Tuesday 1 September 2020

Time to move on...

You will have noticed that I have not posted anything new on here for some time now. Well, after almost 12 years of these blog entries, things have become a little stale and I seem to be repeating myself (which might be something to do with my age.) So, I think it's time to move on.

Don't despair however. I will continue taking photos, but from now on, any new pictures will be posted on my Facebook page HERE, or my Instagram page HERE.

Thanks for all the views over the years, but for now, bye-bye Blogger!

Wednesday 29 July 2020

Summer Colour

The hedgerows and verges are filled with summer colour - despite the changeable weather. Along 'Donkey Walk', the dominant colours are yellow, from the Ragwort and Melilot and white, from the Hedge Parsley.
This morning, the Ragwort flowers were busy with Honey Bees and Hoverflies.
Another splash of yellow, came from several patches of Toadflax. Looking like small Snapdragons, their two-toned flowers are rather paler than the Ragwort, but still a joy.
Stretching up above the taller grasses, Creeping Thistle flowers add a very pale lavender colour to the verges and are also very popular with bees.
A stronger colour is provided by the Rosebay Willowherb. This large stand of them, is just one of several to be found on wasteland close to home.
On the dry meadows of Shipley Woodside, carpets of Birdsfoot Trefoil.
Their bright yellow flowers also hide some small patches of white, Wild Carrot and Yarrow flowers. These are kept small and stunted by the very poor soil of this area.
It's all very colourful - and more to come. Hopefully!

Wednesday 15 July 2020

Odds and Ends

The weather has turned a little 'changeable' to say the least, so I thought we'd have a few odds and ends from some of our walks over last few weeks. We start with a shot across the water of Mapperley Reservoir and the Yellow Water Lilies. At the end of last month, the flowers were just starting to open and the lily pads were providing cover for lots of fish fry.
Along Slack Lane, we encountered this fabulous little Meadow Pipit on an overhead cable. Tricky to identify unless you see the very long claw on the hind toe, which separates it from a Tree Pipit.
Shipley Woodside was looking glorious in the sunshine a few days ago. The Bee Orchids have not shown themselves this year (unless we've missed them), but the Bird's Foot Trefoil were making up for it with a carpet of yellow flowers.
Closer to home and the Sparrows are busy filling themselves on the seed - when the Woodpigeon doesn't try to hog the lot!
At Head House Farm, the herd of White Park Cattle, has expanded, with the arrival of several calves...
and they're absolutely charming.
Wild Carrot flowers are opening and attracting lots of insects, especially these attractive Soldier Beetles.
By now, the Yellow Flag Irises have all but finished flowering, but they have been quite spectacular as always.

Friday 3 July 2020

High Summer Flowers

The recent downturn in the weather, has meant that the local flora has put on a bit of a growth spurt, making the whole countryside, green and pleasant. Many of the wild flowers are in bloom too, from the lowly Birds-foot Trefoil...
to the Common Spotted Orchids. Sadly, these little beauties do not seem to be flowering in such abundance as usual this year. Perhaps the hot, dry spring didn't agree with them.
Thistles are starting to flower all over the place too, with Marsh Thistles being particularly well represented. Normally these have fabulous purple flowers...
But occasionally, they throw up in a white flowered version for good measure.
Amongst the wetter parts of the countryside, where the ground doesn't dry out too much, the Meadowsweet is filling the air with its own delightful fragrance.
 And it's time for the Rosebay Willowherb to join in the summer fun too.
 Tall stands of pink-flowered loveliness - who could want more?
It's all pretty spectacular.

Monday 22 June 2020


The sun was shining this morning, so we decided to brave the rather chilly breeze and take a slightly longer walk than of late - and we took the flask with us too! Setting out across Shipley Park, we encountered lots of insect life, some of which, Malcolm was not too pleased about. But to start with, there were several Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies on the Blackberry flowers near to Flat Meadow Farm.
Despite the stiff breeze doing its best ruin things, I managed to get a couple of decent shots.
 Even caught a small Ladybird in the background as well.
Nearby, a clump of Nettles, was playing host to a colony of Peacock Butterfly Caterpillars.
Nettles are the primary food plant of these spiky little critters and hey provide a fairly safe environment for them to grow.
The large, flat umbels of Hogweed flowers are beginning to fill the sides of the paths and almost every one had its share of a great variety of insects. Among the most impressive of these was a large parasitic wasp known as Amblyteles armatorius.
The females deposit their eggs inside the bodies of unfortunate caterpillars of other insect species, but the adults feed exclusively on pollen and nectar - as this one was doing.
Finishing on a rather less macabre note, as we walked round Mapperley Reservoir, a bank of Meadow Cranesbill was looking spectacular as it swayed in the breeze.
Time to crack out the flask before setting off for home again. Just one more picture of these cranesbills.

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Swanning About

Following some heavy downpours over the last couple of days, yesterday's walk was a little damp and muddy under foot. So we decided to take a turn round Straw's Bridge. On the way, we passed the Manor Floods and as we stood looking across the water, a family of Mute Swans came steaming over to see if we had anything for them.
The six cygnets in this family were growing fast and have started losing their fluffy down and becoming more like mum and dad.
On the back lake of Straw's Bridge, another swan family have hatched five cygnets, which we first encountered a few days earlier.
These little charmers, are quite a bit younger and still had their downy, fluff-ball appearance
It was nice to see them all still happy and healthy yesterday, growing fast and with their parents keeping them well out of harm's way.
 Of course, as soon as you point a camera at the swans, the local coots...
and mallards turn up to get in on the act. And why not?

Saturday 13 June 2020


The weather, having been hot a sunny for a few weeks, has been cold and wet for several days now. But with things warming up again today, we were once again out and about round Shipley Park this morning, primarily enjoying the wild flowers - like these Red Campion, which seem to be everywhere at the moment.
These were growing along the old Nutbrook Canal, making the most of things before the Blackberry bushes and Nettles take over and crowd them out.
Part of the Carnation or 'Pinks' family, they're quite charming and always reward a closer look.
Also growing along this path, we found a few Herb Robert flowers starting to open...
and several spikes of Hedge Woundwort.
This is a member of the same family as Mint and Deadnettles, as a closer inspection of the flowers will indicate.
There are lots of fallen trees along this stretch of the old canal and where the wood has started to decay, some fungi are beginning to show. One of particular note, was this fabulous Dryad's Saddle.
Almost hidden amongst the nettles, we nearly missed them, but they were well worth finding!
Heading back home again, we crossed the main Nutbrook Trail, avoiding other people as much as possible, but taking in the joys of Elder Flowers...
and even the grasses are worth taking a closer look!