Thursday, March 20, 2014

“She turned to the sunlight and shook her yellow head, and whispered to her neighbor...winter is dead.” ...

It's only nine days since I was last sat here writing up a blog entry but those days have been almost exclusively filled with sunshine-what a difference it has made to nature, the countryside and my mood!

A note of caution, we are promised a return to frosts and low pressure shortly, for now though, things are really starting to move on apace. First thing of note is that our local Blue-tits seem to be interested in taking up residence in one of the nest boxes again this year.

There are two boxes that have been used but this seems to be their favourite. T'other one was preferred, until I decided one year to fit a camera inside to allow me to observe the young, since that day, it hasn't been considered.

The cherry tree at the front of the house is in full flower now and alive with honey bees, the sound is's a snap, sans bees...

There are also sunny daffodils everywhere right now; here's a short clip of a few swaying in the wind in slow motion...

(A reminder here about these videos only showing in the online version and not the e.mailed one)

On a walk through the local countryside the other day I spotted this new grass growth-what a colour, I couldn't resist a shot...

Yes, there's little doubt that England is entering one of the most exciting times of year for not only the creatures that I love to seek out but for any of us that enjoy nature in all its forms. Today is officially the first day of spring and the sap is definitely rising! Well, it seems to have done so for this tree, it appears to have taken a bit of a detour en-route though...

Joking aside, I have no idea what might have caused this strange deformed growth but yet again, just had to photograph it.

Back in the garden, I have been trying to photograph springtails again. I have featured these little creatures before in my blog and you may remember that they are only tiny and as such create problems as far as getting detailed photos goes. 
Well I have discovered a species in the water barrel that is even smaller than those I have previously been seeing. To give you an idea of size, take a look at the picture on the left here.
I have marked the width of the rim of this little dish and inside the red circle is a teeny black dot. Actually, that is one of the springtails before getting the macro lens on it to try and show some detail.

The next photograph shows how surprisingly well marked they are..

This was photographed at x5 but even then didn't fill the frame and so a crop was required; I really want to try and get even closer if I can as cropping loses detail.

Something completely different now. I had an afternoon 'birding' recently-just around the local fields and woods and took a few photos sometimes happens, one that I 'messed-up on' by shooting into the sun, somehow had an appeal of its own when I saw it on the computer and so, I messed around with it a little more! And here's the result for better or worse, you decide...

Okay, just as proof that I can manage "normal" shots as well...

The robin was really interesting to watch actually, I saw a pair exhibiting courtship behaviour, with the male feeding the female. Apparently this is clear evidence that they are in the early stages of nesting.

Robins spend a lot of time on the ground foraging for their food...

Before I bring this update to a close I should add that as yet, there has been no change to the cocoon that featured in the last update.

I'll wind up this entry with yet another of those moments when I have been left speechless by nature. The bee pictured below (and special mention must go to my good friend Tim Ransom and his 'bee expert' chums who identified it for me) was absolutely loaded to the gunnels with pussy-willow pollen to an extent I have never seen before...

Andrena praecox
And so, as I always say...'until then next time...'


  1. Wonderful blog again JJ!
    Not keen on this 'almost back to winter' weather we're having now. Blowing a hoolie out there and it's cold too. Down to zero Sunday they say... just hope it doesn't last long enough to slow everything back down again.

    Absolutely love that bee! Wow! Never seen such a pollen encrusted bee (or any other insect for the matter) before! Corker of a shot! Nice to get ID too.

    Funny as I found those slo-mo daffs mesmerising!

    Loving the robins! All of them! :-)
    The Springtail's amazing too! They're beyond my camera's abilities.

    Not sure about the growth on the tree but might be canker (caused by fungus).
    Amazed by the colour of that grass too! Any idea about species?


    1. Well I am working on the premise that any bad weather will be short lived now? Anyhow, thanks for the info about the tree cancer..will have a look at that. The grass? Not a clue on species, in fact having passed that way several times since, I am now wondering if it might even be the remains of a crop from previous years?


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