I will be updating my Website from time to time with new picture, so please keep an eye on what I have been photographing recently.

 

 


Pollen being shed from Hazel catkins. January 2017. 

Below some of this years pictures of Bedfordshire's wild Wasps and Bees. 

Below a male Bee-wolf wasp resting, above a female flying.

 

 

Above a female, and below a male Bee-wolf Wasp looking on of their burrows. 

 

Below is the Ornate Tailed Digger wasp Cerceris rybyensis attacking a bee it has caught. It stings the prey to paralyse it before taking it back to its burrow as food for its own larva.

 

 

Above and below, the Ivy Bee has been common on many Ivy flowers during September and October. This species Colletes hedera was first recorded in Bedfordshire in 2014, and is new common on Ivy flowers in the county. 

  

Below the Pantaloo Bee sunning its-self on a rock.and digging its burrow.

 

 

 

 

Below a Honey Bee about to land on Ivy flowers. Note the pollen sacks on its leg.

  

Below Honey Bee visiting Buddleia flowers for pollen. 

 

Anyone wanting a copy of the 'Wild Orchids of Bedfordshire' book should order one soon as stocks are running low. A copy can be ordered from the Bedfordshire Natural History Society website (BNHS) where there is a book review by Peter Marren that appeared in British Wildlife magazine.

 

 

 

Below is a Marsh Fragrant orchid and 3 probable hybrids with the Chalk Fragrant orchids that grow on the chalk downs nearby. Unfortunatly these are not in the book as they did not flower during the survey years.

 

 

 Above var. emarginata and below var angustioba. Both these rare forms grow in a small colony of around 300 flowering plants.

  

 Also on the same reserve is a Common Spotted orchid var. rhodochila (below).

 

At the end of August and early September I made two trip to Summer Leys NR Northamptonshire and took some shots of the Migrant Hawker dragonflies flying and hovering. The one below I used a slow shutter speed (1/125th) to get blurred wings, the others were taken @ 1/1600th. Canon 7D Mk11 camera and new Canon 100 - 400 zoom lens @ 400 mm, @ 10 fps.

 

 

 

 

 

Above a male Silver-washed Fritillary on Bramble in Chicksands Wood, Beds.

 

Above a female Silver-washed Fritillary butterfly egg laying on a Ash tree. Below a Red Admiral on Bramble. Both pictures taken in Chicksands Wood. 20.7.2016.

 

Below some road verge Pyrimidal Orchids.

 

One of the big botanical finds in Bedfordshire this year is two new Marsh Fragrant Orchids flowering on the north facing slopes of the Chiltern Hills. This one (below) is on the Barton Hills NNR and is a huge plant (66.5 cm high) compared with the normal sized Chalk Fragrant's nearby.

 

Below a fresh Dark Green Fritillary butterfly rests on a Fragrant Orchid in the Barton Hills NNR, Beds.

 

While driving to a location to meet a friend, I saw this splendid display of Pyramidal Orchids flowering on a road verge near Barton-le-Clay, Bedfordshire.

 


While checking several local places for orchid species and numbers, I found the below two aberrant forms of the Common Spotted Orchid. The white form lacks anthocyanin pigmentation, while the red-purple form is hyperchromic, having excess anthocyanin.

 

The above is var. albiflora, this is not uncommon and found in most large colonies. Below is var. rhodochila which is quite rare. Bedfordshire June 2016.

 

                                     ---------------------------------

 Below are several pictures of the Fly Orchid, these pictures show several variants that I have photographed of this orchid.

 

 Typical Fly orchid above, and one with a wide lip below, var subbombifera.

 

 

 The above Fly Orchid lacks anthocyanin pigments Var. ochroleuca and is rare. Below is the rare hybrid between the Fly and Bee Orchid.

 

 

 

Above some Common Spotted Orchids on the Whipsnade Downs, including a white one var albaflora. Below a much rarer form, var rhodachila that is found in several places in Bedfordshire.

 

Below a Common Spotted Orchid with dagger shaped lips. 

 

 

Above Bee Orchid var. belgarum which occurs in several places in the county. Below the 'Wasp' form of the Bee Orchid which was not found during the orchid survey. This one was found in 2008.

 

Below is the only 'white' form of the Bee Orchid known in the county.

 

                                       --------------------------------------------- 

 

In Maulden Wood we have the county's only colonies of Wood Ants. These insects are very active, but can produce good pictures as they interact with each other, and bring food back to their colony. 

 

 

 

July and August has mostly been spent on the Wild Orchids of Bedfordshire project, but a few trips were made to visit my favourite butterfly locations. A few of my favourite pictures are below.

 

Above Common Blues mating, and below a male Brimstone flying to flowers.

 

 

Below a variant of the Pyramidal Orchids I found this year.

 

Below a Bee Orchid form found in Bedfordshire during 2014.

 

 

                                                June and July 2014.

 The Silver-washed Fritillary butterfly is coming out in good numbers in one of my local woods.

 

 

 

I have been very busy this year with the 'Wild Orchids of Bedfordshire' survey and book project. A few of the more interesting finds are below.

 

Typical Bee Orchid flowers above, and the white one found on 6th June below. This is var. chlorantha that lacks anthocyanin pigmentation, and is the first record of this form in the county.

 

Below are some Pyramidal Orchids that have had a very good year with over 10,000 flowering in one meadow.

 

Below are is a selection of different variants found.

 

 

Above one of 6 pure white ones found in that meadow, and below one with rounder flowers approaching var. emarginata.

 

 

Above a 6 spot Burnet moth on a Pyramidal Orchid with pollinia stuck to its tongue.

 

                                                   May 2014.

Green-winged Orchids are now in full flower, and I recently photographed this group of three white flowering plants var. alba

A nice plant with pink flowers are rather more common than the white ones. Below is a couple of normal coloured flowering plants.

 

Above are the early leaves of the Pyramidal Orchid in early March.

Below are leaves of the Fly Orchid in late February. The early leaves of each species of wild Orchid growing in Bedfordshire will be included in the 'Wild Orchids of Bedfordshire' book I and working on. Publication due in April 2015.

 

                                                  February 2014.

Last week I made a visit to my favourite Herony, and was pleased to find some nest building activity.

The Mute Swans (below) were also active chasing around the lake.

 

                                                January 2014. 

I have not been out much looking for pictures lately, but I did make one visit to the Norfolk coast, and took some pictures of a Black-tailed Godwit.

 

                                                November 2013.

I have not been out taking many new picture this month, but writing the Wild Orchids of Bedfordshire book text and sorting out the pictures taken during the summer. We have several small colonies of the Green-flowered Helleborine Orchid in the county, and below are pictures of three growing close together and their minute seeds that are about half a millimetre long. See pictures below.

Above three Green-flowered Helleborine Orchids, and below seeds that were being shed from the seed pods during early October.

 

 

                                                October 2013. 

