Winter colour

The frost was not so pretty today and the light was not the best so I looked for other things to photograph. I was drawn to some splashes of colour in the garden on the trees. One tree is covered in lichen – some of it a surprisingly bright green – and another tree (sadly deceased) is sporting a couple of different types of bracket fungi – one bright orange and the other a little more subtle. It’s surprising what colours you can find if you look, even though there are very few flowers around.





Weekly Photo Challenge: Twinkle

I took some close-ups of my Christmas tree just after it went up, and if you’re a regular reader, you’ll know I posted them here on the blog. However, that wasn’tย all of them. I only included photos where something in the photo was actually in focus! There were othersย where it was all about the twinkle and not about focusing at all. Usually out of focus photos go in the bin, but these ones are keepers I think, with all the pretty bokeh and bright colours.




In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Twinkle.”

Autumn Glory

I looked out of the window yesterday and the tree was lit up in sunshine, looking glorious with all its autumn colour … so of course I had to nip out and get some photos ๐Ÿ™‚


IMG_8553-Edit IMG_8562-Edit


Mist and fog patches, and occasional drizzle

The weather continues very autumnally (is that a word!?). The trees are changing colour swiftly and it is very mixed weather with lots of dampness and not a lot of sun lately. I was pottering around the garden the other day and spotted this pair of leaves – I love how the little one looks like a heart ๐Ÿ™‚


And this is a quick iPhone photo I took from my bedroom window showing you the reason for all the leaves on the grass. We have a Tulip Tree on the left and a Beech tree on the right. It’s lovely to have this view to greet me in the morning. Further afield across the village I can also see the hillside changing colour and trees all around in other gardens and field edges changing too.


I have another day off today (it’s half-term) and maybe if the weather forecast is true I may venture out later – “However, through the day there should be some bright spells”…

Autumn Bounty

Autumn is firmly here, despite a few warm days. Mornings start cold and misty, and today there was a touch of frost. The trees are changing colour. Currently the Beech is turning yellow and later in the year it will turn to brown.

Along the wall by the church, the cotoneaster is covered in berries and the tiny ferns are loaded with spores:

In the hedgerow the Honeysuckle has mostly turned to berries, with an occasional flower remaining.

The Blackthorn sloes are big and fat, with their usual blue-ish ‘blush’:

The Dog Rose hips are fat and bright in the hedges:

I couldn’t find so many hazelnuts, so either they’ve been eaten or I just didn’t look hard enough.

The big Oak tree has definitely decided it’s autumn – the leaves are falling and there are a fair few acorns on the ground:

Another thing I spotted was several of the Hazels have started growing little catkins. I guess these are the ones I will see all opened up and dangly in the spring.

Spring is bursting out all over!

I don’t seem to have done a proper nature diary post for a while, so this one is probably going to be quite long. You might want to go and get a cup of tea (or other hot beverage) and get comfortable…

Firstly the Beech tree in the garden has gone from budburst through to be pretty much fully in leaf. (Excuse the quality of pics 2 and 3 – they were snapped on my iPhone)

First Beech leaves freshly opened
This is how it looked on Monday - kind of half done
This is how it looked on Monday – kind of half done
And this is how it looks today :)
And this is how it looks today ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s amazing how much it changed in less than a week. I am very fond of this tree and so are the birds – we have all our bird feeders in this tree and it has many visitors.

Some big news from the garden today is that we have a frog in residence in our pond! We are delighted!! ๐Ÿ™‚ We were putting an aquatic plant I bought in the pond, my daughter was adding a few new pebbles, and I was topping it up with more rain water, when suddenly he(she) appeared as if to say hello! I caught this quick snap on my phone as it happened to be in my pocket at the time. We also now have 5 Pondskaters (up from just the one at the start) and several beetles. We’re really pleased with how it’s going so far.

A resident frog!
A resident frog, just popping up to say hello

A little walk round the village today has shown that the time of the Blackthorn is now past, and Hawthorn is in the process of taking over. Some of the Hawthorn buds are not yet open but they are fat and ready, while most of the Blackthorn flowers are faded and over, with the leaves now growing larger.

Remains of Blackthorn flowers, now passing the baton to the Hawthorn
Remains of Blackthorn flowers, now passing the baton to the Hawthorn
Hawthorn flower buds looking ready to burst soon
Hawthorn flower buds looking ready to burst soon
And some of the Hawthorn flowers are already out and looking pretty
And some of the Hawthorn flowers are already out and looking pretty

Next big news in the flower world is the new arrival of … drum roll please … the Buttercup! This is one of the first ones spotted by me this year:

Buttercup close-up
Buttercup close-up

I also spotted my first fully open Aquilegia. These are also called Columbines, but when I was a child we always called them Granny Bonnets and I like that name for them ๐Ÿ™‚

Granny Bonnet
Granny Bonnet

There are many Dock Leaf Beetles about now, and they are still feeling a bit of the spring fever as mentioned in a previous post featuring many beetle varieties. They seem to have reached the next stage now as I have spotted some of these eggs on the Dock which I believe are theirs. The Dock is also starting to flower now.

