Monday, 30 December 2013

Get ready, 2014 is on its way!

Well, that's Xmas over for another year. I trust that you had a pleasant one and that Santa bought you the things you wanted. Now that most of the mince pies have been demolished and the Xmas dinner leftovers have been consumed, it's time to start planning for the new year ahead. Have you got any things you would like to do, see or be involved in?

As always, I have lots of stuff I want to do, but if I actually get round to doing it is another matter. But here's an idea that you might like to try, 1000 for 1KSQ. This blog originally started on a similar thing I was trying a couple of years back, however, time and the fact that I'm not really good at making lists meant I failed miserably, twice. However, this is slightly different and you have to try and find 1000 species in a 1km square of your choosing. It's a great way of finding new species to you and what is really out there, maybe you can do it as a family thing or a weekend thing when you're away from work. It's as good a reason as any to get out there and start exploring your local wildlife.

Maybe you could decide to spend a year studying a particular creature, be it insect, bird, reptile or mammal. You will be surprised how much you can learn from such simple studies. One of my major plans this year involves bumblebees, as you may know, and I'll be building an indoor nest box for them to build their hive in. Watch this space!

You could spend the year moth trapping by running a simple, homemade moth trap every weekend in your garden/backyard. You will be totally amazed at the amount of wonderfully patterned moths that are flying over your garden every night. My little trap that I built a couple of years ago, caught over 500 moths in one night last summer. In total over the year I trapped over 3,500 moths and 260+ species. This was a fantastic way to observe wonderful creatures that we don't usually see. Some of them even laid eggs which I grew on. A fantastic experience which I'm looking forward to seeing hatch in the spring. The trap is getting a little tired and out of shape now so I'll be building a new moth trap soon and will be showing you how you can do the same thing in the upcoming weeks. Join me, you won't regret it.

There's plenty of surveys to get involved in starting with the Big Garden Birdwatch which is on January 25-26th. As always, there will be plenty going on throughout the year. Reader and fellow blogger Ryan Clark recorded 400 species in his garden in 2013. You can see the list here. Why don't you see how many species you can find in your garden? Who knows, you might get a surprise like I did and find a completely new species to your area/county or even country. You never know unless you try.

Maybe you could do a course at one of the many Field Studies Council centres dotted around the country or with one of your local Wildlife Trust's. They have so much on offer and you can learn so much from one of these courses. It may even fire up a new interest for you.

Another way of learning is by joining a society such as the British Naturalist's Association, Amateur Entomologist's Society, Bumblebee Conservation TrustBritish Dragonfly Society or your local naturalist group or wildlife trust to name just a few. Whatever your interest is, I'm sure you'll find a group or society for it. Many of which will run workshops, talks and even outings where you can meet lots of like minded people like yourself and learn new stuff.

Just remember, you don't have to be an expert to get involved. You don't need degrees or ology's, you just need the enthusiasm and and eagerness to do it. The internet is filled with websites and social media that is there to help you, such as iSpot and iRecord. The more people out there getting involved with nature helps nature to help us. Simple things such as recording damselflies on your local pond, or butterflies in your back garden go a long way in the grand scheme of things.

So, like a container ship thats unloaded all of its cargo, 2013 begins to slip its mooring and gently drifts off out, into the past. We wave a welcome 2014 as it comes into view over the horizon and begin to wonder what it has in store for us. Whatever is in its vast cargo hold, I hope it has plenty of joyful happiness in store for you and a year of new adventure and discovery awaits for you.

Happy new year to each and every one of you and your families.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

A year of wonderful experiences.

Hello dear reader and my apologies for not posting of late, but as you can imagine, what with the season and all, I've been a little bit busy. But now it is Xmas eve and just a couple of small last minute pressies to source and then we can sit back and relax. 

From one wonder to another.

Last time I told you about the wondrous spectacle of seeing a Peregrine Falcon dive at speed to catch an out of sight pigeon. It truly was fantastic to see and I wish you could have all been there to see it too.