While checking the numbers of Autumn Ladies-tresses that had survived the attention of the Rabbits, one spike that had ripe seedpods also had five new rosettes of leaves. This cluster of plants will have developed from a 'mother' plant that produced additional 'daughter' tubers. Hopefully they will all produce flower spikes next September.

Five new rosettes of Autumn Ladies-tresses Orchids around the base of this years flower spike.

 

                                               September 2013. 

I have been busy doing admin regarding the 'Wild Orchids of Bedfordshire' project during early autumn, sorting pictures taken during the spring and summer, and writing sections of the book that will result in the spring of 2015. Although I have many photos of the orchids, some still remain to be taken next year. The Autumn Ladies-tresses Orchid could not be found in the last week of August, but was showing well on our only site for it in the county, Knocking Hoe NNR on my visit there during the first few days of September. Over 300 flowered there this year, but most were eaten off by Rabbits. Some were caged over to keep the rabbits off,. and those and a few that survived the Rabbit onslought formed seed pods.

Above some caged and other Autumn Ladies-tresses on Knocking Hoe NNR in early September. Below a close up of these Orchids.

Above a new rosettet of leaves growing beside a flower spike in early September 2013. Below two flower spikes that have been 'felled' by rabbits. Although mostly they seem to eat the flowers, sometimes they just 'fell' them as in the picture below.

Above developing Autumn Ladies-tresses seed pods 15th September 2013.

 

                                             August 2013.

A visit to a local wood that contains Wood Ants provided me with a few more shots of this Britain's largest Ant.

Above a Wood Ant in threat mode, and below one Wood Ant feeding another.

Below two Wood Ants with a Wasp.

 

August was a good butterfly month, and below are a few pictures that I took of these insects during the month.

The Clouded Yellow butterfly (above) was frequently seen in Bedfordshire during August, and Peacock butterflies (below) were up in numbers compared to the last few years.

Above a male and female Chalk Hill Blues, and below the rare ab. alba.

 

                                                July 2013.

I had a bird in my garden yesterday 23.7.2013 that I never thought I have, a Quail. It was in my front garden next to the busy London Road. A friend was leaving by the front door when she saw the Quail some 12 feet away, it ran under my campervan and out the other side. I got my camera and 400 mm lens and was able to take some pictures before it flew off.

 

A visit to the Norfolk Broards was a most enjoyable break from my Orchid hunting duties. The weather was dull until about 1.00 pm, then the sun broke through. The pictures taken later in the day with sunshie were nicer than those taken in dull weather, but the courting grebes came out well despite the dull conditions.

A Cormorant flying by had to be photographed as well.

 

Still very busy out taking picture of Beds orchids for the book. Very striking forms of the Common Spotted Orchid has been found, and I took these pictures of three var rhodochila plants all rather different from each other.

                           

                                                June 2013. 

Much of June has been taken up hunting for wild Orchids in Bedfordshire. Many pictures taken but few have been processed, as I have been out again taking pictures while they are still around. I also spent 8 excellent days in the Pyrenees Mountains. Again many pictures taken but little time for processing the pictures. That will come when the season is over.The find of the year in Bedfordshire was finding a Lesser Butterfly orchid in Potton Wood. Ian Woiwod foud one in about the same place as the last Bedfordshire record from 1980. This orchid has disappeared from all the adjoining counties, so a very welcome discovery.

Although common in Northern and Western Britain it has disappeared from most places in eastern and centeral England.

 

                                                   May 2013.

May has been mostly taken up orchid searching in Bedfordshire. Together with 80 plus members of the Beds Nat Hist Society we are conducting a wild orchid search of the county. The end product will be a book to be published in the autumn of 2014, "The Wild orchids of Bedfordshire". Much searching of wood, meadows, downs, road verges and other uncultivated places is now taking place by everyone. There has been a good start to the project, with hundreds of records coming in, some from new sites for a species, and others from localities that have not had records of that species for several deccades.

Above Green-winged Orchids in the grounds of Steppingly Hospital. Below Early purple Orchids in Potton Wood. There is a range of different coloured bloomed in this colony.

 

                                                    April 2013. 

A visit to Paxton Pits NR rewarded me with pictures of Magpies fighting over a roadkill Rabbit, and a singing Nightingale.

 

The Pasque Flowers on Therfield Heath, Royston have been exceptional this year.

                                                                              --------------

 

A visit to a favourite lake on Sunday 14th provided me with some new pictures. Nothing rare but an entertaining mornings photography.

Above and below, the Mute Swans were very active which always make good pictures.

A Coot chasing off a Moorhen that came to close! Below a Little Egret flying over.

A Heron flew by so close I could hardly get it in the frame. Below a pair of Mallard ducks that flew over.

                                                                                        -------------

 

April has like March started cold and very un-springlike. The Frogs in my garden ponds have laid some spawn over a very long period starting while I was away in Scotland in March. Today April 11th there is new spawn still being laid, and 50 plus frogs active in the ponds.

Above a frog in my pond 'calling'. Below a Magpie flying from the roof of a neighbours house.

 

                                                      March 2013.

Together with two other photographers I made a trip up to Speyside on Sunday 17th for a short weeks stay, returning a day earlier than planned on Friday 22nd. Travelling back to Bedfordshire on the Friday was a wise decission, as we encountered very little snow en-route. We headed south down the A9 and then onto the A1 south of Edinbugh, and continued along the A1 down the eastern side of England without any snow problems. The western route via the M6 and A66  which we could have taken, was according to the travel reports on the radio having majour problems, with some parts blocked.

There was only a little snow in the Aviemore area while we were there, and as always the wildlife was good, especially the Red Squirrels.

Above is a selection of my Red Squirrel pictures taken on this visit. Below are a few birds the I managed to take.

Snipe above and a Oystercatcher tossing a worm below.

Above a few of the Red Grouse pictures I took during this visit.

                                                                           -----------------

 

A trip to the RSPB reserve at Havergate Island proved to be wet, constant light rain all day. The Brown Hares were still there, but like us not wanting to be very active because of the weather. I took a few shots but it was a rather disappointing day.

 

 

                                                      February 2013.

Back with some bird pictures after a month or so without touching my telephoto. A trip to my favourite Coot and Heron location rewarded me me with some nice action photos.

                                                                                    --------------

 

My efforts to get winter picture of Bedfordshire's wild orchids are for a Book that I am jointly starting with the counties Flora recorder Chris Boon. The book is due to be published in September 2014, giving us 18 months to records of their distribution and get pictures and write the text. Many members of the Beds Nat Hist Society and others will be orchid hunting in various habitats accross the county. So far we have found 5 different species that vegetate during the winter.

Above a rosette of leaves of Autumn Ladies Tresses 5.2.2013. Below a Bee Orchid rosette.

Above leaves of a Man Orchid 8.2.2013. Below a Frog Orchid also 8.2.2013.

 

                                                       January 2013.

So far this year I have not found much worth photographing, my usual garden birds have been around and posing reasonably well, but nothing different coming to the feeders. Fieldfares are now coming down for apples and a few Redwings are feeding on Cononeaster berries.

