Has anyone noticed it is a great year for wild flowers? Most councils in the UK have postponed cutting road side verges and let them grow wild with some spectacular results which not only looks good but helps the wildlife. In rural areas some farmers are planting wild flower meadows along side their fields of crops to give nature a helping hand. I live on the Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire border where fields of red poppies, cornflowers and ox-eye daises can be found. I've never taken so many flower photographs!
Red poppies & Cornflower in Buckinghamshire
Of course with the abundance of wild flowers the insects are thriving to with plenty of bees, butterflies etc.
Small tortoiseshell butterfly
Normally when I go out photographing wildlife I like to photograph it in a natural environment which can involve waiting for hours and when you finally get a good shot it makes it all worth the while. It doesn't always pay off but it's fun trying! Early June I visited a private hide in West Sussex. It is the first time I've been to one of these so wasn't too sure what to expect. There are a number of hides with 'reflection pools' and some interesting feeding setups. I was there for around six hours and took nearly 1300 images!! It took me a week to edit all the photographs. I'm looking forward to visiting again, maybe at the end of Summer/Autumn. It makes a change to sit in a comfortable hide as opposed to lying still for ages in long grass or in a forest dressed in camouflage!!
Great spotted woodpecker in West Sussex
As some of you might know especially the people who follow my photography page on Facebook I have spent quite a bit of time photographing the Common terns at Tring reservoirs. One of my favourite birds and can be quite a challenge to photograph them diving for fish. I like to take 'action' shots as opposed to 'bird on a stick' shots. My object was to catch them diving and photographing them just before they entered the water. Great fun but I deleted many images to get anything I was happy with. My camera takes 11 frames a second but these birds are so quick.
Diving Common tern. Looks like an arrow but faster!!
During June some of the wildlife reserves were opening back up to the public but with restricted numbers. So if you want to visit any of these you have to book online so the numbers of visitors can be controlled as set out by government guidelines. I paid a long overdue visit to Slimbridge wetlands reserve in Gloucestershire in mid-June. This used to one of my regular haunts a couple of years ago when I was living just across the border in South Wales. On my visit there were lots of juvenile birds and the Summer visitors were already feeding their young. A lot has happened during 'Lockdown' but we have sadly missed most of it.
Reed warbler with a tasty snack for its fledglings. WWT Slimbridge.
Young moorhens exploring at Slimbridge wetlands centre.
During June I've been enjoying and learning macro (close-up) photography. It can be quite challenging getting good insect shots. It usually involves lying in the long grass getiing eaten by other insects and as you go to take the shot....it flies off! You have to learn a bit of 'field craft' on how to best approach them and wait and wait some more. It's surprising how much varied wildlife there is in one small area. Great fun but it is best to use specialist macro lenses for the best results.
Roesel's bush-crickets can be found lurking in the grass. Only about an inch long.
Marbled white butterfly
It is not only insects that make good macro subjects but close ups of flowers etc. If your lucky you can photograph both together. I do like a challenge!
As for July I'm looking forward to visiting the British wildlife centre again. I've booked my visit online so just need the weather to be ok. I'm still going if it rains! Within the next couple of days I am going to see the Ospreys at Rutland water. The parents have had four young which are starting to fledge now but they will all hang around the nest site till August.
Now 'lockdown' is easing I'm looking forward to starting the one-to-one photography tuition again. I find this very rewarding teaching people of all abilities new photography skills. Not only from setting the camera up but to also editing the final image. You can use my CONTACT page for details and availability.
Thank you all for reading my latest blog and thank you all for your support and kind comments over this difficult period we are all experiencing. It makes it all worth the while. I find nature is a great healer in times like this. Even just sitting out in the garden or going for a short local walk. Nature is all around us.
Please continue to upload your photographs to my Photo's Page. There are some great photographs being posted.