Well, I was hoping to have more wonderful delights to share with you and when I saw a tweet from @RSPBintheEast to say that there were around 10,000 starlings roosting at Minsmere. That said, the following day, I jumped in the car and headed down towards Eastbridge, where Minsmere is located. I pulled into a small lay-by near the reed beds the starlings were seen roosting, prep'd my camera and waited. The sky was clear and cold, the river which rang under the road at Eastbridge was still running high.
Exceptionally high water.
This was the result of the recent storm surge and high tides along the east coast. But the water wasn't getting any higher, so I felt quite safe. As the sun got lower and lower in the sky, I continued my vigil scanning the horizon in the hope of seeing some sign of a murmuration. The Suffolk coast landscape being so flat is ideal for this as you can see for quite some way in all directions. I even had the binoculars out in case I missed something far away, but still nothing. Eventually, the sun set and the light rapidly vanished and I never saw a single starling, which left me with this thought, 'I wonder where they went?'

The highlights of the year!

Well, what an eventful year it's been. I've met some wonderful people and had some great experiences.

In March I witnessed a starling murmuration in Ipswich. Something I've been trying again to catch this autumn, but without much luck I'm afraid.

Yet, in my seeking for it this autumn, I did get to see a Sparrowhawk fly by and catch its prey.

I've had the moth trap up and running every weekend for most of the year catching some fantastic moths I've never seen before. A Poplar Hawkmoth laid some eggs in my trap which gave me great pleasure rearing on to pupation. 
Poplar hawkmoth caterpillars
My neighbour brought me round a female Emperor moth which laid around 100 eggs, again these were truly fascinating to watch them eat and grow. The majority are now hanging in a basket on the side of my wife's studio in the garden awaiting the warm rays of spring.
A beautiful moth with her eggs
I learned how to pin and display insects.

Went on a wonderful course learning all about hoverflies, robber flies and soldier flies with Martin Harvey (Highly recommended)

I saw a Swallowtail butterfly fly over my garden. The first one reported in Ipswich since 1998. 

I had a record moth count from one nights trapping in my garden of over 520 moths! (It took 3 days to ID the lot of them)

I (with help from the wifey) found a Banded General Soldier fly which hadn't been recorded in my 10km square in 119 years!
Stratiomys potamidas better known as the Banded General.

Came across some lovely Stag beetle larvae whilst working in my in-laws garden.

Very large and amazing stag beetle larvae
I was the first person to record a Rhyparochromus vulgaris seed bug in Suffolk!
New to Suffolk Rhyparochromus vulgaris
I was asked to give a talk to the children of Trimley Primary School on minibeasts and pollinators, which I (and them) loved.

I won a category in the Suffolk Wildlife Trust's photo competition.

I also got the job as Education and Events Volunteer with Suffolk Wildlife Trust. 

Got to do more voluntary work on Purdis Heath.

Most of the above happened in my own garden, which isn't huge by any means. It's there if we choose to look for it, it's right under our noses and because sometimes we don't see it, it doesn't mean it's not there!

What to expect in 2014!

Well, I have some plans in the pipeline, one of which includes an indoor bumblebee nest with live webcam so that you can see the comings and goings of one of our favourite insects.

I'm hoping to continue my bat survey of a local ancient wood near me that's never been surveyed before, which I had to put on hold last year due to injury.

I also will be more involved in recording hoverflies next year especially at Purdis Heath SSSI.

I want to also get more involved with recording the insects at Purdis Heath.

I will also be running my moth trap as per usual and I look forward to hatching out the pupae of the moths I reared in 2013.

I'm also looking to forward to new challenges especially with SWT and who knows, I might even have new events on the horizon to look forward to.

This is just some of the stuff I hope to be up to in 2014, but what about you? Do you have any plans or projects you're thinking of doing? I look forward to hearing from you.

That's about it for now, it's Xmas eve, the mad rush is over and it just leaves me to do one more thing.

Hope you all have a wonderful Xmas and you all get what you wanted and more.
Be sensible, be safe and we'll meet up again after the Xmas pud has gone down. 

Merry Xmas

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Wow! What a dive!

Hello dear reader, hope all is well in your little world and things are ticking along nicely for you. Been a bit busy of late with the run up to Xmas. However, I was awoken with a start on Thursday when the wifey on getting ready for exclaimed, "I think it snowed last night!" I jumped out of bed to see if what she was saying was true, however, it wasn't. It was instead a heavy frost that had not only covered the cars, but the road too and in the dim light of pre-dawn, did look like a dusting of snow had fallen. I was up now and the wife reminded me that I should take this golden opportunity to go our and get some nice crispy frost shots in the dawn light that was now emerging. So after a cup of coffee and a bowl of cornflakes, I was off in the cold frostiness of the morning, destination as usual was my local patch Purdis Heath.

