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My photograph of the month for April

Wow! Hasn’t everything come alive in the last month! The sun has been so warm and welcoming. All the bugs are out too. I have had a wonderful month, enjoying spring. Watching the butterflies, bees and ants has been great fun.

My photograph for April is an interaction between these two tiny and fluffy solitary bees.

Solitary bees

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The toil of Ants

I love to watch ants. Their toing-and-froing, busy foraging explorations and searching antennas!

The details of what they are doing can’t always be seen, but that is where I am grateful for macro-lens technology.

Spotting a newly formed entrance to a nest I could see these ants hard at work. Putting my camera down at their level I got to see just how hard they were working. Huge mouthfuls of sand being excavated and carried away.

Not only do I find it fascinating to watch, but I find the motion of ants going about their daily lives relaxing. I also find myself thankful that I don’t have to lift such weights, especially by just my jaw!

Ants might seems such tiny animals, but when I see them like this, I am struck with awe!

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Bountiful Bees

Today for me has been all about bees!

My bee socks and earrings. The Honeybee I plucked from the torment of my bedroom window and returned to the freedom of outdoors. The Red Mason Bees sunning themselves on the bricks of my house. It has given me a real feeling of spring!

It’s not the buzz of beautiful queen bumblebees that gets me excited. It is the tiny, unnoticed delightful solitary bees that fill me with glee!

I have already reached for my camera to photograph the bees this spring. Here are some of my highlights …

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#30DaysWild – Day 24 – Bug hunting

With it being the last day of National Insect Week, today I went on a bug hunt!

Taking a stroll around farmer’s field, I saw an amazing array of insects. A wonderfully relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Day 24

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#30DaysWild – Day 21 – The Great British Bee Count

As we are in the middle of 2018’s Great British Bee Count and it’s National Insect Week, I thought it was appropriate to go find some bees!

I was lucky enough to find Buff-tailed bumblebees, Red-tailed bumblebees, Ashy miner bees, Leaf-cutter bees, Honey bees and a few other species of solitary bees too! I submitted all my finds on the Great British Bee Count app.

An afternoon finding my favourite creatures and helping with a citizen science project has definitely been a lot of fun and felt very worthwhile!

Run by Friends of the Earth and supported by Buglife, it’s a great bit of citizen science to get involved with! If you would like to have a go, you can find out all about it on the website here: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/bee-count

Day 21

 

 

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#30DaysWild – Day 19 – National Insect Week, Beetles

Continuing an insect theme for National Insect Week, I went on a bug hunt today. I examined the long grass, inspected bramble bushes and peered into hedgerows that line the farmer’s fields where I walked.

My search was not in vain! I was lucky enough to find 2 longhorn beetles in less than a square foot. I found a few other stunning beetle species along the way.

Such a broad spectrum of colours, sizes and shapes, I never tire of admiring beetles. There’s no such thing as “just a beetle”!

Day 19

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#30DaysWild – Day 12 – Watched a spider spin its web!

I stepped out at golden hour to find my wild moment, a little late in the day but you never know what you might see.

As the rich sunlight shone across a lovely meadow, a spider caught my eye. Moving back and forth with careful precision I realised it was spinning its web. I stayed and watched as the sun got lower in the sky and the strands of silk went from gold to silver. It looked like hard work for the little arachnid, but the end result was beautiful to see!

Day 12

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#30DaysWild – Day 5 – Gardening

My garden is most definitely a wildlife garden.

Lots of colourful, nectar rich plants including wildflowers I’ve grown from seeds.

But I had noticed it was getting more than a little over grown! So today, as it was a little cooler than previous days, I decided to get it a little under control.

The hard work was punctuated by finding some rather lovely bugs! Including a caterpillar gorging its self on a rosebud. All while two male blackbirds kept chasing each other across the garden. I  also found plenty evidence of hedgehogs too, all in the form of scat!