Above a few shots taken when there was a bit of snow falling.

  

 

A small amout of hoar frost locally, with only a few pictures worth taking. 

                                                                         --------------

 

                                             December 2012.

So far this winter I have not had any unusual birds coming to the feeders in when I have been there with my camera. It is of course nice to see the "regulars" coming for their meals.

Above a Dunnock at fatball feeder, and below one of two very trusting Robins that some times come very close to me as I top up the feeders.

                                          ----------------

 

A scattering of Waxwings have arrived in Bedfordshire in recent weeks, so yesterday Dec 2nd I decided to try for them around the Kempston (Bedford) Industrial estate. Although they disappeared at times for an hour or more, eventually they came back to the Rowan trees. Below are a few shots that I took.

 

                                                                            -------------

 

                                              November 2012.

November has been a rather dull and un-inspiring month for me, and going down with a virus that I still have not managed to completely shake off, did not help. A visit to Welney NR in Norfolk produce only a few worthwhile pictures.

Mallard ducks / drakes always provide a few pictures.

Likewise wintering Black-headed Gulls make good subjects to test the cameras auto focus.

 

Above a Coot charging and a Whooper Swan preening below about the only pictures worth keeping.

                                                                             ----------------

 

Above a herd of Fallow Deer walking across farmland in East Anglia.

                                                                ----------------

 

                                                October 2012.

A visit to a deer park for the rut provided me with some new pictures, although no good fighting pictures.

Above a Red Deer stag, and bekow a hind with Jackdaws.

                                                     ---------------

 

A morning with the BNHS Insect group in Flitwick Moor NR on Thursday 4th proved to be an enjoyable meeting, and a long list of species were found. I have added a few new species to my Photo Library, and a few still need naming. Below are two caterpillars I found, the Early Thorn Selenia dentaria and Grey Dagger Acronicta psi on Silver Birch.

The Var pyramidatus of Spider Araneus Marmoreus, was the most showy spider found that morning.

A number of species of Froghoppers were found, with the below yellow one being the my favourite of the day.

Two identicle looking moths have different looking caterpillars. Above the Dark Dagger, and below the Grey Dagger.

                                                                                       -------------

 

                                                September 2012.

Re-visiting a local lake gave me further oppertunities to get some more action pictures of the Dragonflies flying and egg laying. No rarities just Common Darters and Migrant Hawkers.

Above a Migrant Hawker, and below Common Darter Dragonflies in tandem.

Above a few pictures from a Bedfordshire lake.

                                                                     ------------

 

My local lake has a few Migrant Hawker Dragonflies partroling and one posed nicely for me.

                                                                                 ----------

 

A visit to Thursley Common NNR in Surrey gave me a chance to get new photos of Common Lizards and their young, some 50 were counted along the the broard-walk. Also photographed were Black Darter Dragonflies and a Wasp Spider (below).

    

                                                                                 -----------

                                 

                                                    August 2012. 

I went in search of Red-veined Darter Dragonflies Sympetrum fonscolombii at Greenham Common, Berkshire. The former US base is now common land, and has pleanty of Common Darters egg laying in the shallow pools. No mature Red-veined Darters were seen, but several immature "Blue-eyed Blonds" (below) were eventually found and photographed.

Above immature Red-veined Darters, and below Common Darters in tandem.

Above Greenham Common, Berks. Below Autumn Ladies Tresses orchids were found in several places on the dryer parts of the common.

                                                                  -------------

 

A strong colony of Violet Helleborine Orchids has been found in a small wood in centeral Bedfordshire. It was some six years ago since the last record of this Orchid was reported to Bedfordshires plant recorded. This colony has this year about a hundred flowering plants, including several large clumps.

Above and below two of the clumps of Viloet Helleborines in a small mid Bedfordshire wood.

Above a close up of the Viloet Hellebroine flower, and below a Tree Wasp Dolichovespula sylvestris pollenating the flowers.

                                                                                    ---------------

 

The Brimstone butterfly (below) is in reduced numbers in my part of the country this year. I am attempting to get some in-flight shots of them as they fly around the flowers.

                                                                                    ------------

 

Despite this summers bad weather the Chalkhill Blue butterfly has had a good flight season this year. The Sharpenhoe colony had earlier in the month many hundreds flying, and the much larger Royston (Therfield) Heath colony must have had several thousands flying early in the month. Despite the good numbers individuals with aberrant markings were very scarce. I only saw a handful with reduced spotting, (ab. obsoleta) on the underside, which some years is not uncommon.

Above a male Chalkhill Blue feeding on Knapweed, and below the ab. obsoleta form with most of its underside spotting missing.

                                                                           -------------

 

Hoverflies are common in my garden, with Myothrope florea (above) and a paired couple of Sphaeraphoria scripta (below) being seen there every day.

                                                                                       ----------

 

The Chalkhill Blue butterflies are out in reasonable numbers in their usual locations.

 

The wet summer has resulted in some splindid wild flower displays locally in meadows and on downland.

 

Above a mixture of wild flowers on chalk downland, and below Wild Candytuft again on the chalk downland of the Bedfordshire Chiltern Hills.

                                                                                 -----------

 

On the 1st August I put out HYL lures in my garden, and within a few minutes four male Raspberry Clearwing moths Pennisetia hyalaeifprmis appeared (below), this species is a recent additions to the British moth list.

                                                                                 ----------

 

                                                             July 2012. 

Bedfordshire has just one small colony of Yellow Bartsia Parentucellia viscosa (below) on a road verge near Woburn. This very local plant is however under serve threat in Bedfordshire from excessive and unnessary wild flower cutting by coucil road verge cutting contractors. This year several Bedfordshire roadside Nature Reserves were cut destroying this years flora, butterflies and other insects. These roadside N.R's should not have been cut until autumn. Something must be done to control the road verge contractors that are unnessary destroying our roadside wildlife.

Above Yellow Bartsia at Woburn, and below a Bee Orchid, Bedfordshires adopted wild flower. A road verge bordering Biggleswade that contained over 60 Bee Orchids was cut in early June despite the local council agreeing that cutting of that verge should not take place until August, after this Orchid had flowered and set seed.

                                                                     -------------

 

A three day trip to Norfolk provided me with some decent Dragon and Damselfly and Orchid pictures. Below is a selection from tho pictures I took in Strumpshaw Fen NR, Upton Fen NR, Buxton Heath NR, Shreingham and Beeston Common NR and Thompson Common NR.

Above a Norfolk Hawker and below a Common Darter Dragonfly at Strumpshaw Fen NR.

 

Above the Marsh Fragrant Orchid that was in number in both "Beeston Bog" and Buxton Heath. Below the Variable Damselfly was very local in Upton Fen, but in decent numbers where it was found.

 

Above and below the Scarce Emerald Damselfly in Thompson Common.

A few weeks earlier I had visited the Broards and found several Fen Orchids (below) in flower, this is one of Britain's rarest wild flowers.