Once there I started to seek out some nice crispy views, however, the frost here wasn't so thick as back home and search as I did, I could not find anything to inspire me. I wandered around for about an hour before deciding to call it a morning. Then, as I walked back to the car I heard what at first I thought was a woodpecker. I stopped and waited for it again, but called out again and I thought it just didn't sound right for a woodpecker, then it called once more and I located the source. High above me in the blue sky a crow was cawing it as it mobbed a rather large bird of prey. I quickly whipped out my bins (binoculars) and just got focused on it to see it was a Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus). Then it done something I never expected whilst I watched it intently through the bins. It suddenly folded its wings back, tilted forward and accelerated at such a speed I could hardly keep the bins on it. It disappeared behind some trees and as I lowered the bins I saw a sudden explosion of wood pigeons flying off in different directions from the golf course. The birds must have been feeding on the nice clear fairways and must've stuck out a mile to the peregrine overhead.

So although I never got any nice photos, I got a sight I would've happily paid to see, a peregrine in a dive. The peregrine is the fastest animal on Earth with dives measured at over 200mph! The peregrine usually hits it prey at such a speed as to stun it, then turns to collect its stunned dinner. They have been noted to be nesting under the Orwell Bridge and last year on one of the quayside cranes at the Languard terminal on Felixstowe docks.

The cocoon from the lagoon.

Saturday found me with a little free time on my hands and with the weather looking sunny, yet chilly I decided to try somewhere new. Somewhere I have been meaning to check out for some time now, Suffolk Wildlife Trust's Levington Lagoon.

As you can see from the link, the reserve was formed 60 years ago by the notorious great flood of 1953. Something we had a repetition of lately, but without the disastrous consequences. It's only a few minutes from where I live, just past the lovely little village of Nacton at the bottom of Strattonhall Drift. There's ample parking for about 6 cars if everyone parks considerately and although not well signposted, if you tap the postcode of IP10 0LH into your satnav/smartphone, this should take you pretty close to the car park.

Ample parking at the car park.
As I said, it was a chilly day with a cutting offshore wind. It wasn't long before I bumped into a birder who told me that he'd been watching a Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) down by the sluice. These are one of those birds that have a confusing name because the Grey Wagtail is actually yellow in colour. Compare that to the very common Pied Wagtail (M alba) which is seen walking around most car parks in the UK and is more grey than the Grey Wagtail. However, that said there is also the Yellow Wagtail (M flava) which is a kind of greeny yellow and definitely has less grey than the Grey and Pied Wagtail put together. Confusing I know, unless of course, unlike me, you're a birder. The birder also went on to tell me that he often sees a Kingfisher sitting above the sluice, but it wasn't about today unfortunately. On finding out I wasn't a birder he kindly told me where I could see Golden Plover's (Pluviarias apricaria) too. Unfortunately, not being the birder type, I really couldn't say for certain what a Golden Plover looks like, so I might have seen them and didn't know it when I decided to go off wandering. 

I must say, as lovely as I find the scenery of a coastal environment, I am more of a land lubber myself. I love being in the countryside in fields, heathland or woodland. I struggle with estuaries, thick mud and being exposed to the wind which seems to blow incessantly. Yet, these sites are still important and I'm not suggesting they be ripped up or anything, I'm just saying it's not really my bag. However, I wasn't going to let my inner issues put me off and I continued with my walk into the cutting wind.

One of the first things I noticed in the mud just past the entrance gate were tracks, not dog tracks, but deer tracks.

Deer tracks, possibly Muntjac.
The small, paired indentations of the cloven hooves could quite clearly be seen and were most likely that of a Muntjac Deer (Muntiacus reevesi). A Chinese deer that was accidentally released into the UK countryside after captives at Woburn Park in Bedfordshire escaped. They are now widespread across the UK and cause untold damage to saplings by nibbling the protective bark from the trunks. They are also often seen dead on many a roadside through collisions with motor vehicles.

As I walked along the path, it was quite clear this site is a wonderful place for birders as the air around me began to fill with strange and weird wonderful noises of bird calls. At one point I heard feint noises sounding like 'tseep, tseep' as a flock of about 20 Redwings (Turdis iliacus) flew over. I confirmed this later with the RSPB website which allows you to play recordings of bird calls.

