Saturday, 30 April 2016


Bluebells although occurring across large portions of the Atlantic area, seem a traditionally British thing. Each April our ancient woodlands are decked with carpets of blue and green, and walkers, nature lovers and the like flock to the closest woodland to see this explosion of colour.

We host some of the most magnificent bluebell carpets anywhere, in our woodlands, and they are under threat. Unfortunately, a large proportion of the bluebells we see now are non-native, instead they are a hybrid between the Spanish and the British Race (Hyacinthoides x massartiana). The two are not easy to differentiate, and when hybridized it becomes an even more difficult task. Since first spotted in 1963, the hybrid has increased in number enormously, especially in urban areas. If this growth continues, it's likely we'll have to say good bye to the British Bluebell. I'm no expert on flowers, but it would be a huge shame to lose something so quintessentially British!

As my photography A2 project is on "Signs of Spring" I couldn't quite leave Bluebells out, so I headed to my closest bluebell woodland. Unfortunately, it's just a small carpet, but it was enough to get the shots I wanted.

Having shot the traditional bluebell scenes, I moved away from the representational style and began shooting in a slightly more abstract manner.

Monday, 25 April 2016


With exams drawing ever closer, I find myself once again confined to my house, local patch and occasionally Tring, which is only 30 minutes drive from my house. Procrastination being a natural cause of exam times, I've found myself out on the patch quite regularly.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Spring has definitely sprung on patch, temperatures are rising, and flowers and buds are beginning to blossom. With them the first arrivals of Wheatear on patch were happily greeted, along with my first sighting of Whitethroat this year only yesterday.

After many years of postponing and putting it on the side lines, I have actually begun ringing. Most Sundays are now spent in Tring, training so that hopefully some day in the future I will be able to hold my own C permit. So far highlights have been: Fieldfare, Kingfisher, Treecreeper, Reed Warbler and Blackcap. Since we are usually finished by midday it leaves a couple of hours for me to visit the Reservoirs and see what I can find. I've taken these opportunities to shoot for my upcoming photography exam, and have spent my fare share of time with the Great Crested Grebes on Marsworth Reservoir.

Great Crested Grebe

Common Tern

Following last weeks ringing I visited College Lake briefly where I was able to connect with a stonking Ring Ouzel and Greenland Wheatear. Both were in mint plumage and provided good entertainment. Great views of Red Kite later in the hills didn't go amiss either.

Red Kite

In more recent weeks, the weather has been quite mild and even warm at some times, which has lead me putting the moth trap out a few times. Anything spectacular has evaded the trap so far, but some of the highlights have included: Dotted Chestnut, Frosted Green, Pine Beauty and some of the Hebrew Characters and Early Grey have been looking pretty sharp!

 Clouded Drab

 Pine Beauty

 Early Grey

Frosted Green

I am absolutely delighted to be able to announce I've received a long-term volunteer placement on Bardsey Island for this autumn from the end of August until the end of October, and I intend to do weekly round ups of my stay including highlights, trends, and of course photographs!