I have been watching these beautiful terns at Thorpe Lake, where I do my open water swimming, from the shore and from the waters, wanting to capture their beauty and elegance in flight. I decided that the best way to achieve my goals was to take my toughened Olympus out swimming with me! This pair are nesting on one of the pontoons that divides areas of the lakes. Over the last few weeks I have seen them take to the air whenever a swimmer, or the other lake residents, come anywhere close to the pontoon. I have absolutely reveled in these aerial acrobatics, performed right above me as I glide through the waters. A couple of times I have turned onto my back and floated, gazing up at these angels. To capture these images last week I trod water for a while so that I could turn more easily and track their flight with both hands on the camera. I can’t tread water for long without using up all my energy, so it actually helped that terns fly fast and low! I ended up with three images, that had both male and female in the frame, and just couldn’t pick a favourite to enter into this week’s Wex Mondays challenge, so I created a tern triptych. I will post all three of the images for you to check out individually. Perhaps you will have a favourite?
I’m also posting this as part of the WPC: Ooh, Shiny! Pretty much anything with wings distracts me, as those of you who follow my work, or come out on photography trips with me, know already 😉
I was so entranced by beautiful Robyn, the Hooded Vulture, that I was inspired to create this piece of digital art AND write a new poem! The plight of these incredible birds is not one that makes the headlines. They’re not as cute and fluffy as some other critically endangered species! You can read more about this in my earlier Blue Monday post. To raise awareness of the decline of the Hooded Vulture, I’m sharing this image for Wex Mondays this week.
Dark angels Navigating stormy skies Scanning the vast landscape With steely eyes Seeking out the Earthly remains Of departed souls Laid out upon the plains
Angels descend A winged canopy Encloses the carcass Last rites in ancient ceremony Feathered funeral cortege Gathers without Regret or remorse Guardians of the dead Carry away the corpse
Angels ascend Rising on broad wings Circling above the expanse The wind sings Of their passing Above the clouds Dark and heavy with rain That shrouds Their dispersal amongst The heavens
The Woking Peregrine Falcons have successfully raised five youngsters this year! It’s been amazing to watch their journey unfold on the live cameras situated by the nest box. This is only the second year nesting here for these adults, so to raise all five of their brood is really quite something! The juveniles have fledged and all five have been taking to skies over Woking Town to learn how to hunt at around 200mph. These are the fastest animals on Earth! At the moment the adults are leading their young on high speed chases, baiting them with fresh caught food and trying a few food passes in flight. The adult in this image has a pigeon for the juveniles. This is my entry for Wex Mondays this week as it was just the most incredible thing to watch.
I spent a lovely afternoon at RHS Wisley Gardens yesterday, wandering through the pinetum and woodland areas, chasing butterflies. The woods in the pinetum are full of native bluebells. Their importance as a food source for butterflies and other insects was so evident in the number that we spotted! I found six different butterfly species in and around one small area of bluebells. Brimstone butterflies were by far the most numerous! They delighted us all with a dance of love, as the more vibrant males competed for the attention of the paler females. Pure magic! My featured image, of the male and female dancing together, is my entry for this week’s Fotospeed challenge. I’m including a gallery of all six butterfly species below; comma, large white, brimstone, green-veined white, peacock and speckled wood.
Blue skies, with a bit of moody cloud, provided the perfect backdrop to the spectacle of two male lapwings, dancing in a display of prowess for the prospective females watching below on the nesting grounds. My composite image shows all the moves these beautiful birds went through during their display and is my entry for today’s Wex Mondays challenge. The one thing missing from the image is the distinctive sound of the lapwing’s call, a loud peewit peewit, that carried clear across the wetlands of Pulborough Brooks RSPB Reserve in West Sussex. I grew up calling lapwings by their colloquial name, taken from their call, Peewits. One of my favourite birds ever and a real treat to watch on my birthday last week!
I think one of the most graceful sights in all of nature is a bird in flight! From the smallest; our little goldcrest, who flits about so quickly among the trees and shrubs it’s hard to keep track of them, to one of our largest; the grey heron, with a giant wingspan that allows them to soar for miles traveling between bodies of water. I can never tire of watching birds in the wild! This weekend I will be doing my bit to help the RSPB collect data that is so important in conservation work, The Big Garden Birdwatch. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing this weekend, perhaps you can find just ten minutes to stop and watch the birds too!