Trying to see the dark shapes amid the bushes was a pointless task but it did draw my attention to one tree in particular which was bare except for some weird attachments on some of the branches.

Three clearly obvious attachments.
Taking a closer look, I could see that they were indeed cocoons. However, cocoons of what I a m not sure. I noticed the tip of one branch with a cocoon on was broken slightly, so I removed it with my trusty knife taking care not to damage the cocoon.

Another cocoon wrapped deep within the safety of thorns.
And a closer look.
Although I'm not sure whether these are lepidoptera or arachnid cocoons, Max Barclay of the Natural History Museum, through the medium of Twitter reckons they may be Lackey Moth (Malacosoma neustria) which feed on Hawthorn and Blackthorn and are resident in the southern half of Britain. Needless to say, the cocoon I removed is now sitting in my garden to overwinter till next year when I can see it emerge and can then confirm what it is.

As I continued my walk along the lagoon, boats sailing back to their berths along the Orwell river made for some nice photo opportunities.
Sailing by.
I could see in the distance along the shoreline the various dippers, but they were too far away for me to get any photos. Then filling the sky ahead of me, was a flock of birds that I was later learn as a 'deceit' of Lapwings (Vanellus vanellus).

Lapwings filled the sky, or were they being deceitful?
Now, although I've said before that I'm not a birder, I always remember the first time I saw these birds, when as a young lad driving past a field in Romford, Essex. I suddenly noticed these strange unusual looking birds the like of which I had never seen before. No internet in those days, so I had to pop down the library to look at bird books to find out what they were. Interestingly, the main thing that has always stuck in my mind about these birds is that when they fly, they seem to have rather large disproportionate wings which seem to 'lap' the air in flight.

In the distance arose the un-natural scenery of Felixstowe Docks with the huge cranes unloading the huge ships full of the lifeblood of consumerism.

Felixstowe docks
Reaching the point looking out towards Felixstowe, I decided it was time for me to turn back and head home. A couple of times I saw at distance, a Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) flying around. A recent visitor to our shores and some say this is due to global warming as the breeding range of this bird is spreading further north. They are very much like a small white heron (same family) and in my years as a truck driver I too have noticed their spread. As I walked back to the car, I noticed one feeding by the sluice, however, it was still too far away to get a good shot of it and I thought about sneaking up on it when I got back to the car. Yet, my plans were scuppered as suddenly I noticed a couple of dog walkers approaching the sluice along the path. Damn! I knew they were going to flush the bird as they approached so I prepared for the fleeing of the bird. The dog walkers approached and as predicted, the bird took off and flew in my direction into a head wind which held up its progress enough for me to get this shot.
Little Egret flying by.
Needless to say, I was happy to get a photo of something I've seen about for years, but never been lucky enough to capture on my camera. Again, another nice end to the day. I look forward to returning next year when the weather warms up to see what Levington Lagoons has to offer then.

No excuses, pick it up!

I like dogs, lovely characterful animals that are always intrigued, pleased, displeased or scared to see you. However, some of their owners I like a lot less, especially when they don't pick up their dogs mess. This is a bit of an issue at Purdis Heath that is to be addressed in the near future it seems. However, one thing I saw at SWT's Levington Lagoon was this great idea of a poop bag dispenser. Brilliant! If these were placed everywhere inconsiderate dog walkers go, then they would have NO EXCUSE as to why they didn't pick up their dogs mess. Come on you inconsiderate owners, step up to the plate and take responsibility for your dogs. After all, the dog didn't choose to be with you, you chose to have the dog.

Bag dispenser, a great idea.
That's it for now, keep safe and take care.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Education through volunteering

Hello again dear reader, hope all is good in your world. The weather of late has been rather turbulent with another rendition of the great flood of 1953 being the main feature in the news. Yet come the  Saturday two days later, the weather was a mild 10ºC and sunny, ideal for the volunteer work party at Purdis Heath with 19 volunteers turning out to help clear and cut back the gorse to allow the area to scraped which in turn will allow fresh heather to shoot up and provide an ideal habitat for the Silver-studded blue (Plebejus argus) to breed in. 
The cut gorse piled high on a sheet before being dragged away.
As we lopped away at the gorse, we transferred it to a large sheet or some big tonne bags as used by ballast companies for supplying tonnes of sand and ballast to the building trade. We moved it like this so as not to unintentionally spread the seeds of the gorse over a bigger area, which would be defeating the purpose for which we were there.

