I’ve been watching a pair of great spotted woodpeckers at their nest site by the canal. They’ve been returning to the same site for many years now! The chicks are constantly calling for food, both parents busy collecting grubs in the tree canopy. They’re nervous and watchful parents with so many magpies and crows in the same area. I usually set myself up hidden behind an adjacent tree. They are still wary of me so I try not to linger too long. I wouldn’t want to be the cause of a failed nest! I captured this image of the female returning to the oak, perched on her favoured lookout branch, before delivering the meal to the noisy chicks. I’m hoping to see them soon when they start coming to the nest entrance to take the food from their parents! Fellow blogger, Spugwash, has already seen his brood popping their tufted heads up and eventually fledging from the nest. Do check out his great images, he’s a wonderful wildlife photographer! So this is my entry for Wex Mondays this week and who knows, perhaps I will have more of them for you next Monday.
I couldn’t resist creating this composite from the images I captured of a female Holly Blue butterfly, opening up her wings in the warm sunshine! The rich, golden stone of The Cotswolds really set off the intense colour of the upperside wings. I am including a gallery of the individual images and a haiku based poem inspired by the joy of finding a blue with her wings open!
Little holly blue My eyes long to view those bright Sky-hued upper wings
My heart sings with joy When the sunny skies bring out Your very best side
A sapphire jewel Sat upon the Cotswold wall A golden setting
I love watching wildlife along the Basingstoke Canal near where I live. Last week I had a delightful encounter with one of the grey wagtails that live alongside the canal. It’s the perfect habitat for them and they thrive here! I always see them on my short outings but this time I was able to get much closer than usual, getting to watch my little friend preening his feathers and singing joyfully. They’re fabulous little birds, full of character with such pretty plumage. The experience brought me so much joy, I decided that he would be the star of my entry for this week’s Wex Mondays challenge!
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.
After so many warm weeks in the UK, winter has returned it would seem! I have seen some great images of snow in Scotland today and we are expecting a frost tonight in the South. With the change in temperature this image of a snowy owl, from the Cotswold Wildlife Park, seemed appropriate for Wex Mondays! I visited the park on Saturday on my way up to Bourton-on-the-Water. Wonderful place even if I did get totally lost trying to navigate around the exhibits in the walled garden! I never did find the meerkats, which is a good excuse to go back again 😉
This young swan still has a few of his adolescent plumage left and was making a real splash, preening in the River Wey, as the new adult feathers come through. What a joy to watch him! I loved this pose he struck and decided that he should be my star for Wex Mondays this week.
These last few weeks of warm, sunny weather have brought out many of our native butterflies and they have been delightful! The Holly Blue is the first of the British blues to emerge from overwintering pupae in the Spring generation. They stay high in the trees most of the time and you have the best chance of seeing them near holly trees, where this generation will lay their eggs. The late Summer generation, hatched from these larvae will, in turn, lay their eggs on the ivy to complete this wonderful cycle! I finally managed to get close to one as it sunned itself, lower down on brambles, at Dapdune Wharf on the Wey Navigation in Guildford. It refused to open those beautiful, little wings but you can still see the silvery-blue of the undersides.