Marvellous Moths morning at Beth Chatto Gardens – early June
Chris Gibson Wildlife Blog | Wildlife and Nature Photographer
by Chris Gibson
20h ago
It was the first of our new Marvellous Moth mornings in Beth Chatto Gardens. It was early June, the start of the peak season for moths, in terms of both number and variety. Usually! But this year, the seasons have other ideas. The perfect storm: a cold north-easterly airflow for the last six weeks has delayed Spring by several weeks, on top of last summer’s record high temperatures and drought which fried the larvae of many insects, all coming after eight post-war decades of pesticide profligacy … perhaps it is not surprising that the contents of the moth trap we ran the night previously were ..read more
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Bavaria by train: the way home – Frankfurt & Brussels
Chris Gibson Wildlife Blog | Wildlife and Nature Photographer
by Chris Gibson
4d ago
There are a few calling points on the ICE trains between Regensburg and Brussels, but we thought for our first trip of this type we would stop over in the largest city, Frankfurt, for a couple of nights. Having travelled down the Rhine then up the Main on the way out, we had already had a snapshot of the riverine views, and once there, the pleasant river walks between lines of hydra-like Plane pollards and cotton-drifting Black Poplars casting some welcome shade gave good views of the economic powerhouse that is the city… … an urban jungle with canyons of glass and steel which harboured ..read more
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Bavaria by train: Regensburg and area
Chris Gibson Wildlife Blog | Wildlife and Nature Photographer
by Chris Gibson
5d ago
The filling in our sandwich holiday was spent in and around Regensburg, a small city we have always loved, sitting at the northernmost reach of the Danube, here some 100m wide, its reinforced banks covered in Rue-leaved Saxifrage. A World Heritage Site by virtue of its historic buildings, not reconstructed as it was little-bombed during the war, the architecture is very attractive: wherever you are, there are the distinctive open-lattice twin steeples of the cathedral. Regensburg is also home to one of the very best botanic gardens I have ever seen. In its 4.5 hectares it has taxonomic b ..read more
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Bavaria by train: the way there – Brussels & Cologne
Chris Gibson Wildlife Blog | Wildlife and Nature Photographer
by Chris Gibson
1w ago
Just before the pandemic, we had our first long-distance overseas train holiday of more than a couple of days, to Switzerland. The success of that, together with the delight of clear blue, unsullied skies during Covid, made us resolve to continue with the 6% club as our preferred mode of travel, and so for our return to Europe, we spent 10 days visiting family in Bavaria travelling by train. The great thing about train travel, apart for the lower emissions, is that you can see the landscape slipping by and change as you get further from home, and that you can extend your holiday by explo ..read more
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The Wild Side of Essex with Naturetrek: late spring along the Colne Estuary
Chris Gibson Wildlife Blog | Wildlife and Nature Photographer
by Chris Gibson
1w ago
Although not as sunny as forecast, and still with that persistent northerly breeze that has been niggling away all Spring, today’s exploration of the Wild Side of Essex with a small (but perfectly formed!) group of two provided almost all of what we hoped for. By late May, as expected, all of the wintering northerly wildfowl and waders had gone, leaving just a few Shelducks (one pair with brand new chicks), Redshanks and Oystercatchers, the latter including our celebrity leucistic friend who has graced us with its ethereal presence for several years now. Overhead, a couple of Hobbies were h ..read more
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East Grove, Wrabness – small but perfectly formed!
Chris Gibson Wildlife Blog | Wildlife and Nature Photographer
by Chris Gibson
1M ago
Essex as a county abounds in ancient woods, more by area than in the whole of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire put together. I have known East Grove on the southern bank of the Stour Estuary for forty years, and always felt that it is one of the very best, despite its small size. Squeezed into its couple of hectares is an active Sweet Chestnut coppice, with Oak and Field Maple trees, and THE most diverse ground flora for its size I have seen. Bluebells of course abound, but after their first flush, the monochrome blue vista is punctured with white Greater Stitchwort and Wood Anemone. And ..read more
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The Wild Side of Beth Chatto Gardens: a Great Awakening…
Chris Gibson Wildlife Blog | Wildlife and Nature Photographer
by Chris Gibson
1M ago
There comes a time in any year when the passage of Spring suddenly accelerates into a headlong tumble into Summer. Today was that day in the garden. Held back for so long by the April cold winds and gloom, today the celebration of life and the new season was palpable. Aided by the stilled air and the humidity which culminated in some very spiky showers and ferocious grumbles of thunder, bird song was everywhere, from warbly Wrens and Blackcaps, through wheezing Greenfinches and tinkling Goldcrests, to a stately Song Thrush and the most beautiful of all, several joyful Blackbirds. Insects, fo ..read more
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#WildEssexWalks – Wivenhoe Wood: Bluebells and much more…
Chris Gibson Wildlife Blog | Wildlife and Nature Photographer
by Chris Gibson
1M ago
Two walks, same place, two days, very different weather conditions resulted in a diverse range of wildlife discovered on our WildEssex walks this month, and this little write-up contains some of  the ‘best bits’ of both. Wivenhoe Wood is always a joy to spend time in – and Bluebell time is especially wonderful. That amazing blue, with an occasional heady whiff of intoxicating scent – a feast for the senses! And accompanied by a banquet for the ears with birdsong from a myriad of our feathered friends  – on the sunnier day these included Firecrest and Treecreeper, whilst on the foll ..read more
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Cockaynes Reserve : Spring nudges in…
Chris Gibson Wildlife Blog | Wildlife and Nature Photographer
by Chris Gibson
1M ago
The birdsong! My first Nightingales, Whitethroats and Reed Warblers competing for earspace with Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Cetti’s Warblers provided a lovely, constant backdrop to a sunny morning round Cockaynes Reserve. But the wind still chilled, a north-easterly flow keeping temperatures down and holding back the Spring yet further in what is already a tardy season. Nevertheless, the trees and shrubs are bursting into flower and leaf: … but my favourite Crab Apple, ever the indicator, still in tight bud. Compare that with the same tree, the same date, a year ago… Out in the open and ..read more
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Springmead Garden, Brightlingsea
Chris Gibson Wildlife Blog | Wildlife and Nature Photographer
by Chris Gibson
1M ago
Today, we were invited along to Springmead Garden in Brightlingsea to talk about Wildlife Gardening with Julie Ford, the Head Gardener and a group of local people. It was my second, and Jude’s first, visit to this delightful secret garden in the heart of Brightlingsea. As soon as we entered the garden, leaving the noise of the busy road behind, the importance of this green space became apparent with Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Wren, Blue Tits and Robins in song, along with Blackbird and Song Thrush singing from the nearby trees, a Greenfinch wheezing and House Sparrows chirruping merrily. Embraced ..read more
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