Red Kite at Bwlch Nant y Arian

The Red Kite feeding station at Bwlch Nant y Arian in Wales is a wonderful way to see these beautiful raptors close up. This is a joint project between the Forestry Commission of Wales and the RSPB. Strictly speaking these are not raptors in the ‘Wild’ as they fly in to be fed. But given that this species was persecuted to extinction in England, Scotland and most of Wales it is an amazing privilege to be able to stand at the lake edge and watch these huge birds in flight. Successfully photographing them on the wing is all together another matter… this one was benefiting from a food mugging out of shot.

I am going back to Wales in September and part of the plan is to photograph them in the mountains. Well that’s the plan………….

More information on Red Kites here: http://www.redkites.co.uk

More information on Bwlch Nant y Arian here: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/bwlchnantyrarian

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Labyrinth Spider on Crook Peak

At this time of the year, the funnel webs are all over the south side of the Mendip. Labyrinths are a dull grey-brown colour so they go largely unnoticed. It’s only when they start building their webs that they draw attention to themselves, especially early in the morning with the dew still on them.

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I happened upon this one quite by accident as I walked off Crook Peak towards Compton Bishop. Normally the first sight of a camera lens sends the spider off down the spiralling labyrinth to protect it’s eggs but this one was prepared to stand her ground. Once she realised that I wasn’t a threat she would return to the narrow opening at the base of the funnel to wait for fresh prey, so I didn’t have a lot of time to set up the shot. Apart from photographing snails when is there much time?

Great Green Bush Cricket

Drying out in the early evening sun during a rare break in the otherwise continuous rain this summer. We think that this is a female nymph. The adults are one of the largest insects found in Britain.

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Chalkhill Blues on the Polden Hills

Continuous rain and very few sunny days has made photographing anything challenging. On the rare occasions that it has been sunny and dry there has also been a strong wind that has kept butterflies on the wing and seldom static for long. Finding these two coupling in a hollow that sheltered them from the worst of the wind was an amazing stroke of luck.

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