More Bluebells

Along with the Bluebells that were adorned with Bumblebees, there were also many others just showing off their glory on their own. Without a wide angle lens I couldn’t get the full carpet effect, but I enjoyed getting some shots of individuals with the carpet soft-focused behind, as well as some against the greenery. Lovely 🙂26681225352_5373939f53_o26681247322_fdf462ce2f_o26681356842_91d4113dc5_o26707870271_e49f0ae5d2_o

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Bee-eautiful Bluebells

And there were bees! Again my walk on Monday was very fruitful for there were bumbles about. And even better, bumbles on bluebells! 🙂

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Lurking with intent

On Monday afternoon (a bank holiday here in the UK) I ventured out while the sun was shining for a nice walk. That was when I spotted yesterday’s damsel. Whilst dragons and damsels look beautiful and elegant when they’re all grown up, they start life in the pond as larvae and I’ve discovered this year that if I look carefully I can find Dragonfly larvae lurking and hunting! What a discovery! 🙂

So every time I’m at the pond now I look closely for what appears to be small areas of sediment that suddenly sprout legs and scuttle across the bottom of the pond, with their eyes on the many tadpoles. Up to now, in any photos I’ve taken, it’s been near impossible to distinguish the larva from the sediment. But on Monday I was nosing round the edges of the pond and spotted a soggy area where there was a lot of grass and weed in the pond margin, and tadpoles were gathered. I thought to myself ‘I wonder if there are dragons lurking’ and sure enough, there were! Hurrah!

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Imagine my delight …

…when I spotted this tiny beauty yesterday afternoon!

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You may not be able to tell from that shot quite how small this little damsel was, but luckily it decided my finger was a nice spot and you can get a sense of scale.

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I could hardly believe my luck as I felt it was too soon and too cold for any Damselflies or Dragonflies to be emerging yet. But there it was fluttering by in that distinctive way and I was delighted to manage to get some photos to prove I’d seen it 🙂

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For your information this is a Large Red Damselfly, though I dispute the use of the word ‘large’!

Butterflies are back

Hurrah for butterflies! I did spot one fluttering past me on a warm day a few weeks back but since then nothing until last weekend when I spotted this Small Tortoiseshell in the garden:

In case you are wondering, he’s decided to land on the remains of an old bonfire, giving a rather unusual backdrop.

This weekend I spotted 2 Peacock butterflies. A rather tatty looking one and one that was a bit better dressed.

Looking forward to many more butterflies to come 🙂

Latest Arrivals

The spring flowers are making their appearance in their allotted slots. Some people ask me if I get bored taking shots of the same things in the same places, but I don’t! I love the thrill of springtime, watching and waiting for the flowers to show up when its their turn, and waiting for the trees to green up and the insects to return. I love it. We’ve already had Celandines and Greater Stitchwort, and now we have some new arrivals to join them along the hedgerows.

I was looking out for Violets yesterday on my walk as they’re usually one of the next flowers to see after Greater Stitchworts have arrived. At first I thought maybe it was too soon, but there they were tucked away in the grass, such sweet little things 🙂

I was also surprised by my first Cuckoo Flower, although I thought it was definitely too soon for them! Just the one as far as I could see. Soon there will be loads, especially at the edge of the wet meadow down the road. I have planted some in my garden too (bought from Naturescape as well as several other wildflowers) so I’m hoping mine will grow and flower as well.

Another new arrival is Garlic Mustard:

Next things to look out for are more Cuckoo Flowers, as well as Buttercups, Welsh Poppies, Vetch, Columbine, Ground Ivy, Clover, Forget-me-nots, Wood Sorrel, Yellow Pimpernels, Red Campion and Herb Robert… and probably some more I’ve forgotten for now. It’s an exciting time of year 🙂

 

Budburst

As spring really takes off there are buds bursting all over the place and it’s fabulous!

Last week the leaves on the Rowan (Mountain Ash) in my garden were bursting out:

Today I spotted the first of the buds to burst on the Beech tree in the front. Most of the tree is just buds, but this one branch has burst so soon it will all be green 🙂

Lower down the tree there were a few more bursting buds that I could get closer to. I love how hairy they are!

Elsewhere in the village, I also spotted that there are lots of Sycamore leaves emerging:

And looking up into the old Oak tree on the corner I saw new leaves there too:

It’s all looking so fresh and green out there 🙂 I love spring!

Where’s the focus?

