The Shard is such an iconic view on the London skyline that it becomes difficult to find a new way to capture the scene. Sometimes being in the wheelchair actually works to my advantage, allowing me to gain a different perspective on my surroundings, and I couldn’t resist the angles of the bridge and stairs that framed the building. It had been a dull grey day but London becomes a colourful city when the lights come on, whatever the weather!
This is my entry for the Fotospeed challenge this week. I was really thrilled to count eleven holly blue butterflies along a short stretch of the Thames, near Sunbury Lock, for this year’s Big Butterfly Count. It’s a perfect habitat for them with plenty of their larval food plants; holly, ivy and hawthorn. This is the second generation of hollies in flight this year, females will be looking to lay their eggs next to the emerging flower buds on ivy. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a third generation in flight this year!
This is my third image from my encounter with this dear little blackcap. After feeding and cleaning it’s beak, it hopped up into the branches of the shrubs, in the the riverside hedgerow, to preen. Some of those feathers are still quite downy and the gape (oral flanges) in the corners of the beak are clear to see. I have no idea exactly how old this fledgeling is but it certainly seems to be fending for itself well! The brambles were providing a feast for bees, butterflies and birds. My mum might just have sneaked a few ripe berries for herself too!
I’m sharing this second image of the juvenile blackcap, that I encountered yesterday, for today’s Fotospeed challenge. I haven’t had to crop these images much at all. I was so close to my subject I could hardly believe it! The blackcap was very aware of me and the numerous passers-by on the Thames Path, but was completely unfazed, gorging itself of the bountiful berries before hopping further up into the brambles to clean it’s blackberry-stained beak. I loved the way the light caught it’s face as it turned and stared straight down my lens!
Last week brought so many fantastic photography opportunities, but the ones that I most want to share in this weeks Monday photo-challenges are among the last few images that I captured yesterday in the late afternoon. I was with my parents at The Weir in Walton, on the banks of the Thames, near Sunbury Lock. There was an abundance of wildlife in the brambles and trees along the river path. I almost missed this juvenile blackcap picking blackberries. It’s often the song that first alerts me to the presence of a bird but this little one was being very quiet. It’s efforts to pick the blackberries where rather clumsy though and the sight of a shaking bramble bush gave the game away! I took a closer look and a shaft of sunlight caught upon this cheeky little face. I was pretty sure the youngster was a blackcap having seen an adult male in the vicinity earlier on. It’s perfect habitat for them as they feed on both berries and insects! I’m sharing this first image for Wex Mondays. More to follow!