I think I mentioned it in my last couple of posts but in case you missed it, California was incredible! That said, I was just as keen to get out with my camera again when we got back (hence I’m still processing photos several months later!). The end of April, for me, is the moment that the British spring really kicks into gear. Migrants are beginning to trickle in from foreign shores and the British countryside is rapidly turning a vibrant shade of green. There are of course other colours bursting through the muted cloak of winter. One of my favourite spectacles in the UK is a woodland floor carpeted with Bluebells.
I count myself as particularly lucky to have a gem of a Bluebell wood almost on my doorstep (I can see it from the end of the garden, though not the actual Bluebells!). I visited it three or four times at different times of day over a couple of weeks to catch the flowers in full bloom and in different lights. I don’t think you can beat the colour.
Despite taking a pretty large number of images from various spots, I’ve yet to settle on a wider shot that I’m really pleased with. Instead, I decided to focus on some of the individual flowers and smaller details. In the past I have found all manner of invertebrate life among the flowers which make for some lovely images, but this year I let the lovely low lighting become my subject.
One of the things which I found especially beautiful was the mingling of species. It was indeed a carpet of blue throughout much of the wood, but in places the blue became flecked with pink and white as Herb Robert and Greater Stitchwort poked through. Over the course of the fortnight that I visited, spring rolled in and the blue became increasingly whiter. I was able to capture some lovely detail in the flowers.
The meadow next to the wood is also a brilliant place for wildlife with lots of Yellow Meadow Ant hills making the perfect foraging spot for Green Woodpeckers. There are fabulous spring wildflowers there too at this time of year, in particular Green Winged Orchids. I hadn’t actually seen one of these wild wonders before I moved here, let alone photographed one. I was really thrilled, therefore, to find them so close to home.
This image shows the green veining on the petals which gives them their name. I had somehow expected it to be more prominent but I actually rather like the subtlety of it.
Another green that I enjoy is the unfurling of new leaves and there is something sort of perfect about the curls of new Ferns and Bracken fronds that makes them really aesthetically pleasing. I found this frond of Bracken in another local woodland and decided to make an almost entirely green image focusing on shape and form.
On a separate nearby frond I found a St Mark’s Fly, so called for their habit of emerging around St Mark’s Day. They are often more noticeable as there are fewer other species out so early in the year, and they have a distinctive shape in flight with their long legs dangling beneath them in a slightly cumbersome fashion.
My final image of the blog is one I am especially pleased with, mainly due to the subject matter. I spotted this extraordinary Ichneumon Wasp (possibly Dolichomitus imperator) probing in the trunk of a rotting Silver Birch for wood boring beetle larva to lay its eggs in. Although I did capture the contortions of this act, I felt that this was a better image showing the strange beauty of its slender body and long ovipositor.
Needless to say there is plenty to photograph in spring. Indeed I took a great deal more than I’m sharing here! These are simply a few of my favourites from a couple of weeks of British bliss before my next travels… I’ll tell you more about them in the next post!