Blue Monday: View From Floor 21

The View From Floor 21

Blue Monday: View From Floor 21

Blue skies over London as seen from the twenty-first floor of Guy’s Hospital Tower. When you’re having a complex dental appointment with the restoratative care team, a view like this is a great tonic!


Blue Monday: Signs Of Spring

Blue Tit and budding Spring leaves

Blue Monday: Signs Of Spring

I returned to the carpark at RHS Wisley Gardens on Sunday morning after the snow had all melted. The fieldfare had all gone, presumably back to the orchard fields on the exposed hillside. Hardly any fruit remained on the trees out by the main entrance so most of the birds were around the side of the shop where staff have a number of feeders out. The blue tits were out in force and I really enjoyed watching them flitting in and out of the shrubs. After the recent cold, I was reminded that it is now meteorological Spring by the sight of fresh green leaves and buds on the branches. Hopefully this will be a bright contrast to many snow images in this week’s Fotospeed challenge!



Blue Monday: Colourful Corvid


Blue Monday: Colourful Corvid

Most people think of members of the crow family as being large, black and raucous. Whilst the Jay is not a small bird by any means, it is definitely the most colourful and shy corvid family member in the UK. It was a treat to watch this beauty in the Wild Woods at RHS Wisley Gardens last week, as I slowly wended my way back out from volunteering with Butterfly Conservation in The Glasshouse. That flash of blue on the wings of the jay is just as startlingly beautiful and iridescent as the wings on the Blue Morpho butterflies, flying in the tropical zone of the glasshouse at the moment.


Blue Monday: Big Garden Birdwatch

Blue Tit

Blue Monday: Big Garden Birdwatch

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is a citizen science project that has been running for almost fourty years and helps provide a “snapshot” of bird numbers across the UK. The data collected helps inform the RSPB of any problems in bird numbers. Steps can then be taken to identify the reasons for these problems and find resolutions. The data collected over the years can also provide us with some great success stories. Since the start of Birdwatch, blue tit numbers have actually increased by twenty percent!

On Saturday morning I joined a group of wildlife enthusiasts at RHS Wisley Gardens for a tour of the grounds, identifying different bird species, led by experts from the North West Surrey branch of the RSPB. The highlight of the morning for me was a flock of siskin found near the bottom of  Battleston Hill. They were very silhouetted againgst the morning skies but I finally managed to get a shot of one to show you the wonderful yellow colourings. We estimated there were around fourty birds in the flock.



On our way up to the orchards we saw a mistle thrush in the oaks. I shall be looking out for it in the area as I couldn’t get a close enough view for a photograph. The flocks of fieldfare and redwing were also keeping their distance from us in the orchards but we witnessed them swooping and diving to outwit the local buzzard. Quite a sight! There are more flocks of redwing feeding on the lawn areas at Seven Acres and around the lakes. Recent rainfall has turned the ground marsh-like, bringing up plenty of insects and worms for these hungry winter visitors. Among the flocks are other thrush, robins and blackbirds all taking advantage of this feast. I was delighted to see the Egyptian Geese have returned to the lake again! Hopefully they will have their goslings at Wisley again this year.

Egyptian Geese

Egyptian Geese

We finished our birdwatch at the birdhide situated at the far end of the Pinetum, on the banks of the Wey. With so many of us in the group it was hard for me to get many photographs but we were all delighted to see the nuthatch, chaffinches, robins, parakeets, ducks, moorhens and very healthy numbers of tits. There were great, blue and coal tits all visiting the feeders and flitting around in the trees and scrub. I’m putting one of my shots of a blue tit, with absolutely wonderful colouring, into this week’s Fotospeed challenge. A perfect example of a citizen science success story!

Many thanks to Amy from RHS Wisley for organising the workshops and educational events at the gardens, and to NW Surrey RSPB for leading the event and providing some great information and close-up views with their spotting scopes.


Blue Monday: Portrait Of A Blue Tit

Blue Tit painted in Topaz Studio

Blue Monday: Portrait Of A Blue Tit

Thanks to my wonderful hubby, I now have a computer that can access all of my Topaz Software! I truly feel like I can paint again. This blue tit portrait was created from a photograph taken in Shropshire over the Christmas period and processed using tools in Topaz Studio and Photoshop. This is my entry for the first Wex Mondays challenge of the year.

Original edit:

Blue Tit in Shropshire


Blue Monday: Caught In The Light

Blue Tit in bright autumn light

Blue Monday: Caught In The Light

A pretty blue tit, caught in the bright light of a chilly autumn afternoon, at RHS Wisley Gardens yesterday, for this week’s Fotospeed challenge.


Blue Monday: Ghost Of The Machine

Ghost Of The Machine

Ghost Of The Machine

An underwater apparition from the flooded quarry at the National Diving and Activity Centre (NDAC). Simon and I went up to the centre, near Chepstow, on Saturday to get in a couple of freshwater dives. This British Aerospace Jetstream 200 has been one of the attractions at the site since 2006 and can be found at the north end of the quarry, at a depth of eleven metres. Visibility is usually better than the five metres, or so, that we had this weekend. I rather enjoyed seeing the various wrecks appear, like ghosts, from the gloom ahead of us though. Taken using the Olympus Tough TG4, this image is my entry for Wex Mondays this week. Good luck to everyone taking part!