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Fast Food Delivery

Greater Spotted Woodpecker with food for young

Fast Food Delivery

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.

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Blue Monday: Opening Up

Holly Blue composite

Blue Monday: Opening Up

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!

Holly Blue

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

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Keeping Up Appearances

Grey Wagtail

Keeping Up Appearances

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!

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Chasing Dreams

Male and female brimstone butterflies in a mating dance

Chasing Dreams

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.

Male and female brimstone butterflies in a mating dance

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Winter Is Coming

Snowy Owl

Winter Is Coming

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 😉

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Making A Splash

Making A Splash

Making A Splash

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.

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Blue Monday: Holly Blues In Spring

Holly Blue Butterfly

Blue Monday: Holly Blues In Spring

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.

Holly Blue Butterfly

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Blue Monday: Lapwing Dance

Lapwing Squadron

Blue Monday: Lapwing Dance

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!

Lapwings