                                                                                    ---------

 

Gamlingay Wood has again produced a good showing of Silver-washed Fritillary butterflies despite the poor summer weather. Earlier in the month wellies were needed to walk around the wood, but during the last few days its dried out a bit, although walking boots are needed.

Above a female Silver-washed Fritillary on Marsh Thistle, and below two males on Bramble blossom.

                                                                              -------------

 

A trip to the Chiltern Hills rewarded me with some spectacular Orchid shows.

Above a mass of Chalk Fragrant Orchids, and below the rare white ab. alba of the Pyramidal Orchid. This is a white flowering form, and not an albino plant.

                                                                              ----------

 

It's been a bit on the wet side here recently, so many insects are well down in numbers, but the Silver-washed Fritillary is showing in some local woods.

                                                                              -----------

 

                                                          June 2012. 

A trip to Dorset in late June was held in mixted weather, some rain, a lot of wind and some sun. The trip was arranged by Ann Miles FRPS of Cambridge Camera Club, many thanks to Ann for booking the excellent accomodation at Higher Kingcombe Lodge. Below are a few pictures from that trip.

Above a male Banded Demoiselle posing for me along the disused rail track in Powerstock Common NR. Below is a Wood White butterfly that was only occasionally seen. This one is feeding on Birdsfoot trefoil.

Above a Common Lizard posing on a log, and below a Slow Worm that was under sheet of tin.

Above and below shots of one of many flower meadows in the King Combe valley.

Above a Crab Spider with a fly prey. Below a Marsh Fritillary butterfly.

Above Meadow Thistle in Powerstock Common NR where the Marsh Fritillaries were, and below Heath Spotted Orchids, again in Powerstock Common NR.

At Higher Kingcombe Lodge a Mink came and caught several Signal Crayfish.

Below Common Spotted Orchids in Powerstock Common NR.

 

                                                                              -----------

 

The Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera has long been a favourit of mine. Not only is it one of our most attractive wild flowers, it is also variable in its markings. This year however my local colony of some 400 plants show little variation, but another coloney some 7 miles away on a road verge in Hertfordshire had several Var belgarum among 50 or so orchids that were flowering.

Above the belgarum form from a nearby coloney, and below the rare Var. friburgensis that has enlarged pink petals. This was found last week in Dorset.

Also found in Dorset in a coast meadow were some 20 'Wasp' forms (below). They had taken a battering from the recent gales and hardly any were worth photographing. The below one was the best I could find.

                                                         ---------------

 

The Common Spotted Orchids on the Chiltern Hills are giving a splendid display this year.

Above a display of Common Spotted Orchids that needs some beating! Below a very attractive and rare form that caught my eye, of this attractive plant.

                                                               ------------

 

On Saturday 9th June I visited Cowslip Meadow NR in north Luton, to see how the Marsh Orchids are doing. Most were not quite in flower, but some were. The most are hybrids between Southern Marsh and Common Spotted Orchids, and some very attractive flowers result.

A striking hybrid bloom in Cowslip Meadow N.R.

From there I visited the Chiltern Hill near Whipsnade Zoo and the Common Spotted Orchids were also not quite out with only about 10% being in flower. One with pure white flowers was fully flowering (below).

Nearby there were several Grizzled Skipper butterflies (below).

                                                                                    --------------

 

A trip to the New Forest area in early June was a rather wet and windy experiance, with no Dragonflies and only one Blue-tailed Damselfly showing at Hatchet Pond. The highlight was however having the oppertunity to photograph a newly hatched White Prominent moth Leucodonta bicoloria, bred from Irish stock. This moth was considered to be extinct in Britain and Ireland with the last record  being in 1938 prior to Paul Waring rediscovery of the moth in Ireland a couple of years ago.

Above the rare White Prominent moth. Below some Early Marsh Orchids ssp. puchella pictures, including the white and a cream form that I managed to finf and photograph.

Above the normal coloured puchella form, and below the rare cream and white flowered forms.

Above a creamy coloured flower spike Var ochrantha was found in one coloney, and several white flowered plants (below) in another coloney in a wet heathland near Pickets Post.

 

There were as always colonies of Heath Spotted Orchids in the heathland areas of the forest. This variable coloured orchid usually has pink or purplish flowers. The pure white flowered form  Var. leucantha is rare and I was pleased to find one (below).

Above the rare pure white flowered form of the Heath Spotted Orchid Var. leucantha, below a couple of more normal coloured flowers, one being purplish the other pink. The markings on the flower lip are very variable.

                                                                  ----------------

 

                                                           May 2012

A week in south France with the Dordogone area being the first stopping point, was rather disappointing due to bad weather. Decent sunny periods on the second day produced some nice butterfly pictures, including the Pearly Heath below, but after that day the sun was not seen for 4 days! At some time in the future I will put a series of pictures taken on this visit onto this Website, but until then the below 3 pictures shows a little of what was found despite the weather.

 

                                                                        --------------

 

A visit to a local wood between thunderstorms rewarded me with some pictures of Herb Paris, a rather scarce woodland plant in my area.

                                                                              --------------

 

Bedford is the first place in Britain where the Midwife Toad was introduced early in the 20th century. It has now spread a little being found in a few surrounding villages. This small Toad is more often heard in the evenings 'tinkling' than seen. When the female lays her eggs the male loads them onto his rear end and carries them around until they hatch. By day they hide under large stones, logs and other such debris.

                                                                              -----------------

 

I made a trip on the 9th May to Bernwood Meadows NR to see the Green-winged Orchids and found them in good numbers. Most had normal coloured  flowers, with just four white flowered individuals found, and several dozen pink flowered ones.

Above the normal coloured Green-winged Orchid, and below one of the pink flowering plant.

Above one of the white flowered Green-winged Orchid, and below two very small normal coloured flowering plants next to one of the white flowered ones.

 

After wards I visited a Bedfordshire site for this Orchid, and although there are only about 40 flowering plants, the below cluster of nine all flowering together is the best group I have ever found of this species.

                                                                                 ---------------

 

I recently spent rather disappointing day at Fowlermere NR, the day being saved by getting a shot of a Little Grebe bringing in nesting material, and finding a Mole walking across one of the pathways. This is the first time I have seen a live Mole in the wild. I quickly took several pictures using my 500mm lens that was ready mounted on my tripod ready for taking any birds that presented them selves. The Mole soon moved into the vegetation on the path side not to be seen again.

Above a live Mole that came into the open to cross a pathway in the RSPB Fowlmere NR in Cambridgeshire. I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time, and also ready to take the picture.

                                                                           ------------

 

                                                   April 2012 

A couple of evenings at a local Barger sett resulted in seeing two sow Bargers coming and going. I am hoping that there are some cubs, but so far I have only seen adults.

                                                                               ------------

 

Although a common wild flower, it is always a pleasure to see Cowslips (below) in flower, it says to me that spring is here.

