Nature Photography from Somerset and beyond

Random header image... Refresh for more!

Short-Eared Owls

It’s all been a bit quiet on the photo front of late work, babies and the weather all conspiring against me. This weekend I heard reports of good numbers of short-eared owls on the levels and as the weather was pleasant I headed off with my daughter and my camera to see what we could see.

Short-Eared Owls

Having spent all winter trying to get a glimpse of these stunning birds I didn’t get my hopes up despite at least 6 individuals in the area over the previous days. I was however in luck as there were at least 2 owls quartering the moor.

Short-eared owl

Most of the time the owls were quite some distance away and my 300mm lens didn’t have quite the reach i needed. Despite this I managed some shots that, whilst no-where near a good as a lot of the photos out there, I was rather pleased with.

Short-eared owl

All in all it was a fantastic afternoon out with this great species even if the photos need a bit of work.

February 8, 2012   No Comments

Autumnal Fungi

With the sun thinking about shining and the baby fed I decided it would be rude not to see what was hanging around at the tail end of this autumns fungi. I headed up to Goblin Combe to make the most of the afternoon.

Toadstool on Log

Whilst toodling through the woods with my Daughter I bumped into Justin Smith (http://www.bristolfungi.org.uk/) a local mycologist who helped to identify some of the photos. Given the time of year there were not as many fungi as I would have hoped so I have included in the photos some lichen and moss.

Even without knowing much about fungal taxonomy or identification I hope these photos show what a beautiful group this is,


 

November 20, 2011   No Comments

Autumn Dawn

I have been rather poor at updating my blog recently. A combination of being busy at work, having a new baby and my computer dying. Anyway enough excuses.

After a few days of rain the forecast of a misty morning seemed to much to pass up. Up bright and early I headed to Deer Leap on the southern scarp of Mendip. As predicted the autumn mist lay heavy across the somerset levels.

Autumn Mist

Whilst taking a few photos a local birder turned up an we had a chat. I explained that I still can’t really identify birds by call and am not sure I ever will. His suggestion was to get a book with bird calls on a CD and listen to it in the car. We chatted further and went our separate ways. Upon returning to my car I was both suprised and rather pleased to find that the gentleman had left copies of the aforementioned cd’s on my windscreen. What  friendly and generous act. If you ever happen to stumbe across this please accept my thanks.

 

October 28, 2011   No Comments

Devil’s-bit Scabious

Been very busy recently and haven’t had much time for photography but made ot out at the weekend to catch the last of the summer wildflowers and the first of the autumnal fungi.

Devil's-bit scabious

Devil’sbit scabious flowers late in the year and as such provides an important nectar source for a wide range of invertebrates. The flowers this weekend at Ubley Warren were busy with bees and hoverflies.

Devil’s-bit Scabious is a good indicator of unimproved grassland and is important as the food plant for Marsh Fritillary caterpillars (this one was from June this year from elsewhere in the county).

Marsh Fritillary

September 15, 2011   No Comments

Wheatear

Out surveying on the Brue Valley today. Found some great birds despite carrying out botanical surveys. The one saving grace of having to walk up and down droves to get to fields is the diversity of Avian Fauna on show.

Wheatear

Todays ticks included 2 juvenile yellow wagtails (a new species for me), 4 linnent, a small flock of starlings mobbing a kestrel and a wheatear perched on round bale silage.

Driving along the drove on the otherside of the field a wheatear (possibly the same one) was perched on a gatepost. I had my camera in the car rather than in the boot and was able to get these photos.

August 16, 2011   No Comments

Wildflowers at the seaside

Went to Clevedon for a walk on the weekend. Found some Rock Samphire and Sea Plantain (although I’m happy to be corrected on the ID’s as I don’t do much botanising on the coast).

Rock Samphire

I always think it is amazing how these little plants manage to survive growing in cracks in the rocky outcrops being constantly battered by the salty sea air.

At least they have a nice view across the Severn Estuary for their troubles.

August 15, 2011   No Comments

Red Bull Harbour Reach

A bit of a departue from my usual stuff but found out on Saturday morning about the Red Bull Harbour Reach and thought that it would be a great chance to try something different.

Over the north wall, Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis was as busy as you would expect what with it being summer holidays and the end of Lifeboat Week. That meant that most fish and chip shops had ran out of food or had stupidly long queues. Fortunately we found some friends who had a table and were kind enough to let us join them.

As you might imagine our food turned up just as the wakeboarding started meanign that I didn’t have as much time photographing the competitors in the Red Bull Harbour Reach as I would have liked. Having tried wakeboarding a couple of time on honeymoon I have a lot of respect for these guys flying over the North Wall of Lyme Regis Harbour.

August 1, 2011   No Comments

One from earlier in the year

Back at the end of May this year, just as spring was turning into summer I was visiting a Local Wildlife Site to give the new owners some advice on managing their meadow.

One species I have never seen before was Greater Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera chlorantha). This rather spectaclur orchid is found in woodlands and more open habitats and has a preference for calcareous soils. Greater Butterfly Orchid is listed on the Somerset Rare Plants register (status – not scarce).

The light was great as it was getting later on when I finished and so I took the opportunity to take a few photos which I have finally got round to going through.

 

July 27, 2011   No Comments

Summer on Mendip

With some raher nice weather at the weekend I took the opportunity to go and have a look around Blackmoor andUbley Warren to see what I could see. Just around the car park at Balckmoor there was a fantastic dispaly of wildflowers that I didn’t quite make it to bley Warren.

Here are some of my favorite photographs. I particularly like the Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria) as it is the first time I have got a decent (ish) photo of this species.

 

July 26, 2011   No Comments

Fragrant Orchids

Having done a bit of plant twitching lately to track down Moonwort (Botrychium lunaria) but more on that later.

I was lucky enough for someone to show me a stand of Fragrant Orchids that were looking at there best.

June 14, 2011   No Comments