It’s lovely seeing cygnets on the Basingstoke Canal again! The swans on the Byfleet and New Haw stretch have four cygnets this year. I couldn’t resist this shot of two of the babies seeming to be admiring their reflections, or in a conversation with each other. I think it would make a rather lovely print so I’m entering it into this week’s Fotospeed challenge.
Despite an injury to my neck I managed a little bit of weekend wildlife watching and photography! This sighting at Heather Farm Wetlands Centre has me very excited, as I’m almost 100% certain that it’s a Marsh Warbler. The markings and the song seem to fit. It can be very hard to positively identify some warblers from one another! I hope that the good folks at the RSPB and BTO can help me out. I couldn’t bring the 500mm lens out with my neck injury so can’t actually read the identification ring on the bird’s leg. There’s a nest deep in the shrubs close to the fence post and the fledglings have been popping in and out but not when I was close enough with the camera! The adults were very busy darting in and out of the reeds around the water’s edge. Such a joy to watch! I also managed to get close enough to identify and photograph another resident, a reed bunting. This was another first for me! Nature is most definitely the best remedy for any ailment. I will share this little bundle of joy for my Fotospeed entry this week and hope it makes others smile too 🙂
When the bustle of activity around the dive centre on Swanage Pier has finished for the day, all that remains is the calm stillness of the waters and a wonderful feeling of accomplishment, now that Simon and I are fully qualified PADI Open Water Divers! This is my entry for this week’s Fotospeed Challenge. It’s from a four second long-exposure of the old pier struts, next to where the dive boats moor during the day. Despite the overcast skies I didn’t have enough filters to get a longer exposure! I will have to get some Lee Big Stoppers before our next dive there.
The rain didn’t dampen our spirits at Phoenix Rising, our free community music festival, in Woking Park yesterday! Young Jessica’s face has such a sunny disposition that says everything about the spirit of the Phoenix Cultural Centre and all the brilliant people involved in organising, performing, volunteering and promoting the project. Jessica was at the side of the bandstand watching her mum, the talented Anna Neale, perform to everyone sheltering under trees and brollies in the park. I love her expression of happiness here and felt that this would make a good image to share for Fotospeed’s weekly photo challenge! I hope she makes everyone smile 🙂
Aquilegia is often known as Columbine or Granny’s Bonnet. I found this pretty, pink cultivar in the Wild Woods at RHS Wisley Gardens yesterday. Simon and I had a busy weekend but just about managed to take an hour’s break to get some fresh air, coffee and cake. The dappled sunlight really glowed on these little flowers, they were quite captivating! Among all the lovely sights at Wisley yesterday, I thought that I would share these beauties for this week’s Fotospeed Challenge. I hope they are an uplifting sight for you all!
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.
A magical sight waited for us in the woodland yesterday, where a group of us gathered to celebrate a good friend’s birthday. I followed the track dividing the woodland plots and discovered that the bluebells were taking over the rutted track, once used by man and machine, now given back to nature. I’ve added this sighting to The Woodland Trust‘s online survey of bluebell woods, helping to build a national picture of the locations of our native bluebells. Sightings of hybrid and Spanish Bluebells can also be added to the Big Bluebell Watch, to help with conservation management. This is also my entry for the Fotospeed challenge this week. I expect bluebells will be featuring heavily again this week on their twitter feed and I just hope that everyone can feel the magic in my capture.
My entry for the Fotospeed Challenge is this lighting abstract. One of the many curios that I discovered at the Cotswold Motoring Museum. I’ve been in Bourton-on-the-Water for a girls weekend away with my best friend, Rachel. Yes, that’s right, a GIRLS weekend, we went to a motor museum, and it was fantastic! Our whole trip was brilliant, it’s been ages since we were let loose together 😉
I photographed these Spanish Bluebells in my parents garden on Easter Sunday for my Blue Monday post and entry for Fotospeed’s weekly photo challenge. The Spanish Bluebell is very pretty but as a non-native species has become an increasing threat to the native British Bluebells in our woodlands. I’m hoping to capture some of those beauties soon! One of the ways that the Spanish variety has been spread to woodland areas has been in the ilegal fly-tipping of garden waste. They can be cross-pollinated with the native species creating hybrids that change future generations forever! Please be careful with your garden waste this year. More information can be found at The Woodland Trust.