It was a lovely day with a great bunch of people and many of the photos can be seen on the Purdis Heath SSSI Facebook page. The great thing about these volunteer work parties is that it just isn't about work, you get to learn and observe things at the same time. For instance, whilst we were chopping away at the gorse, a volunteer (Val) noticed that a couple of the tall gorse bushes were looking rather trim and proper unlike all the other scraggly gorse bushes around. 

Neatly pruned on the left, naturally scraggy on the right.
We came to the conclusion that these gorse had been grazed upon by deer and as the bushes were around 8 feet high, the only likely culprit would be the Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) as these are big deer and quite capable of reaching such a height. 

A better view of the nibbled gorse.
I remember last year whilst driving down the A14 in my truck and seeing the antlers of a stag  and some of his hinds walking in a field just over a mile from the site at Purdis.
A Google Earth aerial view of the landscape between the two sites.
As we can see from the above image from Google Earth, there are no populated areas between the Purdis Heath and the sighting of the herd last year. Another thing that sticks out (to me anyway) is the lack of natural habitation between the two sites. There is nothing except arable fields which have very little wildlife value. When I spotted the deer a year ago, it was early in the morning just before first light, so it is possible that the deer use the heathland at Purdis occasionally to feed before heading to the woodland at Seven Hills (where I spotted them) to rest in the security and shade of the woodland for the day. This is just another reason why sites like this need to exist to preserve our natural world.

Another thing that I came across was this little old nest that had seen little use during the year.
Avian or rodent?
At first glance it looked like a small bird nest, but on closer inspection, it had seed heads from some broom that had been growing nearby which would suggest rodent such as a field mouse, harvest mouse etc. Several of the naturalists among us had a good look and think about it and the eventual consensus was that it was probably built by a bird before being taken over by a rodent. 

During the tea breaks where tea, coffee, biscuits, mince pies and some lovely cakes supplied by Susanne were consumed, we got to talking all things nature and was told by Julian and Helen that only last week a Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) was spotted flushing wood pigeons on the heath. Also whilst we chatted, a Peacock butterfly (Inachis io) was also seen to fly by so sunny and mild it was. During the lopping of the gorse, I came across two 7-spot ladybirds (Coccinella 7-punctata) which I recorded using my iPhone app. So nice to see some natives instead of dreaded Harlequins (Harmonia axyridis).

So if you fancy coming along to the next work party, then please do. It's on Saturday January 4th 2014, an ideal time to work off the excesses of Xmas. We meet up in Bucklesahm Rd at 10am and work unto 3pm, but you can come and go as you please, after all, you are a volunteer. Please bring along a packed lunch and some suitable clothing. If the weather is pouring down, it will be likely to be called off, so watch this space and we will have a better idea nearer the date. 

I got my prize!

As many of you know, I won a category of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust's photo competition and this week I received my prize in the post. What did I win? I hear you shout in anticipation. I got a certificate, a print of my image and a years membership to SWT which is worth £30, excellent! Included in the membership pack along with a car sticker, a copy of SWT's magazine and some information on the work they do, there is also the wonderful book, Suffolk Landscapes, which has some wonderful photos of the nature reserves within Suffolk and some text about them as well. 
My prize has arrived.
Keeping with the SWT theme, last week I left you in suspense that I might have some exciting news to share with you and now I can for the day after getting my prize in the post, I had to pop down to their HQ in Ashbocking to discuss a wonderful volunteer opportunity that had arisen within the trust of Education and Events volunteer. I went today and had a wonderful chat with them and am going on the volunteer induction day in the new year, I got the job! I'm well chuffed to say the least and will keep you posted on any developments. The new job will see me travelling around the county helping out with displays, nature trails and events and helping to educate children and adults alike about the wonders of nature, helping with bioblitz's and much more. It's something I am very much looking forward to and cannot wait to get started.

That's it for now, so till next time dear reader, please take care.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Butterflies in December

Hello dear reader, hope everything is good in your world and the beginning of December hasn't got you too panicked to go rushing out to do your Xmas shopping. Me and the wifey try to do our shopping through the year, buying little bits and pieces when we see them. Beats all that mad 'Black Friday' shopping. I honestly do not understand who would want to go through such stress in buying a present. Sometimes, I think the world has gone beyond mad, but that's a different story.