                                                         --------------

 

After a gap of about 25 years I made a return visit to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust's reserve of Mickfield Meadow, to photograph the Fritillary flowers. I was told that the drought had reduced the numbers flowering this spring, and indeed I remembered it as a more lush meadow with many more Fritillary flowers. However there was a clump of four flowering together and a single pale flowered plant, so I managed to get some shots of these very attractive flowers.

                                                            --------------

 

A recent visit to Paxton Pits NR was mostly disappointing, but the morning was saved by a shot of a handsome cock Bullfinch that was pecking out Blackthorn flowers.

 

The below white speckled Blackbird cock was photographed in a friends garden.

                                                                              --------------

 

Below are some Heron pictures taken when visiting my favourite Heronry on Sunday 15th April.

 

                                                                                  -------------

 

                                                   March 2012

A couple of visits to wetland sites to photograph birds resulting in a handful of interesting pictures as they did battle and chased each other about.

Above Shelducks and below Coots fighting.

                                                                              ---------------

 

My frogs have again provided me with both entertainment and some more pictures. Although little different from my existing pictures I like to add a few more to my library each year.

                                                                                    -------------

 

A visit to Havergate Island NR on a wet Saturday provided me with a few decent shots of the Brown Hares. If the weather had been better, no rain and much brighter, I am sure that I would have ended up with some high quality images. As it is they are 'OK' but lack the quality that a bit of sunshine would have provided.

                                                                              -------------

 

On 2nd March I travelled to the north Norfolk coast to see what birds were around. At one location I was told that numbers of Snow Buntings were much higher two day earlier. But there were still a few around that provided me with a few more shots. Also around were some Turnstones and Gulls.

 

Above Snow buntings, and below Turnstones and a gull.

 

 

The Well-next-the-sea harbour area had several hundred Dark-brested Brent Geese, that again presented picture oppertunities as they moved about on the mud flast and flew about.

The Norfolk coast mudflats are great for taking picture of the waders as they wander around feeding. Below are a couple of Redshank picures I took to end the day.

                                                                 -----------

 

                                                           February 2012

A visit to my favourite Heronry today 26th February found the birds bringing in twigs to repair their nests. The lighting was good, and I managed some nice shots of them in flight as they flew by.

                                                                        ------------

 

A couple of new perches put up near my bird feeders proved to be popular with my usual garden biords.

Below a Goldfinch as that bird flew to my feeder, and above one posing on a twig.

Above my local Robin and below one the dozen or so House Sparrows that are regulars that come to feast on the food put out for them.

Below a Goldfinch and above a Chaffinch flying to feeders in my garden. 

                                                                               ------------

A bright but cold day on the 2nd found me again in my garden hide hoping that some different birds may visit my feeders, but the highlight was a very brief visit by two Longtailed Tits, with no chance of photographing them on the tree before they went to the feeder. Plenty of House Sparrows on the fat balls, and the usual Blue and Gt Tits, and a few Finches. A new Lichen covered twig was put in place near to the feeders, and the below two pictures are my pick of todays shots.

 

 

Another session in my garden hide on February 1st provided me with several pictures of my garden birds as they flew to the feeders.

                                                                           -----------

 

                                                   January 2012.

 

Above a chaffinch flying to the feeders in my garden.

         

An hour or so in my garden bird hide only provided me with the usual mixture of garden birds that had come for their free feast of assorted seeds and peck away at the fat balls. A selection of the pictures are below. It was nice to have about a dozen House Sparrows, and several cock Green Finches in breeding plumage. They must think is spring!

                                                                        -------------

 

                                                   December 2011.

I made another visit to the RSPB heathland at Sandy, Beds, today 28th December to photograph the Lichens. The below picture was taken with the Canon Tilt and Shift 24mm lens. This enabled me to to get everything sharp from the closest Lichens (Cladonia portentosa) to the distant trees.

Below is a group of Clodonis fimbriata Lichens were growing on an old decaying tree stump.

                                                                   ----------

 

The hooks of the seedhead of Greater Burdock Arctium lappa (below) is the "Buleprint" of Velcro, now so useful and an everyday item on clothing and around the home. Developed by plants many millions of years ago, but only "invented" by humans a few decades ago.  

                                                                     ----------

 

A male Winter Moth Operophtera brumata came to my window on the evening of December 19th. I boxed it up and photographed it the next day on some bark. I have never seen the wingless female, but plan to breed through some larvae next year, so with luck I will have some females hatch next winter.

                                                                                 ----------

 

I had another go at a feeding station that I set up for Squirrels and Jays, it only privided me with a few more Grey Squirrel pictures. The Jay only came twice soon after putting the Acorns out.

                                                                                    ----------

 

Lichens are both colourful and have interesting shapes and paterns. During the past week I have made several visits around Bedfordshire to take photographed these plants in their habitats. Below are a few of the pictures that I took.

Above a carpet of Clodonia portentosa at the RSPB reserve at Sandy, Beds. Below a close up of this Lichen.

 

Above Xanthoria parietina and below Caloplaca aurantia two species of Lichens on Tombstones in St Mary's Chruchyard, Linslade, Beds.

                                                                              ------------

 

Being a nice sunny day (2nd December) I decieded to visit the Lea Valley Park on the Herts Essex border to see what birds were willing to pose for me. As nothing out of the ordinary was showing I had a go at photographing Blue and Great Tits as they flew to a feeder.

 

                                                                       ----------

 

                                                    November 2011.

A visit to a Bedfordshire Churchyard revealed an attractive display of Lichens Xanthoria aureola on one of the tombstones.

                                                                        -----------

 

A visit to the Lea Valley Park on 28th November rewarded me with some Jay and Grey Squirrel pictures. A feeding station was set up with Acorns as bait, and it was not long before several Squirrel's and a couple of Jays put in appearance.

                                                                             --------------

 

A visit to the new heathland area of the RSPB reserve at Sandy, Beds, only provided pictures from a small selection of fungi species, but those that were found were usually in good numbers. Below Myceana fibula a small fungus growing in moss.

Above Sulpher Tuft fungi that were frequently seen. Below a species that I have not indetified yet, possibly Laccaria moelleri.

Above Glistening Inkcaps fungi growing on a rotting tree stump, this species was very common in one area.

                                                                                    -----------

 

Although the autumn colours are not as good as some years, there are still some locally good shows. A late afternoon visit to Coopers Hill NR near Ampthil, Beds, had the Birch trees glowing in the warm late afternoon sun.

 

Above late afternoon sun on Birch Trees on Coopers Hill NR, 1st November.

                                                                            --------------

 

                                                   October 2011. 

A drive around the back roads this morning 26.10.2011. produced a few Red Legged Partaridge pictures, but nothing else.

                                                                              ----------------

 

Computer problems, gardening, and editing the summers pictures has ment I have not been out taking many pictures. A trip to see the deer rut in Richmond Park in mid October was very disappointing, as it had finishes a few days earlier. Below are a few shots that I did take that day.

Below a Parakeet eating a Chestnut in Richmond Park.

Above two Red Deer Stags in the morning mist that lasted from dawn until about 11.00am and below Red Deer hind with Jackdaws feeding on Ticks and other insects on it's body.

