Over the last few weeks I’ve been watching a pair of Blue Tits in the trees opposite my windows. I think they’re nesting somewhere under the roof of my block of flats, although I can’t see that from my window as they are entering from the side. I can see them very well in the tree opposite my window though and with the warmer weather this weekend I used the opportunity to take a few pictures. They are only about 4 metres away, so I was able to take some nice close up shots, especially when they sat on one specific branch:
I hope you’re enjoying the pictures as I’m enjoying watching the Blue Tits hopping around in the trees and flying over to where I think their nest is. Should I get a chance I’ll try to take some video of them over the coming weeks.
My first real day out for over a year since the pandemic started, my last big day out before was a trip to Oxford on the day I picked up my new car (which stiil has less than 2,000 miles on the clock) at the end of January 2020. Spurred on by memories of May 2020 where we had some beautiful sunny weather (but couldn’t get out much under lockdown) I had decided to take a week off in May 2021 for some first tentative steps to get out a bit further than the local walks and weekly trip to the supermarket. Of course the weather didn’t really cooperate, although I probably picked the best day for the only real trip I managed to get in:
After not having been for probably more than a decade I decided to visit Westonbirt Arboretum, in the hope of some nice spring colours. A few days before I pre-booked my ticket online, for the time being admission is only with pre-booked tickets so that they can control visitor numbers and make sure it doesn’t get overcrowded, allowing social distancing to keep everyone safe. After an uneventful drive I arrived at 11:00 to some mostly cloudy weather with occasional showers. Luckily the clouds broke up early afternoon, giving me some beautiful sunny intervals to enjoy the colours. My hopes for some beautiful May colours were certainly fulfilled, lots of plants in bloom and a lot of fresh greens (and reds). I took a lot of pictures, here are 10 of my favourites:
I spent the whole day until closing time at 17:00 walking around, discovering new views, new trees, new colours, new plants, revisiting places for different light after the sun came out and more. It wasn’t busy most of the time, I think through a combination of the pre-booked tickets and the not very promising weather forecast (with the weather turning out much better than forecasted luckily). Some features (e.g. small parts of the treetop walk) were closed to ensure social distancing, but the vast majority was open. My enjoyment of the arboretum wasn’t diminished at all. The staff was friendly and helpful when I needed them. All in all a great day out, I felt safe pretty much throughout and enjoyed the May colours I had come for.
On my return journey I decided to a small bonus and made a detour to an old haunt of mine, a place I had visited many times when I first arrived in the UK, Avebury. I didn’t stay long, but had a nice time revisiting familiar views.
I arrived back home in the evening very tired, but also very satisfied after a great day out.
Having decided not to travel to Islay because of the Covid-19 pandemic this year I had a two week staycation at home in West Berkshire. Unfortunately the weather didn’t turn out as nice as I had hoped, so I didn’t get out for walks as much as I had thought (I ended up visiting a Swedish furniture store and completing some home improvements I had thought about for a while instead). Still, I managed to squeeze in a few short sunny walks along the Kennet & Avon Canal allowing me to take a few nice autumnal pictures (click on the pictures for the full size gallery):
Except for the first picture (which is from my flat overlooking the canal in Aldermaston Wharf) all the pictures are from the towpath from Aldermaston Wharf walking west towards Woolhampton. Some really nice autumnal colours around, especially over the second week. All the pictures were taken with my large wide angle zoom lens (14-24mm, mostly towards the 14mm), allowing me to capture some big views of the trees and their autumn colours.
It was a very nice sunny spring day in West Berkshire today, so I went for another walk in the countryside near the village. I had hoped I might still be able to see some Bluebells, but couldn’t really find any. Didn’t see anything spectacular, so here are three fairly mundane pictures of a big tree, some cattle in the sunshine and a butterfly on a leaf:
(Click on the pictures for the larger versions)
I hope you had a nice weekend as well, hopefully spring and soon summer continue to be nice.
As it was mostly cloudy today with only occasional bright moments I decided to just go on a short walk along the Kennet and Avon Canal. I still took my camera, this time with the 50mm prime lens, giving me a different challenge compared to the zooms I usually use. About a mile and a half into the walk a very heavy rain shower arrived (not forecasted when I left, but then suddenly showing on the weather app…). I decided to wait it out in the shelter of the tree, using the opportunity to try and take pictures of the rain. After about half an hour the rain stopped and for a short while there was even some bright sunshine.