last grown up cygnets flew the river nest and began the next stage of their journey. The pond swans were fortunate to have cygnets again this year, with one them surviving into adulthood. The river has been abundant with wildlife, with merganser, heron, redshank, goosander, and a record number of ducks. The mild Autumn brought a second wave of ducklings, who are still thriving today. We’ve seen many migrating birds pass our shores, especially geese, greenshank and dunlin. In the forests, we enjoyed peaceful encounters with raven, each of them inspiring a poem.

Raven’s Call became our most popular wildlife post of the year. A few other popular posts featuring wildlife were Summer Cygnets and Autumn Equinox featuring the pond swans, Two Herons and Mountain Frog.

With our mild Winter and plenty of rain during the Spring and Summer, 2019 was a good year for flowers, bumblebees and butterflies. The mild Autumn that followed saw many flowers bloom for a second time.

Hoarfrost became our most popular post featuring macro photography, posted late November after our first overnight frost. Flowers in the Detail, Fuzzy Blue and Cuckoo Flower also feature in the top ten posts for this year.

With the weather so much kinder than in 2018, we were able to travel North and West a few times. The beautiful landscape inspired many poems. In addition to haiku, haibun and tanka I revisited the villanelle and experimented with the lai nouveau and rubaiyat.

Our most popular post on the blog Fragrant Breeze was inspired by the wonderful landscape of Assynt in the Spring. Five other scenic posts feature in the top ten for the year, including Loch Broom, Forest Lake and Where Ducks Fly. We were delighted when our photographic post Castle in the Rain inspired a poem by a fellow blogger in Castle Ardvreck.

We want to say a very big thank you to all of you who take the time to visit and comment on our blog and to those of you who share your experiences through your own posts, photographs and poems. You are all an enormous inspiration and help make this world a better place.

A very big thank you too to all the lovely bloggers who host regular prompts and challenges. With so many photographs and impressions to chose from it’s a great help in finding a focus or different angle from which to approach a subject.

We look forward to what 2020 holds in store and wish you all a great start to the New Year. May this new decade bring new understanding and greater care for our natural world with increased compassion and peace among human beings.

macro shot of a painted lady butterfly on a purple lilac

You can see the 2019 highlights from our sister blog Whippet Wisdom in
2019: Favourite Moments Through the Seasons.

Wishing you all a Happy Hogmanay,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #77: Favorite Photos of 2019

Silent Sunday: A Dashing Display

a flock of greenshank in full display above the sea and sandbar
a flock of greenshank flying in formation above the water
close up shot of a flock of greenshank wading towards the shore

Wishing you all a very happy December and a blissful Sunday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/5 – 1/500 s – ISO 100, f/5 – 1/640 s – ISO 100 and f/6.5 – 1/320 s – ISO 100.

Silent Sunday

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #74: Abstract

Tanka: Two Herons

Loch Fleet Nature Reserve

a mature blue heron waiting on tidal stones and exposed seaweed

two herons
waiting on tidal stones
one young, one old
a calm we understand
at the heart of it all

© Xenia Tran

tide flowing out at Loch Fleet Nature Reserve

Wishing you all a peaceful Sunday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/6.5 – 1/160 s – ISO 500, f/6.5 – 1/160 s – ISO 400 and f/4 – 1/250 s – ISO 200.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #72: Waiting

Sunday Stills: Calm

Silent Sunday: Loch Fleet Nature Reserve

a curlew on a rock and two seals resting in the shallows
oystercatchers and seagulls feeding at low tide

Wishing you all a peaceful Sunday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/4 – 1/320 s – ISO 200, f/6.5 – 1/160 s – ISO 320 and f/5.6 – 1/125 s – ISO 200.

Silent Sunday

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Comprise

Word of the Day Prompt: Travel

Silent Sunday: When Ducks Smile

three female mallard ducks in the river
female mallard ducks leaping and diving in the river

These mallard ducks seemed to enjoy themselves, splashing in the tidal flows of the river.

Wishing you all a very happy Sunday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/6.5 – 1/200 s – ISO 200 and f/6.3 – 1/200 s – ISO 200.

Silent Sunday