Five Favourite shots of 2013 ~ No 2 Dragonflies

Well after my five favourite butterfly shots, I thought I would do five favourite dragonflies. It is really quite hard to choose five….after my butterfly post, I found a whole heap that I had forgotten about so there may have to be a version 2 yet 😉

 

Broad Bodied Chaser

This broad bodied Chaser was taken in the Wyre Forest.

This demoiselle was from a forage into Dudmaston woods whilst looking for White Admirals but, I loved the way she was watching me!

Banded Demoiselle

This was my favourite in-flight shot of the year from the Severn Valley

Flight of the Hawker

After many, many attempts, I finally got some half decent shots of Eastern Spreadwings in Greece. They seem to prefer quite shady spots which makes it difficult to get the light for a macro.

Eastern Spreadwing

Also in Greece, earlier in the year, I did get some very close encounters with Goldenrings. In fact some days, I was getting so close I could only see their eyes but, this one shows it all in its glory. They are very beautiful…..I have wonderful memories of them flying up and down the streams even if summer seems a little distant now!

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Although, I have many more to cover the last 12 months, this will probably be my last post before Christmas. So, have a wonderful time everyone.

Favourite Shots of the Year No1 ~ Butterflies

I ended up deleting a lot of posts because I left Flickr and closed my account. So after neglecting my blog for a while……
I am also sorting through my own favourite photo’s of the year to put in my journal. So here are some of my personal favourites starting with butterflies:
Brown Argus taken in Shropshire

Brown Argus

Common Blue taken in Shropshire

Common Blue

White Admiral taken in Shropshire

White Admiral

Clouded Yellow taken in Greece

Clouded Yellow Butterfly

Small Tortoiseshell taken in my garden. It was lovely to see these in good numbers this year

Amongst the Asters

I am not sure how many categories I will end up with……………;)

in Celebration of Snowdrops

I love snowdrops….in every way.
The name comes from the Greek “gala” meaning milk and “anthos” meaning flower and their flower meaning is consolation, hope and purity.
As always we have been out and about and taken pictures of single snowdrops, bunches of snowdrops and paths of snowdrops….. so here are a few all from the Severn Valley.

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Nature’s Valentines

We are experiencing some cold weather here in Shropshire but, although it is still technically winter, there are signs of change. I went on a course the other day to identify trees in winter and it was amazing that, despite the frosts and snow, some of the trees are already bud bursting. Even in the garden, there are those little signs. Throughout the winter, we have had two Robins residing on either side of our garden. One on the right and one on the left 😉

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Yesterday, I spotted them both together on a branch. Meanwhile, we have also had a single Dunnock throughout the winter months. Yesterday, I saw the one had been joined by another and he was sitting up in the tree singing the most beautiful song. For such a plain bird, they have a wonderful tune.

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Our gregarious Long Tailed Tits are still paying a visit to the garden especially on the colder, frosty days.

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As I was walking through the snow yesterday, I also heard two birds flying through the Hawthorne, calling to each other sounding almost like a plaintive mobile phone. It was a sound that was unfamiliar to me, I think I could also do with a course on birdsong.

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Despite the snow, the first signs of Spring are hidden in sheltered corners.

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In our garden, the first flowers are the Iris with that gorgeous splash of colour to soothe tired winter eyes.

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Along the hedgerows and in the woodland we also have the most beautiful of our early flowers in the UK. The Snowdrop. The first signs of Spring are held in the soft petals of in this tiny delicate flower.

TO A SNOWDROP

LONE Flower, hemmed in with snows and white as they
But hardier far, once more I see thee bend
Thy forehead, as if fearful to offend,
Like an unbidden guest. Though day by day,
Storms, sallying from the mountain-tops, waylay
The rising sun, and on the plains descend;
Yet art thou welcome, welcome as a friend
Whose zeal outruns his promise! Blue-eyed May
Shall soon behold this border thickly set
With bright jonquils, their odours lavishing
On the soft west-wind and his frolic peers;
Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,
Chaste Snowdrop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
And pensive monitor of fleeting years!

