Tuesday, 27 December 2011


Wishing each and everyone a very Happy New Year from Wildlife and Landscapes.com

I hope 2012 brings you peace and happiness were ever you are in the World. Lets not forget that the Wildlife that we enjoy watching needs our help more than ever so that future generations can also enjoy the amazing sights and sounds of our Worlds unique Wildlife.

Wildlife and Landscapes will return in the New Year.

Happy 2012 everyone.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Eagle Owl

The eyes of an Eagle Owl

While I am recovering from a heavy cold, I was going through some of my old photos and came across two of an Eagle Owl that I would like to share with you.

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to have a close encounter with an Eagle Owl while traveling through Scotland.
It was the eyes of the Owl that caught me, deep and piercing.

Eagle Owls are very large birds of prey, and would take a Buzzard if they had to. Also heavy...But it was a moment I will never forget to have such a bird of prey perched on my hand.

I visited another bird of prey centre a few years prior ti this, I will post some of the shots in the coming weeks.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Recent Images

Selection of recent Photographs

As I have not been up-dating my blog for a bit due to work commitments I thought it was time to show some recent images.

I paid a visit to the Somerset levels last weekend looking for Autumn fungi, quite a lot have been taken by people, but did manage to find some species.

This time of year is good to find the iconic Fungi Fly Agaric, this shot below is of the cap, once the rain arrives this will turn Orange.

Below: And as you would normally see the Fly Agaric fungi, if the rain is heavy the white creamy spots will get washed away from the cap.

Many myths surround this fungi from the uses by the Shamen mixing it with Raindeer Urine, also it is said that if you sleep with a dried piece under your pillow it will promote visionary dreams. (But please do not try this).

                                  Further along I managed to find some Shaggy Inkcaps (below).

And one I was really pleased to find was this species below of the Yellowing Woodwax. I will be looking out for more species in the coming weeks as Autumn progresses.

On a recent walk along the shore line of Dawlish Warren I came across this skeleton of an old boat, I have been walking the shore line of this area for many years and never seen this before.

A walk along the Exeter Ship Canal yesterday, many boats were heading to the lock gates, this one looked rather photogenic through the reeds as the sun burst through the cloud cover.

                       Another sudden sun burst (below) as a flock of Geese flew towards the Rver Exe.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Tracks and Signs (2)

Jay Feather - Glastonbury

While out walking through the fields close to Glastonbury Tor in Somerset, I watched a pair of Jays in a tree, they can be quite loud with their calls. I had always wanted to find a Jay feather, as they flew out of the tree I asked them to leave a feather behind for me to find.

To my surprise a short distance later I found this Jay feather. This is called the 'Alula' very small in length and is situated at the 'thumb' remnants of the wing.

Not all birds have 'Alula' feathers. So I was both fortunate and pleased to have this tiny Jay feather.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Tracks and Signs (1)

Barn Owl Pellet

On my travels looking at Wildlife I have often collected things like bird feathers and Pellets when I am lucky enough to find one. So it got me thinking that it would be good to introduce a new section on my blog called Tracks and Signs.

The First one is of a Barn Owl Pellet I found in Somerset close to were a pair of Barn Owls roost.

After allowing the pellet to soak for a while I used tweezers to prize away the pellet as it is a mass of fur. Then managed to locate the skulls and bones of what the Owl had digested.
Above is the Skulls and also some of the bones of what I understand is a Vole but this is to be confirmed.

                            The larger skull does look somewhat different to the smaller skull.
In the next Tracks and Signs I will be starting to look at Feathers collected.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

London Wetland Centre

Tuesday 13th September 2011

First visit to the London Wetland Centre at Barnes today. Turned out to be a quiet day not too many birds to be seen. The heavy showers kept coming during the afternoon, before clearing up and feeling quite warm the sun came out.

Photographed this Juvenile Moorhen that was very inquisitive with the pond weed. There has been a Juvenile Ruff present for the last few days on the main lake.

The Ruff seen bottom left of the Grey Heron. Soon after it just vanished to one of the islands and went missing for hours. Overhead a Hobby was chasing some of the House Martins and a Peregrine was also chasing a meal, not sure if either was successful.

The numbers of Gadwall are now increasing I had counted 103 with 67 Teal and 65 Shoveler. Also present was a single Widgeon.

A solitary Common Sandpiper showed up briefly, these are distant views so apologies for the poor quality of some of the shots.

This stunning Little Grebe gave very good close views on the main lake, the female was close by.

Away from the hides, overhead the noisy but charming Ringed-necked Parakeets flew around the reserve. a Single Blackcap and three Chiffchaff's were seen in the bushes near the Wader Scrape hide.

Monday, 12 September 2011

A Night at the Abbey

A Night at Glastonbury Abbey
Friday 9th September 2011

A very special evening at Glastonbury Abbey, Somerset on Friday evening. For the second year running the Abbey put on a special evening of music together with the ruins of the stunningly beautiful Glastonbury Abbey lit up. The Abbey is normally closed of an evening so a special chance to enjoy some delightful music and the Abbey under lights.

Please enjoy some of the best shots of the Abbey here as the sun went down and then by magic after a dull day the full moon appeared.

It is recorded the Abbey was standing back in the year 600 and was destroyed by fire in 1184 and then re-built.

