HOME: BEAUTY IN ISOLATION #2

As promised, here’s the second part of my Beauty in Isolation photographs, taken in our garden in Derbyshire, mainly in lockdown #1. Part one featured our feathered friends whilst this post contains the mammals, insects and flowers, as well as some photographs taken on walks in the local area. Then, at the end, there are a few more of the birds but taken this year in one of January’s many snowfalls.

I’ll start with the squirrels. I think there are three regular visitors – all named Freddy as I can’t tell them apart! They’ve caused their fair share of mischief: breaking bird feeders, digging up bulbs and hiding horse chestnuts around the garden, which they then forget about leading to a great number of tiny trees appearing! However, I think the little scamps are worth it for their entertainment value.

An unexpected garden discovery was a tiny field vole (who we imaginatively named Voley). To begin with, we just spotted little movements in the undergrowth – it took a long time to establish that it wasn’t a bird or mouse – and then it became something of an obsession trying to get a good view of him from inside. Eventually, he was actually fine with me being within a couple of metres away with my camera. He lived in a very old wall, visible from our kitchen window, and would busily dart back and forth, pottering about, nibbling leaves, collecting nest materials and happily munching on the bird feed I left out from time to time. So cute! I’m hoping we’ll see some descendants this year.

Now for some insects. As with the birds and the vole, it’s easy to begin to ascertain patterns of behaviour if you sit and watch for a little while. That allows you to make predictions of where they’ll land/hover and be ready for them. (I took upward of 300 photographs of the hoverfly to get these three more or less focused ones!)

Next up, for a bit of a change, are some flowers. I can’t identify them all but the first two photographs are of one I only learnt about last year – the fairly rare snake’s head fritillary, so-called because the interior looks like snake skin.

By the end of May, I was so taken by the variety of flowers in the garden (can’t take any credit for them – it was our first year in the house so we were enjoying seeing what grew) that I decided to make these rainbow representations of it.

Having only moved into our house in November 2019, we had loads of new walking routes to explore from the front door, which we did with Indy strapped in a sling on one of our fronts. I didn’t take my camera out much but here are a few photographs from last spring along with a few of one of our local buzzards which I took a couple of weeks ago.

And finally, back to our garden for some snowy shots taken in January. I loved how the birds seemed to slow down and just sit to watch it fall. Check out the final photo of a pair of robins appearing to play in the snow!

That’s your lot. I’d love to say that my next post will be from somewhere far away but we’ll have to wait and see!

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