Nature Challenge – Day 7 – Final Day

This nature challenge was set on Facebook and you were supposed to post up one nature picture each day and nominate some one else every time you posted.

I took more than one picture each day (except for day 1) and have not nominated anyone else to take part (do not really like that part of Facebook) so I have not really followed the rules however I have really enjoyed myself.

My last few pictures are a real sorry looking group to some but beautiful looking to me.

Damp Days
Damp Days

I was working all day and it was raining quite hard by the time I got home. Nobody was keen to be going out (I cannot blame them) so I fashioned a rain cover for my camera out of a freezer bag and got ‘down and wet’ amongst the wild flowers and blossom in my garden – Alison somehow found the spectacle of me lying in the wet grass quite funny for some reason 😉 The beauty of flowers are I feel enhanced with a few extra raindrops as decoration.

It was a wet finish to the challenge however the rain made sure it was a fitting challenge. I am not nominating anyone else to take up the challenge however if you feel the urge, feel free to take it on.



Nature Challenge – Day 6 – Family Fun

Yesterday I picked the kids up from school and instead of curling up in front of the Xbox or the iPads off we went to the woods.

I know we get out to the woods on a regular basis however not normally on a school night. I did not know what we would do with our limited time but as it turned out it was surprisingly a lot.

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As soon as we got into Morgaston wood the kids picked up some deer tracks and after sitting for five minutes we were rewarded by spotting a deer crossing one of the paths.

As we trundled along I got them to find some fungi. There was not much around but we did get some King Alfred’s Cakes, some Birch Polypore and some Artists fungi.

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Finding Fungi

The Bluebells were really coming out and there were plenty of Primroses around. Just on the edge of the wood though we spotted our first Cuckoo flowers by a ditch. This is a sturdy little plant as it grows in some really exposed areas however it does have a very dainty look about it.

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Wild Flower Spotting

It was not all learning – there was plenty of time to just explore and get muddy – as you do 🙂

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Just Fun

This was a challenge to myself as I had to watch every step I took in case I re-opened my torn calf muscle – It was worth the effort though.



Nature Challenge – Day 5 – A Bugs Life

How photographers manage to get that perfect shot of insects flying about beats me but I did have fun trying tonight as part of day 5 of my nature challenge.

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I gave up chasing (well hobbling really) and settled down amongst the flowers instead to see what was going on. There was plenty of life on this stitchwort. Not to sure what these little fellas were but they were pretty busy running around.

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There are a lot of bees in our garden at the moment and I spotted this one resting in the grass. Not long after I took this picture she took off and was away in a flash.

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Resting up

I am not sure if this was a hoverfly or a small wasp but the flower it was sitting on was a tiny daisy so that gives you the scale. I took the shot as I could see that is was really covered in pollen.

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Pollen taxi

I spotted some ladybirds and this one seemed to be chasing some aphids about – I take it that it was dinner time 🙂 The picture was shot as the ladybird was standing on the tip of a white dead nettle.

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On the hunt for aphids

My last shot of the evening was of this little ladybird settling down on a nettle leaf. An ideal location for a ladybird to curl up in so as not to become a meal for some other animal.

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A bed of nettles



Nature Challenge – Day 4 – Re-wilding

Last month the theme of the monthly photography competition over on Bushcraft UK was ‘Re-wilding’. I kept my eyes open for a decent shot but to no avail, then of course as soon as the month’s competition closed I spotted lots of locations.

I went out today to capture these scenes of nature starting to re-wild these human-made spots around my village.

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Disappearing phone box

I spotted the disused phone box first. From one angle it looks like it is still in use but from the other side nature is slowly starting to hide it as the ivy envelopes it.

The building below I likened to a vase as it seems to be holding a wide variety of plants from trees, bushes, ivy and (if you get close enough) flowers.

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The building that became a vase

In another location there is an area of land that has had some commercial buildings pulled down. In amongst all the rubble are loads of tyres. They have been there so long now they are teeming with life. At the very bottom you can see the lichen that is colonising many of the tyres.

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Rubber life

My favourite picture was of a burnt-out car that has been left abandoned in this area. Right in the middle of the boot area a small patch of Herb Robert has managed to gain a toehold in this otherwise sterile metal structure.

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Herb robert colonising

Tomorrow’s instalment I think will be on insects as they seem to be becoming active now.



Nature Challenge – Day 3 – Beautiful Blues

Today found me in my garden in my bid to rest up.

As I was contemplating heading out to do some photography for this nature challenge I spotted some beautiful blue wild flowers. The problem I had though was they were all really tiny so out came my macro lens extensions, mini tripod and remote control for my camera.


There was a bit of wind and it was occasionally gusting so I had to be really patient to get a decent shot. The picture above of the forget-me-nots I took in the front garden in view of anyone passing by. The sight of me lying down on the grass taking close ups in front of everyone seemed to amuse my wife Alison and daughter Catherine for some reason 🙂

The next flower was really tiny – ground ivy (aka alehoof or creeping charlie). It was tucked away in a shady corner under a lot of leaf cover. I used all my lens extensions to get this shot right into the centre of the flower.

Ground ivy
Ground ivy

To finish off I spotted an upright bluebell flower. I took this one without the tripod and when the wind suddenly stopped. I think it was worth the perseverance though.

Bluebell (possibly Spanish)
Bluebell (possibly Spanish)

I have no idea what tomorrow will bring in this 7 day challenge but I may venture further afield if I can.



Nature Challenge – Day 2 – Tadpole Tracking

Day 2 of this Nature Challenge found me back home in Bramley. I am really struggling to walk at the moment so I cheated today and jumped into my car and headed off down to one of the ponds in my village.

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Spots along the way

I thought it was time to see what life I could spot in the pond. Along the way I spotted some lovely wild strawberries in amongst the primroses as well as some yellow archangel. Beside it all the arum was starting to push up their spadix ready to transform themselves into things of beauty.

The pond I visited has had tv’s and other detritus dumped into it but it is still quite beautiful ringed with marsh marigolds and a centre of reedmace. There was a slight oil sheen on the surface but that did not seem to hinder the wildlife in any way.

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The Pond

I soon spotted some tadpoles in amongst the decaying material in the pond however on the right you can see a catkin (the pond was strewn with them) from a pussy willow tree.

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Spotted one of the little fellas

In my attempts to get a close shot of a tadpole (they do move fast) I inadvertently snapped a catkin. The complexity and beauty up close of the catkin really surprised me.

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Fine detail – Pussy Willow

Finally I managed to get a half way decent shot of the little fellas. Not the most fearsome creature to track down but they sure are a difficult one to pin down and photograph 🙂

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Thousands appeared



Nature Challenge – Day 1 – Preening Time

I got nominated by my friend Kitty Brown on Facebook for this Nature Challenge that is on the rounds. I am always up for a challenge if it helps me getting out and about.

I am currently teaching a Basic Expedition Leadership course by the side of the Thames river at the Sunbury and Walton Sea Cadet unit (TS Black Swan).

I re-ripped my calf muscle again (not looking where I was going) so I cannot move very far but luckily I spotted these beauties preening themselves in front of the unit.

Preening Time
Preening Time

My home for the weekend is the lovely canal boat the Wee Dram  (Thames Boat Training) that you can see just to the right of the picture.

Seemingly this lasts for 7 days so I may be doing a bit of macro photography in my garden as my mobility for the next few days looks like it will be severely curtailed – then again whoever said a challenge was supposed to be easy 🙂