 

Below a Garden Spider in my garden repairing it's web.

                                                                      ------------

  

                                                      September 2011.

Recently I have been rather busy editing this summers pictures, and doing other things, rather than taking new pictures. Butterflies have now almost disappeared locally, my Sedum has been in full flower in my garden, but butterflies were almost absent, one Comma earlier in the month, and one Red Admiral and just a single Small Tortoiseshell is all I saw. A few of the pictures that I did take this month are shown below.

The above Red-legged Shieldbug Pentatoma rufipes is widespread species in Britain, but this is the first one that I have seen this year. It was sitting on a pillerbox and I found it when I posted my latest batch of pictures on a DVD to British Wildlife magazine. This magazine is in my opinion the best journal covering British wildlife. Their Website is: www.britishwildlife.com

 

 

A visit to Maulden Wood early in the month was rather disappointing, with the above picture of 7-spot Ladybirds with Wood Ant and Aphids being the best of the day, Below is one of five Adonis Ladybirds that were feeding on Aphids that were on the Nicotina plants growing in my garden.

 

 

The Bishops Mitre Bug is not uncommon, and this one (above) was found when I did some "sweeping" in a local rough area. There was also several Lesser Marsh Grasshoppers (below).

The above a Slender Groundhopper was also "swept" that day. Early in the month the Ivy in my garden had some insects feeding on the flowers, including some Common Wasps, Vespula vulgaris (below).

 

Above and below, are pictures of Britain's largest Hoverfly Volucella zonaria that is a Hornet mimic, I saw several on my garden Buddliea this year, the last one was in early September.

                                                                        ---------

 

                                                           August 2011. 

One of my regular Blackbirds was doing some preening on a stump in my garden, then it decided to attend to it's eye. I have never seen this kind of "preening" before.

                                                                            ------------

 

Although prickley the Wooley Thistle is a striking plant. This one was photographed earlier in the month in a disused chalk quarry @ Sundon, Beds.

 

A vist to stay with friends in Norfolk at the end of the month resulted in a few nice shots of a Heron at Strumpshaw Fen NR. This Heron hunted and preened in front of the Fen Hide. At one time it just jumped about in a playful mood.

                                                               ------------

 

On the 27th I visited Maulden Wood in mid Bedfordshire to have a go at photographing the Wood Ants. There were plenty in the usual places, but hardly any were carring prey. I think that they must have eaten everything in their area of the wood. I only saw three species of Butterfly in the wood, one Speckled Bush Cricket (below) and a number of Ladybirds.

Above a Wood Ant searching for prey on a twig in Maulden Wood.

                                                                  -------------

 

Recently a morning spent in Potton Wood, Beds, produced me with pictures of a Cuckoo Bumblebee Bombus rupestris and a Conopid fly Conops quadrifasciata that were feeding on Knapweed and Marsh Thistle flowers.

Above a Cuckoo Bumblebee and below a Conopid fly.

                                                                        ------------

 

The Adonis Ladybird is about the same size as the 2-spot Ladybird but more elongated. I found the below one feeding on aphids in my garden.

                                                                        -------------

 

Today I returned to the Bedfordshire site of the Fire Bug Pyrrhocoris apetrus (below) and found them still around, although not quite in the numbers of a few years ago. My previous visit to this site was in June 2009.  

Above Fire Bugs mating and below a pair with the female feeding on a squashed Wasp on the track.

                                                                           ----------

 

I found a couple of Pictured-winged Flies in my garden last week. These small flies have a wing-span of only about 3 to 4 mm so it was not easy to get pictures of them, but I eventually managed a few shots (below).

Above Phagocarpus permundus, and below Palloptera muliebris.

                                                                     ------------

 

A recent visit to the Aston Rowant NNR in Buckinghamshire found the Silver-spotted Skipper butterflies very common on the closely grazed downland. 

Above a Silver-spotted Skipper butterfly feeding on a Small Scabious flower. On the way home from Aston Rowant NNR I visited the Beech woodland site where the very rare albino form of the Violet Helleborine Orchid occurs. This stunning plant (below) was in prime condition.

                                                                        ----------

 

The Berberis in my garden has about finished flowering, but I managed to get the below shot of the Median Wasp Dolichovespula media feeding on the few remaining flowers yesterday, 8th August. 

 

The Tree Wasp Dolichovespula syvestris (below) is a small social wasp that builds its nests in trees. It is seldom common but quite widespread in Britain. Below is a picture of a male feeding on Angelica flowers, and a "mug shot" of a male. These I encountered in a local wood. Males have longer antenna than the workers and queens, also males cannot sting.

                                                                         -------------

 

There has been some spectacular dispalys of wild flowers recently on the downlands of the Chiltern Hills. Below is one in Bucks, and the one below that is in Bedfordshire.  

Above and below Chiltern Gentians in Sundon Quarry, a large disused chalk quarry where there are thousands of these plants growing.

                                                            -------------

While visiting a disused chalk pits on the Bedfordshire Chiltern Hills many of the ant hills of the Yellow Meadow Ant Lasius flavus erupted with hundreds of male and queen ants. To get pictures of this happening I had to move in close and got bitten on my arm sevseral by these insects. 

Above a Yellow Meadow ant Lasius flavus queen about to take flight, and below male and queen ants about to take flight. The dispersal was over in 20 minutes.

                                                                          ----------

                                                               July 2011.

On a walk around my nearest nature reserve to-day 31st July, I saw several female Six-belted Clearwing moths flying in and around the Birds-foot Trefoil, obviously egg laying.

 

                                                                     -----------

 

My garden has been very short of Hedge Brown butterflies this summer, but one that has survived a bird attack (below) has been present for a couple of days, but not seen today. Has it finaly been eaten?

                                                                    -------------

 

On Sunday 24th July I made a return visit to Pamber Forest NR and took some more butterfly pictures. Below is a Brimstone back-lit as it fed on Betony flower.

Above and below Silver-washed Fritillaries mating, this pair flew from flower to flower feeding while paired! I saw several other pairings in different places in the forest during the day.

                                                                 ---------

 

The below insect is only 3 - 3.5mm long so seldom seen but is quite common on leaves of many trees. This one was in my garden on a Honeysuckle leaf. It is one of the Psocoptera (family Stenopsocidae): Graphopsocus cruciatus (Linnaeus, 1768) and has no common name.

 

The Berberis in my garden is as usual attracting plenty of wasps and bees, with the Median Wasp Dolichovespula media (below) being the most common wasp.

Above a male White-tailed Bumble Bee (Bombus lucorum) on my Berberis.

                                                            ------------

 

I have dodged the showers today to check two of my local Chalkhill Blue butterfly colonies. One is doing well with many flying and several dozen pairings seen (pic below), but the other one is down from several thousands ten years ago to several dozen now. The reason for the decline? the lack of grazing by sheep during the winter, and the grasses are now smothering the caterpillars foofplant.