December butterflies

Of late, especially on the world of Twitter, people have been reporting that they keep finding butterflies in their homes, fluttering around the place. I too got a text from the wifey who came across a Peacock butterfly (Inachis io) inside an upstairs function room of an old pub, asking me if she should set it free.
Keeping warm for winter.

Consultant ecologist Ralph Hobbs was recently (this week) called to a vacant pub after the new owner spotted around 75  Small Tortoiseshell butterflies (Alglais urticae) in the downstairs front room of the unoccupied building.
All resting up for the winter. ©Ralph Hobbs
Thankfully, the new owner new what they were and before letting the rest orators get to work, he called his ecologist friend in, who happily collected them all up in a insect mesh container and relocated them.
Collected and ready for transportation to their new winter home. ©Ralph Hobbs
Not a lot of people realise this, but not all butterflies die off at the end of summer/autumn. No, some, such as Peacocks and Tortoiseshells, actually hibernate for the winter months ready to get going again as soon as the temperatures begin to pick up again. This is why people keep finding them fluttering around their front rooms in winter, because the central heating has kicked in, warming your house up to a nice toastie 17-20ºC and they (the butterflies) think 'spring is here, lets get jiggy with it!'

However, whilst they're hibernating in the relative shelter of the shed, they are at risk from other predators such as spiders, mice and bats (yes, warm days in winter sees hibernating bats going for walkabout around their hibernaculum). The peacock butterfly has this remarkable little defence system where if it sees a threat approaching, it will quickly open it wings flat, displaying the two eye like spots and at the same time as it opens its wings, it squeaks. Yes, a butterfly that actually squeaks like a mouse, and this squeak is not only audible to us humans, but it also resonates in the most sensitive area of a bats hearing, thus it can be heard as ultrasound too. There has been a paper done on this that can be seen here. As you will see, the sound is made by the membrane between two veins on the butterfly's wing, as it opens the wing quickly, it causes the membrane to vibrate. This, coupled with the flash of the eye spots is a two pronged defence technique and although it has been proved that the eye spots don't really bother the bat, it's the ultrasound click within the audible squeak that puts the bats off. The squeak coupled with the eye-spot flash would probably scare off predators such as mice who don't want to bump into things with big eyes.

So, how can you help these amazing creatures if you find one in your house? Simply the best thing you can do if you come across the unexpected butterfly in a dark corner of your home is to gently scoop it up with a cup and a piece of card, a bit like collecting a spider, and then place it in your shed or garage or outhouse. Somewhere that isn't artificially heated and that is relatively quiet with little activity and with gaps so that it can escape and fly away again come spring. Many thanks to Ralph Hobbs for letting me use his photos and well done on such a grand job of relocating all those butterflies.

Work party time!

Yes, time to get the loppers and secateurs out and join us over at Purdis heath this Saturday (7th December) to help us preserve the small piece of heathland site that is so important to Silver-studded Blue butterflies (Plebejus argus). It's between 10am - 3pm, but obviously, you can come and go as you please. There will be tea/coffee and biscuits for breaks but please bring along a packed lunch to see you through. If you have work gloves, that would be good too as well as any loppers/secateurs you have. Please wrap up warm and wear suitable clothing/footwear for the job in hand.
We will meet up in the lay-by on Bucklesham Rd opposite the Trinity Showground about 10 am, I and many others will look forward to seeing you there.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust Photo Competition

As many of you will know, I won a category (Best photo taken by a mobile device) in the Suffolk Wildlife Trust Photo Competition. The category winners then went to the public vote (I hope you voted dear reader) to find an overall winner. 
My winning entry caught on my iPhone.
Unfortunately, my photo didn't win the overall competition. However, I'm not sad as the winning entry totally deserved to win and can be seen here. Lee Acaster's The Old Oak is a lovely photo that makes me feel that if Constable could have taken photos, this would have been the style of photo he would have taken.

If you did take the trouble to vote for me, thank you very much, I appreciate it greatly.

That's about it for now, got some projects to be working on, like my bee project and I might have some other exciting news to share too, so just watch this space!!!

Till next time dear reader, take care and have fun.