William Wordsworth

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Winter Wanders

It has been a while since I posted. I confess that winter doesn’t really inspire me overly….well normally that is. When I came to update I realised that perhaps I have taken more photos than usual for winter time. This year, we have had almost every kind of weather possible. In December we experienced some very frosty cold mornings. This one was taken along the Mercian Way in the Severn Valley.

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Shortly afterwards we experienced some very foggy, mysterious days.

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With dew and frosty cobwebs shining in the corners.

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January brought the snow!

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Followed by an increase of birds into the garden.

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Together with some beautiful sunrises as it began to disappear.

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Then, never far away from us in the UK this year, the inevitable floods…..and on a sunny day, even they can look beautiful!

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However, looking around in the garden and I can see the first new signs of renewal….but, all of that will be for another post!

Autumn in the Severn Valley

I think Autumn is becoming much more of a favourite time of year since I caught the photography bug. I always loved it but, often took it as the prelude to winter which I am not so keen on! But, taking photographs has a habit of making you look, really look around and appreciate the little things just that little bit more.

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
Henry David Thoreau

So, on each fine day experienced of late, I have wandered off somewhere along the valley. On a very cold day, I went a secured myself a little place and watched this scene for a couple of hours.

Despite the cold, I was so busy watching the antics of two Dippers that I didn’t notice it very much. Sadly, my photo’s leave a lot to be desired, this is a spot I need to return to earlier in the day.

Together, with a Grey Wagtail they all kept me entertained for some time!

I have also spent some time walking around Dudmaston. Not the Hall because it is closed at this time of year but on the opposite side of the road, there are a number of public footpaths.

Carpets of yellow around every corner but I also love the mix of coniferous and deciduous trees.

Some just look beautiful all on their own

Colour is everywhere even down the tiny fungi which is so easy to miss.

For a photographer there are inevitably frustrations. Down in the Severn Valley Country Park, we saw this little fellow on one of the pools last month.

It was on a cloudy day and I was so hoping to get back with better light. Unfortunately, I got back this week and they have drained the pool to cut back the reeds. Furthermore, as I sat in the hide, the works party showed up so no chance of spotting anything! In fact, I went walking and for the first time in ages I spotted my elusive Green Woodpecker. Steadied myself, took aim and guess what? ……That work party showed up again *deep sigh*.

Thankfully, the scenes were beautiful and are getting more so by the day.

I still spotted a Common Darter dragonfly which was quite hard to see on Autumn foliage and seems quite late for this region. Of course, there are always some birds that are a little more tolerant of human presence too.

Our garden feeders are getting a lot busier as it cools down and with migration in place, no doubt there will be some changes in our bird sightings now. I shall leave you with a final image of the sun going down over the River Severn

As we are now into November, I guess my next post will be winter!

Misty Mornings in Shropshire

It has been a while since I posted but, the Autumn season offers some fabulous photo opportunities and I have been out making the most of them.
A few mornings have seen me out and about early catching those early morning dews on cobwebs and mist rising off the rivers and pools. This one was taken at Dudmaston

…and then on to Severn Valley Country Park

We also got up really early one morning at a weekend (sorry Andy) to capture the sunrise over Bridgnorth.

With the mist rising off the water on the Severn, I couldn’t resist turning this one into sepia.

Inevitably, as the mornings and evenings turn chillier, the first signs of wood smoke are in the air.

Now and then, the whole landscape takes on an almost surreal quality………

Morning by Paul Laurence Dunbar
The mist has left the greening plain,
The dew-drops shine like fairy rain,
The coquette rose awakes again
Her lovely self adorning.

The Wind is hiding in the trees,
A sighing, soothing, laughing tease,
Until the rose says “Kiss me, please,”
‘Tis morning, ’tis morning.

With staff in hand and careless-free,
The wanderer fares right jauntily,
For towns and houses are, thinks he,
For scorning, for scorning.
My soul is swift upon the wing,
And in its deeps a song I bring;
Come, Love, and we together sing,
“‘Tis morning, ’tis morning.”