Abstract is not really my style but the weekly photo challenge this week challenged me to think about it. Usually focus is very important to me – making sure that I’m crisply focused on the appropriate thing. Going for a more abstract look made me think about focusing differently.

For example in this shot I am deliberately focusing on the reflection of the grass in my pond rather than at the pond skaters on the surface or the newts beneath. I’m not sure if this really counts as abstract, but it’s certainly different!

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What I would consider to be a more interesting view in a pond might be a Diving Beetle larva (this was in the village pond, not mine):

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Perhaps this one counts as abstract too as you can’t really see what I was looking at, and it’s just a mass of leaves and branches. It could be an abstract representation of spring and the wonder of so many fresh new leaves.

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The keen eyed amongst you may have spotted what I was actually looking at – there’s a bird in the midst of it. It was a bird I’d not spotted before and when I looked it up when I got home it turns out that it’s a female Blackcap. The male was there too, but I didn’t manage any decent shots of him.

So you don’t strain your eyes, here’s a cropped version so you can see Mrs Blackcap:

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Inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Abstract

Dandelion Life

I love Dandelions, especially at this time of year! When there are not a lot of flowers about the Dandelions pop up all over the place providing a great source of food for insects. They brighten up the place too. Not to mention the enduring attraction of photographing Dandelion clocks.

Yesterday I kept nipping out into the garden to see what I could see and the Dandelions were the centre of the action.I love this photo of a Honeybee on a Dandelion 🙂

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Here’s another Honeybee – this one has already been very busy and has full pollen sacks:

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Also enjoying the Dandelions were various hoverflies:

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Spring Blooms

These are some of the newest spring blooms to appear around the village at the moment.

Greater Stitchworts have been popping up since the end of March, but they’re now at their finest, with lots of little white star-like flowers coming up and taking the mantle from the Celandines. I’m rather pleased with how this photo looks 🙂

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The Blackthorn is flowering beautifully now. Again, there were a few flowers at the end of March but now the hedgerows are full of them and the Blackthorn leaves are starting to appear.

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In the trees the Elms are flowering. Within these un-petalled flowers, beneath the dangly stamens (male parts) are the female parts of the flower (the pink fluffy bits). As time goes on and the flowers get pollinated (by the wind), the female parts develop into seed cases develop and it looks like clusters of green flowers. The first photo is from yesterday. The 2nd photo is from May last year so you can see how the seed cases look later on.

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Near the pond I spotted the first of the Cowslips appearing. They are hard to photograph and I’m never really satisfied with a Cowslip photo. However, I’ll let you see it so you can see what flowers are blooming at the moment.

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You’ve already seen the Flowering Currant, but now is the time when it’s at its full glory and the Forsythia is making a beautiful backdrop, so here it is again 🙂

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The Bluebells in the wood are getting going now. Not quite at blue carpet stage but in some areas there are many flowers now emerging. I’m becoming better at telling the difference between native and non-native Bluebells now I think. This first one I’m pretty sure is native, as are pretty much all of them in the woods. However, the 2nd picture is one of the many non-native or hybrid Bluebells that are growing in the hedgerows (and in my garden). As you can see they are quite different.

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There are some flower buds on the Hawthorn which is now sprouting lots of fresh green leaves.

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Willows are now sporting new leaves as well as catkins.

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And here’s a plant I first discovered in 2014 – Fringecups. Later on the flower buds will open with frilly yellow or pink edges around green cups. Not the most beautiful of flowers but very interesting.

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And finally, the Columbines are showing lots of flower buds on their way now so I’m looking forward to them putting on a show pretty soon.

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Wayside Flowers

Wayside Flowers

Pluck not the wayside flower,
It is the traveller’s dower;
A thousand passers-by
Its beauties may espy,
May win a touch of blessing
From Nature’s mild caressing.

The sad of heart perceives
A violet under leaves
Like sonic fresh-budding hope;
The primrose on the slope
A spot of sunshine dwells,
And cheerful message tells
Of kind renewing power;
The nodding bluebell’s dye
Is drawn from happy sky.

Then spare the wayside flower!
It is the traveller’s dower.

by William Allingham

Inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Half-Light

Small and Coppery

Here’s a pretty little Small Copper butterfly that I spotted a couple of days ago on a little walk to the village pond. They’re very dainty little things 🙂 I took some photos while he busily investigated every inch of this flower… he was having a good day with plenty of sunshine and flowers, and I was having a good day getting the chance to watch him and many other insects enjoying themselves 🙂

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These weren’t taken today, but today is rainy, so this is better 🙂

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Today Was a Good Day.”