Dock Leaf Beetle eggs (I presume)
Dock Leaf Beetle eggs (I presume)
Dock flowers
Dock flowers

There are a few other flowers coming out now too:

Red Clover flower
Red Clover flower
Ragwort? or something similar
Apple blossom
Apple blossom

I have some other photos to share but I’ll save them for another post as they deserve to be specially featured! ๐Ÿ™‚

This post is my contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

Bluebell Blanket

I’m not going to waffle on because it’s late, and the photos speak for themselves. I had a walk at lunchtime in the woods near where I work, and it was beautiful – the Bluebells blanketed the ground and the smell and sight was spectacular. Hope it comes across in the photos ๐Ÿ™‚









A Little Tour

Yesterday, before I got distracted by peering into the pond, we had a little walk around the village again. I thought that for a change I would take my 18-55mm lens with me so I could show you a bit more about where I go for my walks.

This is the wet meadow that I’ve mentioned, where the Cuckooflowers grow. It has a lot of Celandines in it too at the moment. Later on there will be buttercups too. Sometimes there are sheep or cows in this field and when it has been raining alot the whole area in the foreground gets very marshy.

Wet Meadow

Just to the right of the first picture are these trees – Horse Chestnuts on the left, and the newly-identified Ash on the right:

Horse Chestnuts & Ash trees

Continuing along this road takes you to the woods I walk in sometimes, and the village pond. No wider angle pictures of those today, but I will try and remember to take this lens out with me next time and get some soon. You can also see the hedge along the right side of the road here – it goes nearly all the way round 3 sides of a field which is in this next picture. The hedgerow is where I see a lot of the flowers and insects I photograph.

Field in the middle of the village

The hedge turns to fence here for a bit, which makes it easier to see over into the field for this photo! On the right of here is the village church which has all sorts of little plants growing in the wall that goes round it. The big hill on the right is where I went walking a few weeks back and ended up going on a very long walk.

Down past the church is a field with these pretty blossom trees in it. I’m peering over the wall to take this photo, in just about the same position where I saw the first snowdrops this year.

Blossom Trees

Today it’s raining and not really the weather for going out for a nice walk, but it’s good for the pond so I’m not really complaining ๐Ÿ™‚

A Mammoth Tale (from a walk in the sunshine)

We had a lovely walk in the sunshine today – it was a really lovely day ๐Ÿ™‚ I found lots of new flowers and some new insects too!

The new insects I spotted were these 24-spot ladybirds (the first pair are presumably mating). I couldn’t manage very good shots – a bit blurry – but they’re bearable:



The first of the new flowers was a pretty little Vetch in the hedgerow:


Then another little bee – same as the one I saw a couple of weeks back, I think, and again stumbling around pollen-covered in a dandelion!


There were quite a few Bumbles around too, but most were flitting around to quickly to photograph. This one was a little more helpful:


I was pleased to see that the village Bluebells are coming along nicely, not too far behind the ones in the woods near work:





There is big splash of violet across the hedgerow bottoms now, with many little violets joining that lonely one that I spotted a few weeks back. I’m pleased with this shot I got this time:


There are many flower buds on the Columbines in the hedgerow so hopefully not too long until the flowers come:



The Oak trees here are bursting out now like the ones near work:



I saw a more ‘normal’ Ladybird, as well as the 24-spots – this one is the regular 7-spot:


A new flower in the hedgerow now is the Garlic Mustard:



And another new arrival – the Red Campion:


I’ve been looking out for Wood Anemones for a while, and today they are finally here! Hurrah! Here’s some of them:



I spotted this nearly hidden at the bottom of hedge – I think it’s a Red Dead-Nettle or a relation:


Through the woods on the way back there wasn’t a lot to see. The Bluebells aren’t out yet. So it was just the Wood Anemones and the unfurling ferns. I do love the ferns though ๐Ÿ™‚



I spotted a couple of beetles while we were out. One is (I think) a Cereal-leaf Beetle, but the other, I’m not sure:



I was surprised to see tadpoles in the village pond. I’d been looking out for frogspawn and hadn’t seen any, but I must have missed it as there are a fair few tiny tadpoles in there now. There are also tonnes of tiny baby Water Boatmen, as well as Pond Skaters and crazy Whirlygig Beetles.

Another new flower spotted today was some Cowslips near the pond:


The flowers are all coming on the Horse Chestnut now – looks like they’ll be open soon:


One of my favourite village flowers is now starting to appear – the Cuckooflowers. The field down the road is pretty damp and turns in to a bit of a marsh when there’s a lot of rain, and this seems to be the perfect habitat for them:




The Hawthorn will soon be flowering – it has many little flower buds now:


And finally, a little update on the Fringecups which are really living up to their name now!