Wordless Wednesday: The Wonderful World Of Warblers
ShareMondays2019 – Watching The Whitethroat
I’ve been watching the whitethroat at Heather Farm again this week. There are definitely two pairs nesting within a short distance from the carpark and cafe. You can watch them flying across the reeds and singing in the silver birch while sitting outside the cafe enjoying a drink (and maybe a cake!).
For a closer look, head to the birdhide and look behind you, into the shrubs and up into the birch. There’s another pair in the thicket and reeds by the boardwalk, over the pond, as you enter the wetlands from the carpark.
They’re not the only birds busily building nests or feeding young in these thicket havens. Wrens, robins, dunnock, goldfinch and reed bunting are all sharing these patches, regularly popping up to the top of reeds or shrubs, to join their voices together in a wonderful chorus!
Out Of Africa
No, I’m not in Africa, but this little whitethroat (Sylvia communis) was until just recently! They over-winter in sub-Saharan Africa before returning to breeding grounds, across Europe, in mid April. Whitethroats are warblers and have such a beautiful song. They’re similar in appearance to reed and garden warblers but have a longer tail and much more defined white throat. They are quite short-lived birds, usually about 2 years, so I suspect that the ones returning to this exact same nest-site, at Heather Farm wetlands centre, are the juveniles I saw fledging last summer.
I spotted the first male on Easter Sunday when out with my hubby. I wish he could feel as excited as me about such sightings, but he was very happy that it was sunny and warm, with a spot of grass to lay out on and the cafe for an ice-cream! Yesterday wasn’t quite so warm and bright but I am pretty certain that this whitethroat is a returning female. It’s slightly less defined in colour and markings and was busily collecting soft nesting material that it took back into the shrub that it’s perched on.
Perched in the birdhide, looking out through the way in, I can watch these wonderful little birds flitting in and out of their nest site, stopping to sing or feed, for hours. I’m certain they’re aware of me, in fact they often look me straight in the eye, with head cocked questioningly, but if I keep perfectly still they’ll just carry on about their business. I love these little moments of connection, it’s almost as if you’re having a silent conversation through mere eye contact! I can’t wait to see how this pair develop and really hope that I will get to see fledglings again later in the Summer.
If, like me, you love birdsong, why not head over to the RSPB website and buy or stream the single Let Nature Sing! You can help us get birdsong to the top of the charts by listening to something truly beautiful by May 2nd. I would encourage you all to visit their page on warblers and listen to the amazing songs of these natural-born singers!
ShareMondays2019 – Let’s Go Fly A Kite
Red Kites regularly fly over the wetlands at Heather Farm on Horsell Common. Such a glorious sight! I wanted to use the photos I took yesterday to try to convey a sense of the movement as this kite swept in a lazy arc across the wetlands. Rising and falling on unseen thermals the kites can suddenly shrink from your vision as they’re carried ever higher. Of course their vision extends far beyond our own! As the kite soars out of sight it’s probably already got its’ eyes on something a mile or more away. Have a great week everyone!
Into The Woods
Happy Autumn everyone! This image was taken on the edges of Horsell Common, in the woodland next to the wheelchair accessible pathway. How I wish more of the countryside had better access and provision for wheelchair users and those with restricted mobility! The access that has been put in around several areas of the Common shows that it is possible to do, without having any negative impacts on the landscape, wildlife or natural feel of the environment. Our beautiful countryside really should be open and available to all! I would have loved to go traipsing off through the burnished bracken into the birches with the ghostly trunks and golden canopy but I am a realist! Some things cannot be made possible, but I thank The Horsell Common Preservation Society and Woking Borough for enabling me to access this scene, allowing my mind to wander where my legs no longer can.
ShareMondays2018 – Ghosts And Echoes
Ghosts: A colourised, black and white image of seed-pods ghosting among the grasses at Heather Farm Wetlands Centre. I loved the way they moved in the breeze, seemingly detached from the rest of the plant. The scene called to my memories of black and white film photography and experimenting in the darkroom. As I looked through the lens I could see high key, stained and etched, showing the pods off like fireworks or bursting stars. Really happy with the end result!
Echoes: One of the things that I loved doing in the darkroom was multiple exposures, either from one negative, or several, to create my art. Echoes was created from three exposures, one with more contrast and two slightly offset exposures that shifted the focal point of the subjects. This image is a homage to the way I used to work in film, now created using digital processing. Digital doesn’t dilute the origins of creative photography, it has provided me a way to recreate darkroom processes as well as opening up so many more ways to be creative with post processing in colour as well as black and white.
Ghosts and Echoes are a memory of the past, a celebration of the present and excitement for the future of the photographic process.
There were so many small copper and common blue butterflies still on the wing last week at Heather Farm Wetlands Centre, a part of Horsell Common. They’re not hard to find either, you just have to look around the clumps of this yellow flowering plant, called common fleabane. It’s been practically blooming butterflies throughout the season! Can’t resist putting this in for this week’s WexMondays challenge. Lovely to be out chasing so many butterflies in the middle of September!