I took this photo of one of the grebes at Thorpe Lake before my swim there last week. The reflections of the sky were so beautiful. Open water swimming is just the best physical and mental exercise there is! I get to watch these glorious birds, along with all the other residents of the lakeside, while I swim through those smooth waters every week. The simple pleasures in life are the best. I shall share this pleasure with everyone as part of Wex Mondays this week. Good luck to everyone entering!
Spotted this lovely green-veined white butterfly on seed heads at my sister-in-law’s house yesterday. Finally some sunshine enabling us to spend time in the garden after a lovely family Sunday lunch! Only two butterfly visitors to the little suburban garden. This and a gatekeeper. I was surprised as their garden is absolutely filled with plants for pollinators! There were lots of bees all enjoying the lavender and borage. The garden is also a haven for lots of sparrows, dunnocks and the occasional parakeet. It really goes to show how wildlife friendly small urban and suburban gardens can be made! This is my entry for this week’s Fotospeed challenge and a reminder that there’s still a week left to go for The Big Butterfly Count. Citizen science in connection with Butterfly Conservation UK!
My hubby and I braved the elements on Saturday to go to the Cheese and Chilli Festival near Guildford on Saturday. We were all hoping for a break in the rain to watch the GMG Falconry display! No such luck, complete washout. The birds were out on perches under gazebos but they were still getting a bit damp and chilly. I did manage to take a few portraits and I really like the way the damp feathers brought exaggerated detail to this female kestrel’s expression! She had puffed her feathers up to get a bit more insulation from the damp and cold. Such a beautiful bird but she really wasn’t impressed. The phrase “fed up” actually comes from falconry language. It was used to describe a bird that had eaten enough food that it wasn’t interested in flying anymore, literally fed up! The birds on display certainly looked completely fed up but not from feeding. Birds of prey really can’t fly in such heavy rain! Although oils spread through their feathers give them a certain amount of weatherproofing, a wild kestrel would have been hunkered down in a tree or rock roost waiting for the rain to pass. We decided that it was too wet to stick around and returned to our own roost to wait out the weather! So my choices for today’s Fotospeed challenge were limited but I can’t really complain when I had this lovely kestrel.
Nuthatches are wonderful birds to watch! It’s not often I can get close enough to show you the detail of their feathers and the beautiful slate-grey and blue colouring. I spotted this one clinging to the trunk of one of the trees near the birdhide at RHS Wisley Gardens. First came the panicked retrieval of my long lens and actually fitting it to the camera body. Then I had to try to creep down the stairs to get closer. Stairs and I don’t get on well at the best of times!! The whole time I was whispering, “Just hang on a minute!” and he did. He actually clung to the trunk for quite a while, watching the other birds coming and going from the feeders. Look closely at the image and you can see the really long toes and claws of this expert climber! I love the texture of the bark on this trunk. It’s a feature that helps the nuthatch make really good use of this tree for climbing and feeding on insects within the crevices of the bark. Among all my wonderful wildlife finds last week, this image really stands out for me so I’m putting it into the Wex Mondays challenge this week. Good luck to all those entering!
A wonderful six-spot burnet moth on a wild scabious flower, found on Saturday on the slopes of Box Hill. It was great to find a number of day-flying moths while I was out doing The Big Butterfly Count.
The North Downs, including Box Hill, provide a truly precious habitat for many butterfly and moth species. The day was dull but warm enough to bring out a few of my favourites! Also one I had not photographed before, the marbled white. What a beauty it is!
After such a lovely reaction from people to my burnet moth image last week, I thought I’d throw this one into the hat for Wex Mondays and the Fotospeed challenge today. There’s also a gallery of some of the other beautiful butterflies I spotted. The Big Butterfly Count runs for two weeks and you can even download the Butterfly Conservation UK app to your smartphone, to help you survey areas or add individual sightings wherever you are in the country!