Many pairings of Chalkhill Blues were seen today at Sharpenhoe NR where these butterflies are flourishing. At Hexton NR numbers have fallen from maybe 5,000 ten years ago to a few dozen now.

The Dark Green Fritillary (above) had a good season on Sharpenhoe Clappers. On Saturday 9th July one was caught by a Emperor Dragonfly and I managed a picture of it eating the butterfly (below).

                                                       ---------

Although many butterflies have been extremely scarce this summer in Bedfordshire, there have been thousands of 6-Spotted Burnet moths (below) in my nearest reserve.

                                                            ---------

 

During July I have had a hatch of my lanceolata Ringlets (below), this rare aberration I have continually bred since the late 1990's, and this years hatch has produced some exceptional specimens. The male below is the most extreme I have bred or seen, and the female is as good as any that I have bred before.

Above an extreme male and below a female lanceolata Ringlet aberration from this years hatch.

                                               ----------

 

Several plants of Birds-foot Trefoil growing in my garden died a month ago, and I dug up the dead plants and found several larva responsible. I boxed up a larva and a pupa resulted. The above Six-belted Clearwing moth hatched a couple of days ago from the pupa. The larva of this moth feeds on the roots of Birds-foot Trefoil, and although it is a nice moth, do really I want the larvae killing my plants?

                                                                     -----------

 

I visited Pamber Forest NR in Hampshire on Sunday 10th July, the first time for about 18 years, and it has changed for the better. The rides are nicely opened up ideal for butterflies and other insects. Silver-washed Fritillaries were common but not in the numbers I had hoped for, but as many were in fresh condition, I expect that many more will be hatching during the coming two weeks.

 

Plenty of insects in the nice open rides in Pamber Forest NR, including Silver-washed Fritillaries (below).

Above two Pamber Forest male Silver-washed Fritillaries, and below a female. 

                                                                      ------------

 

There has been a fair hatch of Dark Green Fritillaries at Sharpenhoe, and the local woods now have a showing of Silver-washed Fritillaries flying along the rides and clearings.

Above mating Dark Green Fritiullaries at Sharpenhoe, Beds, and below a male Silver-washed Fritillary feeding on Marsh Thistle in Gamlingay Wood, Cambs.

                                                                           ------------

 

The drought that has now ended considerably reduced the numbers flowering orchids in my area. No great variation found this year in the local Bee Orchids colony, with the two below showing the extent of the variation in markings.

 

                                                                           -------------

 

My three day visit to the NEW FOREST in early June was rather disappointing as the Early Marsh Orchids were difficult to find and those we did find had about finished flowering. It was also very windy that made photography difficult. However I managed to take some decent pictures.

Above a New Forest stream in early June 2011, and below a Keeled Skimmer Dragonfly and Southern Damselflies mating that were photographed beside this stream.

 

On the heathland Silver-studded Blue butterflies (below) were just coming on the wing.

 

Above a nicely marked Heath Spotted Orchid, this species was locally plentiful, and below the uncommon white form of the Early Marsh Orchid var. leucantha. This was the only plant of this species of orchid that was found in a condition worth photographing. I must go earlier next year.

 

Below the Plumed Fanfoot moth Pechipago plumigeralis that has only recently been added to the British list of moths turned up in a Lymington Moth trap while I was staying in the New Forest area.

                                                  

                                                               ------------

 

During the past few years the roadside Nature Reserve near Heneydon in north Bedfordshire has has spectacular displays of three very scarce British plants; the Spiked Star of Bethlehem,  Crested Cow-wheat and Sulpher Clover. All three can be found flowering close together during June. Below the Spike Star of Bethlehem flowering on the Honeydon N.R.

Above and below Crested Cow-wheat.

Below Sulphur Clover.

                                                                        ------------

 

                                       Early summer Orchids.

Most of the flora around the eastern area of England are suffering from the drought. Here in Bedfordshire we have only had about 20mm of rain during the past 3 months. I have left most of the Orchids for doing another year when they will be in better condition, but some are still in good condition this year.  

On Saturday 11th June I visited Cowslip Meadow NR Luton (above). There were several hundred Southern Marsh and other Spotted orchids in a small area of this small wetland reserve. Most of them were hybrids, with perhaps 150 true Southern Marsh (no spots on the leaves), about 20 Common Spotted, and around 400 to 500 hybrids orchids in flower. All the larger orchids are hybrids and have spotted leaves.

Above a Southern Marsh Orchid in full bloom. Below some hybrids that all have spotted leaves and I think rather prettier flowers.

Above a group of hybrid Southern Marsh / Common Spotted Orchids, note the spotted leaves. Below a close up of one of the few surviving Common Spotted Orchids in Cowslip Meadow NR. 

                                                            -------------

 

Not so many Bee Orchids (below) this year in my local reserve, as the location is becoming very overgrown with other flowers. All very pretty but bad news for the Bee Orchids.

Above on of the Biggleswade Bee Orchids that has managed to survive the drought and the growth of the other vegetation.

                                                             ----------

 

The above ochroleuca subspecies of the Early Marsh Orchid is only found in two localities in Britain. I photographed this great rarity in the Suffolk site, where there were about ten flowering. There were no other kinds of Early Marsh Orchids found in that locality.   

                                                                      ------------

 

                    My Lizard Peninsular visit in Cornwall.

I spent the 3rd week of May on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall. My main photographic targets were the flora and landscapes of this area of Cornwall using my latest "toy" the new Canon 24mm f3.5 Tilt & Shift lens. By using this lens I am able to adjust the focus plain to achieve sharp focus from close up subjects to the distant backgrounds. There was mixed weather that week, a bit of light rain and sea mist at times, but it was mostly quite good, although there was not any decent sunsets.

 

The above pictures shows the ability of a T & S lens to adjust the plain of focus to capture sharpness of both close up subjects and the backgrounds in the same picture.

 

Below are some flora of the Lizard peninsula, some of which are rare British plants.

Above Spotted Catsear, restricted to a handful or so locations in Britain.

Above Rosy Garlic and below Three-cornered Leak are again plants with a very restricted British distributions.

 

Above Prostrate Broom on rock, and close-up of flowers and seed pods.

 

Above, the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterfly was frequently seen on the Lizard.

 

There was only one rather poor sunset (above) during the week I was there.

                                                                              --------------

 

I made a visit to Felmersham Pits NR in north Bedfordshire on 8th May. These old gravel pits were as always rich in Damselflies that were flying in numbers in the adjoining meadow. No unusual species, but nice to see that plenty have hatched this year and are on the wing. A pairing of Common Blue butterflies was also seen (below).

  

Above one of the many Azure Damselflies at Felmersham Pits NR.

                                                                        -----------

 

On Thursday May 5th I made a trip to Bedfordshire's only site for Burnt Orchids and I only found three plants, one in full flower (below) and two just coming out. All three were very small, the one in flower no taller than three inches, about half the size they normal are. In recent years there has been about three dozen flowering, no doubt the drought is responsible for this poor showing.

