Flying and the Art of Levitation as Practised by Swans

Flying and the Art of Levitation have fascinated me since I was a child when I frequently made unsuccessful attempts to do either or both. I always believed that the reason I couldn’t  fly was because I wasn’t trying hard enough. Somehow I knew that this potential ability should NEVER be revealed to grown-ups, so I explained that all the thuds coming from my room upstairs were me jumping/falling off my bed. To this day, I still day-dream about it.  Perhaps I was a bird in a past life.  Perhaps I will be in a future life…….. Before my 400mm lens became too heavy to cart around and my reactions slowed down, I used to love photographing birds in flight. Here are some Whooper Swans flying:     And here is a Glaswegian stunt swan practising the art of levitation:     No more practising the art of levitation for me. If I jumped off my bed now, I’d probably break my hip!   Many thanks again to Cee for hosting her Fun Foto Challenge: Crawling or Flying  

A Tufted Duck with Attitude

A Tufted Duck with Attitude In all my decades as birdwatcher and my years photographing our feathered friends, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a face staring at me through my viewfinder. I love tufted ducks. They are pretty much the shape and proportions of those yellow plastic ones you can float in the bath, though obviously bigger. You usually see them bobbing along, dabbling for pond weed. They have little tufts of feathers on top of their heads that stick up when caught by the breeze. If you had to describe them in one word, it would probably be “cute”. This one, however, must have been the rebel of the flock:    

Macro Moments: Two Red Admirals and a Peacock

Two Red Admirals and a Peacock….. which are the butterflies I photographed in the garden this afternoon. This is my offering this week for Susan’s Macro Moments Challenge: Week 7,  which is a link well worth a click. Before I became interested in butterflies a few years back, I had grown up convinced that there were only two sorts in UK:  there were big white ones and there were Red Admirals. When I retired and started doing macro photography, I was amazed stunned  flabbergasted to find out that there are 57 species in the British Isles. So far I’ve probably seen around fifty of these and I love them all. This afternoon in the garden there were Red Admirals, Peacocks, Green-Veined Whites and a Small Tortoiseshell.  All this in a small garden within a couple of hours after lunch. Whilst there is a small resident population of Red Admirals in The British Isles, mostly are migrants: Starting each spring and continuing through the summer there are northward migrations, which are variable in extent and timing, from North Africa and continental Europe. The immigrant females lay eggs and consequently there is an emergence of fresh butterflies, from about July onwards. They continue […]

More Mini-Beasts at Brockholes

More Mini-Beasts at Brockholes I keep thinking how much we saw yesterday at Brockholes in the absence of the butterflies which we’d gone looking for. It would have been such a shame to have overlooked these amazing mini-beasts. I am pleased to give them their rightful place here. (Especially since they did the decent thing showing themselves when the most of the butterflies had winged it somewhere else). My post yesterday Day-Flying Moths at Brockholes  shows more of what was flying around.        

Day-Flying Moths at Brockholes

I’ve been doing a lot of challenges recently and it’s something I hugely enjoy. What I’ve realised though is that I’ve been spending a lot of time digging into the archives for photographs to fit. And whilst this is something I enjoy too, I love to be outdoors DOING rather than indoors THINKING. Before I started blogging I used to give myself a weekly challenge and get out and about looking for suitable subjects to photograph. (There wouldn’t have been much point in issuing a challenge to myself just to go through my own photos for something to match it!) Today I decide to go to Brockholes Nature Reserve and photograph butterflies. Well, there weren’t many around as it wasn’t all that sunny. But I did see lots of damselflies and dragonflies, some beautiful birds and lots of day-flying moths. And so, for the first time in ages, I’m posting pictures on the same day they were taken. The dragonflies and damselflies photographs will need to wait until tomorrow…..      

Throwback Thursday: Two Cygnets

  I went back 5 years in the archives for this picture of two cygnets and even after so many years I can still remember their antics. There were four of them all together out for a walk with their mum and dad. Every time they took a couple of steps, one of them flopped down and wouldn’t budge. Although it was a different cygnet each time, the whole family would stop until they were all upstanding again. It took them ages to waddle a few yards along the path to the pond at the rate of left-right-flop, left-right-flop. Synchronised toddling!

Throwback Thursday: White-Letter Hairstreak

Today’s digging into the archives brought up a picture of this rare butterfly, a White-Letter Hairstreak, I was lucky enough to see last year. I love the way the sticky-out bits on the edge of the lower wings make it look like it’s kicking its back legs in the air!   Difficult to spot as it flies around the tops of trees, particularly Elms. It occasionally comes down to ground level to nectar on flowers, especially privet and bramble. The species declined in the 1970s when its foodplants were reduced by Dutch Elm disease but it is recovering in a few areas in England and Wales (Butterfly Conservation) I hope I can see another one this summer.

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