These ruins dated from 1184 through to 1539 when the Abbey was seized under orders of King Henry V111 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Demolished gradually and the stone used for building stone. Legend has it that the remains of King Arthur and his Queen Guinevere were found by the Monks and re-buried in the Chancel. Also in the grounds stands the Glastonbury Holy Thorn Tree, which flowers twice a year. Legend has it that Joseph of Arimathea plunged his staff into the ground and then it burst into leaf.

Above, the full Moon as seen through one of the ruins arch windows.
        The Grounds cover 36 acres and from it's own Orchards produce some award winning Cider.                          

Monday, 29 August 2011

Dawlish Warren

                                                            Saturday 27th August 2011

I headed off to Dawlish Warren this morning, the continued threat of rain which seems to have been ever present this last few weeks was again hanging in the air. Main reason for heading to Dawlish Warren was to find a Wild Orchid that is the last to flower in the Orchid season.

It did not take too long to find the Autumn Ladies Tresses Orchid, there was quite a few now in flower. The Orchid itself is described as being 'near Threatened' so when at this time of year I go in search of this Orchid it is still a special feeling to see them. The flower spike is very delicate and has a row of tubular white flowers often in a spiral pattern around the flower spike. They are generally found in Southern England from the Isles of Scilly to Kent, with a few scattered sites further North.
The height of the Orchid is 3-15cm so really very small and fragile. The flowers are pollinated by Bumblebees. The flowers are not self pollinating.
 Managed to get a good Macro shot of the flowers itself, please click on the photo for a larger image. The orchid is one of may favourite of the orchid season.

A lot of rain had fallen over the previous 24 hours and the Reeds were laden with rain water. I played around with this shot when at home, and it  certainly looks better in Black and White.

I found this fungi off the beaten track I think it maybe a Ugly Milkcap, but please correct me if I am wrong.

Futher along I found these Jelly Ears fungi, but these were grwoing at ground level, so I maybe slighly wrong here.

Lots of birds now on the move and also arriving back from their breeding grounds. Some of the Swallows are gathering. The Curlews are returning now and I had counted 49 roosting along the shoreline close the railway, along with 17 Little Egrets and many Dunlins and Ringed Plovers. Overhead the Sandwich Terns were back and forth fishing off the coast. Also about 250 noisy Oystercatchers were gathering on the shingle bank.

Doing a bit of beachcombing found some very large driftwood, again in photoshop I gave it sepia look and I hope you agree it makes it a better shot.

Above one of the many Northern Wheatears seen today. They are now gathering along the South Coasts feeding up and ready for the big lift off back to Africa for the Winter.

At low tide there was a fishing boat resting on the mud,  not sure if this was meant to be here like this or if they were doing some DIY on the boat, like removing barnacles from its bottom...sounds very painful to me.

              Above a lovely shot of an Evening Primrose with raindrops twinkling in the sunlight.

A moody shot of one of the groins along the shoreline at Dawlish Warren Nature reserve. In the not to distant future there will be many shore birds feeding along here.

A Small White Butterfly resting on Bramble enjoying the Warm sunshine. Of the other Butterflies, Common Blue and Speckled Wood were seen today.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Peaceful Kew Gardens

                                                           Kew Gardens
                              Saturday 20th August 2011

I travelled from my home in Somerset to visit Kew Gardens, as the weather forcast was not that brilliant, so I thought I would avoid the rain. Sadly it followed me and the rain fell very heavily for nearly three hours., before and after the Sun shone and it was a lovely peaceful setting.

                Please enjoy a small selection of the photographs taken before and after the heavy rain,

The Pagoda above is the centre of attraction, once upon a time you could climb to the top, sadly no longer. The views were spectactular.

                              Above, found these fungi growing in the shelter of some Pine Trees.

Below, I was walking across the bridge over the main Lake, and saw this refection of the sky in the lake.

A sign of Autumn (below) with Acorns and Pine  Cones, Autumn seems to be ariving early this year, with some of the trees now showing signs of slowing down and changing Colour.

                       Found this fly resting on some berries just after the rain finally ceased.

                      Kew Gardens is World famous for it's Water Lillies, just two shots below

If you live in and around Kew you will know all about the Ring-necked Parakeets, noisey but they bring a little colour and charm, though some may think they are taking over..it would be a shame to lose them.

If the Weather holds in September I shall be back at Kew looking at the changing of the Seasons and the colours. My favourite time of year.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Walk on the Wild Side

Ham Wall and Shapwick Heath, Somerset Levels. Saturday 6th August 2011

Early light rain, dampened the spirits for a while and kept everything quiet and no sign of Butterflies until the Sun appeared at lunchtime for a while.
I came across this Hoverfly (Syrphus ribestii) not seen too many Hoverflies this Summer to post. early damp Summer may have something to do with this.
This friendly Rabbit (below) did not seem to mind me getting too close. Shortly after he had his photograph taken he departed into the hedgerow.

After the showers finally cleared away the sun finally appeared and it got quite warm and still, and the Butterflies duely appeared.

The Red Admiral (above) was the most common Butterfly seen today, not often get the chance to get a shot of one with it's wings closed.

I spotteed this Longhorn Beetle (Stragalia maculata) feeding on the flower heads. Click for a larger copy and you can see it is covered in pollen.

This was a first for me to find this Ichneumon Wasp (Diphyus quadripunctorius).

This Common Blue Butterfly looked so peaceful just resting in the warm sun gave me one of those delightful shots that only the Common Blue give you.

Soon it was back into Glastonbury and then home. Already looking forward to my next Walk on the Wildside.