Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Unusual trees at Hayley Wood

Black and white image of entwined trees at the Wildlife Trust Hayley Wood Nature Reserve

One of the many important woodland sites managed by the Wildlife Trust in this part of the country, is the always interesting Hayley Wood. I took a trip over there recently, with my camera in tow, to get a few shots of the interesting trees that it contains.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Here be dragon(flies) and a damselfly

Macro image of a female common darter dragonfly taken at Ouse Fens

Following on from my recent, and relatively unsuccessful trip to get some images of dragonflies, I decided to give it another go, but at a different location. And thankfully it worked out a lot better. 

These little beauties were a lot more cooperative, and sat still for minutes at a time in some cases. Which meant I wasn’t left to ineptly flounder about, in a bumbling clownish manner, in an effort to track them on the wing. I could take my sweet time about it, within reason of course.

As an added bonus, there were a few different species about as well, so I could get a bit of variety in the shots. I still can’t decide if dragonflies up close are the stuff of nightmares, or incredibly beautiful, but whatever they may or may not be, they are certainly an interesting subject to photograph, and I was there for a good couple of hours or so, snapping away. 

So I give you a small selection of dragonflies, and a beautiful little damselfly to finish off with, and that is all I can give you.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Beautiful blue butterflies

Macro image of a vibrant common blue butterfly on a thistle leaf

In my recent excursions to photograph the insects that are about and about in abundance this time of year, I have had an eye out for blue butterflies, but I’ve not actually come across any, and the more I didn’t see any, the more I’ve been hankering to discover some.

The common blue would be the species I’d most likely find, as it is the most widespread of the blue butterflies in Britain, and as the name suggests, it is one of the most common butterflies in Europe. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Insects and abstracts at Ouse Fen

Macro image of a soldier beetle looking over the edge of a leaf

In my continuing quest to photograph some of life’s smaller participants, namely the multitudinous variety of insects that are scampering and buzzing about this time of year, I took another trip to Ouse Fen Nature Reserve, predominantly in the hope of encountering some dragonflies.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you will no doubt recognise the name Ouse Fen, as I have been on several visits, for both the wildlife and the landscape. All of which can be found here, here, here and here

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Barnack Hills & Holes butterflies & flowers

Barnack Hills & Holes Nature Reserve image of a marbled white

Continuing on with my exploration of small British wildlife, I decided to pay a visit to Barnack Hills & Holes Nature Reserve to see what diminutive creatures I could find, and because it was supposed to have quite the display of wild flowers this time of year.

Formed from the rubble of a medieval quarry, the reserve is one of Britain’s most important wildlife sites. Encapsulating the phrase, small but perfectly formed, the site covers just 50 acres, but its meadowland is designated a Special Area of Conservation, a National Nature Reserve, a Nature Conservation Review site and last but by no means least, a Special Area of Conservation. Partly due to the fact that the orchid rich grassland is very rare, and makes up over half of this type of habitat in Cambridgeshire.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Holme Fen Butterflies

Sun dappled woodland path at Holme Fen Nature Reserve

Last weekend I paid a visit to one of my favourite places, namely Holme Fen Nature Reserve. This beautiful woodland oozes atmosphere, and is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year, mainly thanks to its dense forest of silver birches, which have to be one of the most charismatic of all the UK trees.

I won't go into the history of the Holme Fen, as fascinating as it is, and although there are a smattering of pictures in this post of the woodland, I have taken plenty more through the various seasons, all of which can be found here, here, here & here.

No, I was off to get some images of the summer wildlife that abounds in this Natural England run nature reserve, in particular, the various butterflies that call this place home while they are on the wing.

There were thousands of these colourful little flappers galavanting about the place, twirling around each other and flitting hither and thither above my head, and sometimes on it, if I was standing particularly still, trying to get a picture.

Below are a selection of images taken that day, when the butterflies were at rest, or sipping nectar, predominantly from the blossom of blackberry bushes, of which Holme Fen boasts an impressive number.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Fen Drayton nature reserve

The River Great Ouse at Fen Drayton nature reserve with beautiful reflections

Over the weekend I took a trip to Fen Drayton, to visit the RSPB run nature reserve that can be found there. I was still on a hunt for wildlife and I thought I might find some suitable natural nuggets within its environs.

There wasn’t as much birdlife as I thought there might be, but I made up for it with some shots along the River Great Ouse, which runs through the reserve, and from rummaging through the undergrowth on the hunt for smaller quarry.

The reserve, a 108-hectare area comprised of several lakes formed from exhausted sand and gravel pits, is home to around 190 bird species, many of whom must have been in hiding when I visited. In times of heavy rain and river flooding, the entire reserve goes under water, including car parks and most rights of way.

It is planned that the reserve will become part of a much larger wetland area along the River Great Ouse, linking to the Hanson-RSPB Wetland Project at Ouse Fen, which should become Britain's largest reedbed within the next 30 years. In fact it was at Ouse Fen that the images from my last two blog posts were taken. Here and here.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Birdlife at Ouse Fen

Black-headed gull flies in front of stormy clouds at Ouse Fen RSPB

Following on from my last blog post where I expressed my disgruntlement at not being able to photograph the myriad birdlife at Ouse Fen RSPB nature reserve. Mainly thanks to the lack of telescopic prowess of my lenses, and where, to my shame, I told the birds to go shove it, for which I wholeheartedly apologise, I decided to give it another go.

My lenses had not suddenly acquired new found abilities you understand, but I was ready to do something I have always tried to shy away from if at all possible. I was prepared to crop my pictures, and boy did I have to crop them. I've always been of the mind that if the composition cannot be found while actually taking the photo, then to leave it be.

But needs as must, and I snapped away with blithesome abandonment, ready to hack away at the images when back in front of my computer, which is exactly what I did. So below are a selection of pictures from that reckless afternoon with the birds, along with a brief description of each one appropriated from the RSPB.