                                                                   -------------

 

An inspection of the Asparagus growing in my garden revealed a scattering of Asparagus Beetles on the plants. These are some of the most attractive beetles to be found in gardens.

     

                                                                ------------

 

A visit to a local wood on a windy Monday made photography difficult, but some shots of Yellow Archangel flowers made the trip worth while. Several Speckled Wood butterflies were also seen.

 

Back with the Butterflies

With the recent warm weather the spring butterflies have got off to a good start, with good numbers of many early species. I recently spent an afternoon often on my hands and knees trying to get pictures of the Duke of Burgundy, Grizzled Skipper and Green Hairstreaks in two localities on the Bedfordshire Chiltern Hills. A stiff breeze made it very difficult, but I have ended up with some reasonable shots.

Above a female Duke of Burgundy that passed well for me, and below a couple of shots of males.

While some Grizzled Skippers (below) posed for me, others would not allow a close approach.

                                                                              ---------------

 

The two ponds in my garden have Large Red Damselflies flying around. There was one paired couple that I managed a picture of (below).

Cowslips are now at their best, with thousands locally.

                                                                        --------------

 

After a gap of some 15 years I made a return visit to Kite feeding station at Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, Wales. There has been a considerable change since I was last there, when there was only one small hide. This time I went into the new tower hide, and had an excellent couple of hours taking pictures of the Kites and Ravens. A few of the pictures I took are shown below.

Above a couple of Raven's as they flew by, and below some Red Kites pictures.

 

                                                                              -----------

 

                              VIST TO ISLAY, INNER HEBRIDES.

On 2nd April I left with another wildlife photographer for a weeks stay on the Inner Hebrides inland of Islay. We arrived in decent weather on Sunday 3rd. While southern Britain basked in warm sunshine, we had very mixed weather with periods of wet and windy weather.  Regardless of conditions we managed to get out and about in search of pictures every day. Below is a selection of my pictures.

The above Heron picture were taken from the RSPB hide at Loch Gruinart.

 

Roe Deer were frequently seen early and late in the day. Above are several different buck's, photographed during out stay.

 

Above, Brown Hares were often seen on Islay. The top one was in a field next to a road, and the picture taken from the car, while the two Hares were running around in sand dunes next to Loch Gruinart, and were unconcerned that I was standing nearby.

 

Chough were seen in several places, the above group were working the dunes at Ardnave, but I failed to get close to any. The above in flight shot was the nearest I managed to get to them.

 

 

Above White-fronted Geese, they were rather nervous and seldom posing for a picture. I was rather lucky to get the in-flight shot. Below are a couple of shots of Barnacle Geese, again it was impossible to get close to them.

 

                                                                              -----------

 

I payed a visit to the RSPB hide at Sandy, Beds, this morning (1st April), and the Redpoles are still coming to feeders at the hide. The below two are the best of pictures that I took.

                                                                              ------------

 

With sun forecast for Saturday March 19th I set off with 3 photographer friends to have a go at photographing the Chiltern population of Red Kites. Food was put out away from where I have photographed them before. Would they find us? I need not to have worried, as within minutes of putting out some chicken drumsticks several Kites were circling overhead. At one point at least 50 Kites were in the skies nearby, and coming down to take our offerings.

 

Above is just a small selection of pictures that I took. It was great fun photographing these superb birds.

                                                                                  ----------------

The frogs have had this week spawning in one of my garden ponds. Plenty of spawn, but I did not spend much time taking pictures this year as I already have plenty from previous years. One of my garden pond saw all the spawning action last week, but it was not until Monday that it began in the more shaded pond near my house. The below pictures were take on March 16th or 18th. Spawning is now about over for another year

                                                                              -------------

 

A visit to Welney reserve in Norfolk on Tuesday 8th March was a little disappointing as the Bewicks Swans had all left for their breeding sites in Russia. There was still a few Whooper Swans left, and they performed for us, coming and going so that action pictures were obtainable. I am quite pleased with my pictures, and a few are shown below.

Most of the Ducks were to far away to make a decent photograph, but I did take a few pictures worth keeping.

                                                                                       --------------

 

Recently I have made a visit to the RSPB HQ at Sandy this morning, and photographed the Lesser and Mealy Redpolls coming to the feeding station at the main hide.

Above a Mealy Redpoll, and below a Lesser Redpoll.

                                                                              ---------------

 

A morning on Havergate Island provided me with some nice Brown Hare pictures, but I did not see any boxing, maybe next time. Thanks Liz for arranging this visit.

                                                                              ----------------

 

Plenty of Heron activity early this morning (Feb. 27th) at St. Albans. Much nest building taking place between 8.15am and 10.00am, then most left the heronery, no doubt to do some fishing.

  

                                                                                  -------------

 

Another session in my garden hide only had the resident species coming to my feeding station. However with them getting into breeding colours, they are still well worth photographing.

                                                                                 ---------------

 

Another visit to my favorite Coot location saw plenty of chasing about but no actual fights today.

 

                                                                                 -------------

 

A morning visit to a woodland feeding station provided me with a selection of pictures of birds. Nothing unusual came, but a very pleasant 3 hours was spent taking pictures, and a small selection is shown below.

   

                                                                                  ----------------

 

Spring must be here, as the Coots are getting frisky! A number of fights took place today (8th February) while I was at one of my favorite wetland locations.

                                                                                    --------------

 

I recently made a trip to the North Norfolk coast to photograph Snow Buntings, every winter these birds visit the coastal shingle beaches. I put down some bird food for them, and I managed some nice in-flight shots of them as they came for their free meal. 

Above a Snow bunting feeding on the ground near the shingle beach, where I had put down some bird feed.

                                                                           -----------------

 

Another session in my garden hide today (30.1.11) proved to be entertaining, but not that productive in the way of bird pictures. The usual species turned up in above average numbers, with 6 Goldfinches almost always at or near the feeders. Although cloudy I managed some nice shots of these attractive bird.

 

As it was sunny, today, (21st January) I decided to spend an hour and a half in my garden hide, and was rewarded by getting what I class as my favorite Longtailed Tit picture. Twice two of these birds came to my feeders, and this one posed just long enough on a nearby branch of my apple tree for me to take this picture. So far it is my favorite bird picture of 2011.

                                                                        -------------

 

                           Snow in Bedfordshire.

At long last there has been some snow in my part of Bedfordshire. Yesterday afternoon and evening almost 7 inches fell. This morning unfortunately it was overcast, with only a very hazy sun in the afternoon. Not what we want for good snow photographs, For about an hour I sat in my greenhouse hide, but only a thin scattering of birds came to my feeders, and the best ones are below of a Robin and a Dunnock. Then for about 2 hours I walked along the river Ivel along back meadows, and over Biggleswade common. Maybe the sun will shine tomorrow.

The river Ivel over Biggleswade common. Below are a few birds that are posing for me in my garden.

Above are four nice, but normal birds to be found in most gardens. It would be good to have something a bit unusual come to be photographed.

                                                                           -------------

All pictures are Copyright of Richard Revels FRPS