Monday, 25 April 2011

Riot of colour!

English Bluebell

What an amazing Easter this has been. The weather is hot (high 20's centigrade) and sunny, hardly a cloud in the sky. I don't remember when it last rained. This is most unusual for April which is famous for its showers.

The bluebells are a carpet of blue through the woods and all the other flowers are a riot of colour. Sadly, the lack of rain means the bluebells are dying back early. Too early!


The azaleas are absolutely gorgeous and the perfume from this yellow one is amazing. It is a pity that I cannot capture the scent for this blog.

I was standing watching this morning while the speckled wood butterflies were all over the place fluttering around in a frenzy in the sunshine and occasionally landing on the bluebells.

Speckled Wood butterfly

Finally, the cuckoo has been calling all week. No sight of him, though.

This time of year is magical.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

She's Mine . . . No, She's Mine!

Cock Pheasants fighting

I have spent a lot of time watching the pheasants in the last few weeks. They are most amusing. The cock pheasants are wandering around hopefully trying to attract the females, chasing them around the garden and displaying their beautiful plumage.

The females seem to be completely disinterested but the cocks live in hope.

Occasionally, a fight breaks out between competing cocks - really quite aggressive. The fight in this photograph broke up when they heard the clicking of my shutter. Sadly, it is not a good photo but the best I could manage.

Cherry Blossom

I spent last weekend trying to take some decent photos of the cherry blossom. It is a really gorgeous sight but very difficult to photograph without blowing the highlights in the sun. It also requires a very still day. The beautiful weather continued over last weekend but has changed for the worse during this week. Still no rain, though.


Finally, another bluebell shot. I would love to find some more unusual ways of photographing bluebells. This one is backlit. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The First Bluebells of 2011


Everyone who knows me realises that I get very excited at the start of the bluebell season. It is such a beautiful time of year, if we have time to get out and enjoy it.

The first bluebells started appearing last weekend. They start with just a few here and there. During the next few weeks more and more appear until there is a glorious blue carpet through the woods. Then they start to fade. The whole magical experience only lasts 4 to 5 weeks.

I saw the first swallow today, back from its winter in Africa. So spring is well and truly here.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

The Morel Season

Semifree Morel - Morchella Semilibra

After the very dry March, I did not expect to see the Morels this year. However, a few sprinkles of rain over the last few days brought them all popping out. These Morels are called Semifree Morels and are not the much sought after Morels of culinary fame. I would not risk eating them.

They are called semifree because the cap is not joined to the lower part of the stem, but is joined at the top of the stem with the cap hanging loose over it.

I find it intriguing that they appear as regular as clockwork every year during the first week of April. They are incredibly difficult to spot and last year I only spotted them after I had trampled on them, so no possibility of photographs. I was more careful this year!