Best moment of the day was when a buzzard flew a few meters over head, followed closely by an angry mob of Jackdaws! Fantastic!

Now it is time for me to sit back and enjoy a cuppa with a good book about ants!

Day 5

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#30DaysWild – Day 3 – A trip to the supermarket!

I wasn’t feeling very adventurous today, but I did need to get some supplies. A trip to the supermarket was in order and maybe I’ll find somewhere green to visit along the way.

Parking up I noticed a magpie and a jay perched up in the trees surrounding the car park. As I got out the car I saw two jackdaws were on the ground nearby searching for scraps.

Walking to the shop, I passed a flowering bush covered with bees. Pausing to admire the busy little pollinators, I heard the iconic ‘witter-wit, witter-wit’ of a goldfinch high up on the tree next to me. That made me smile, I had found the ‘wild’ on a routine visit to the supermarket!

But the wild didn’t stop there! On leaving the shop I saw house sparrows, a pied wagtail, tiny ants toing-and-froing across the pavement, a speedy little wolf spider making a dash across my path, a brightly coloured hoverfly visiting some rogue daisies and most surprising of all, a bee fly!

I never imagined that a simple trip to the supermarket would turn into such a wildlife safari!

Day 3

 

 

 

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Town bound!

It was early October and the morning of my car’s MOT, I knew I was in for a long day. With the car delivered to the garage my day began, 8:30am and I was trapped in Nuneaton.

As none of the shops were open yet, there were only a few shop keepers and early risers milling around. The sharp ‘chis-ic’ call of pied wagtails cut through the quiet streets. High up in the air or on roof tops, these black and white beauties were hard to spot. It was fair to say from the amount of calls that there was quite a few about.

I filled the morning with a wander around the charity shops. I listen out for more pied wagtails and caught a glimpse of a couple of goldfinch. After several extraordinary long hours, I decided lunch was in order.

This decision took me past the over grown, over littered murky waters of a river. In amongst the grime. Two crisp white elegant mute swans dappled in the weeds. There couldn’t be more of a contrast between the beauty of nature and the pollution of man.

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The garage called, as I suspected the car needed work. I was to remain in town for a few more hours. Over a pot of tea and a plate of chips I pondered what to do with my afternoon, I was still wondering that as I re-entered the High Street. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a buzzard, I wasn’t expecting that! As I gazed upward and the buzzard glided out of sight, something else caught my attention. A bees nest in a chimney! That sealed the deal. I was going on an urban safari!

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I headed for the park, a couple of disinterested mallards paddled by in the small river. A group of pigeons had gathered near the water, they weren’t alone! There was a rat amongst the pigeons! The more I looked the more I saw. One brave soul found some dropped bread on the bank just below my feet. Say what you will about these rodents, these were handsome individuals.

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Strolling through the park I saw squirrels and blackbirds eating yew berries. I also say my first (and only) insect of the day – a dronefly.

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Back onto the road and passed a church. Starlings hopped about its castellations, while a song thrush perched on the weather vane.

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Still no word from the garage and I needed to rest my weary legs. I found a bench and tilted my head towards the sky. Black-headed gulls flew by, their bright white wings catching the sunlight against a cloudy grey sky. A flurry of pigeons appeared, some on street lights others on the ground. Passing school children sent them scattering, only for them to gather ready for the next group of pedestrians. Each time the birds took flight and returned, I got to admire their skillful and graceful flight. Here I remained for quite a while, captivated by unexpected moments of nimble aerobatics. I have always enjoyed watching any bird in flight, but this really has renewed my appreciation of this feathered feat.

 

The garage called, time to pick the car up. Tired, I headed back to the garage, one eye still on the sky. In the distance I saw a crow, a handsome beast stood proud a top a roof.

And then my day ended as it began, ‘chis-ic, chis-ic’, a small pied wagtail flew on by!

That day I went on an urban safari … oh and also had a car MOT!

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