My home patch: The Gap

I thought it might be interesting to share some information on various ‘patches’ here in the beautiful seaside town of Aberystwyth on the Welsh coast, where the majority of my photographs are taken. This particular patch centres around a small tidal inlet fed the local river Rheidol as it’s flows out into Cardigan Bay. The…

Solitary bee week

This week 1st to 7th July 2019 is Solitary Bee Week, celebrating some of our lesser known bee species. There are over 240 species of solitary bee found in the UK and like our more familiar bumblebees and honeybees they are highly effective pollinators. Unlike these however the solitary bees (as their names suggests) do…

Feeling the heat

The weather here on the welsh coast really does go from one extreme to another. After unseasonably chilly temperatures and what felt like endless rain for much of June, we are now being blasted by Saharan winds. As the temperature soared to 25 degrees today, I sought refuge in a shady spot beside the harbour…

Patience pays off

After weeks of relentless rainfall the sun has finally returned to Aberystwyth, just in time for the beginning of summer! Taking up my usual uncomfortable (and slightly damp) seat on the slipway beside the harbour edge this morning I soaked up some much needed sunshine whilst waiting to see what birdlife might appear. An hour…

The darker side of ducks

For all creatures no matter how great or small, their primary aim in life is to survive long enough to reproduce and pass on their genes to the next generation. This instinct can result in some startling behaviour as demonstrated with the local mallard population here in Aberystwyth. Mallards are very common birds and often…

A day out at Trentham Gardens

A couple of weeks ago, during our recent half term break we decided to take a trip out to Trentham Gardens in Stoke on Trent. This large estate of over 300 acres was the seat of Trentham hall, a grand country house built in the 1800s. Now the hall itself lies in ruin, but the…

Nature’s architects: Part 2

Today my plan was to capture some close up shots as the house martins gather nesting materials down on the ground. Each year I eagerly await the arrival of these birds and these opportunity to improve on last years photographs. House martins return to the patch here in Aberystwyth each year, after a long migration from…

Nature’s architects: Part 1

Spring is a busy time of year for Britain’s birds as they begin to construct their nests ready to safely incubate their eggs and rear their chicks in the weeks to come. It often isn’t hard to find signs of nesting activity and once you start looking you can spot birds gathering nesting materials everywhere….

Bird behaviour: Dust bathing

In the absence of water, many birds will turn to dust bathing to keep their feathers clean and parasite free. Among our British birds this behaviour is most commonly seen in the sparrows, as this pair was happy to demonstrate today. The male was the first to land on the slipway and find a suitable…

The importance of wildflowers

Stepping just outside my back door is a small wildflower verge, a strip of long grass and a tangle of wildflowers, largely ignored and underappreciated by most. This area is however a small but vital habitat for many species of plants and animals. Plantains and grasses growing wild overlooking the harbour  During spring and summer,…

In search of bluebells

I am very lucky to work in a beautiful location, Nanteos Mansion, a grade I listed Georgian mansion nestled in woodlands just outside the town of Aberystwyth. Yesterday we stopped in for a spot of lunch, giving me the opportunity to explore the beautiful surroundings, something I haven’t done nearly as often as I would…

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro test shots

Having spent many years now taking macro photographs with a standard 17-55mm kit lens and various extension tubes and magnifying filters I finally decided it was time to treat myself to an upgrade! Unfortunately a top-spec canon lens was far beyond my budget but after a little research the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS…

Sighting: Collared Doves

Just when I was beginning to grow a little tired of the same old routine, photographing the same birds at almost every visit, today there was a surprise encounter in the harbour. As I sprinkled some seed on the ground for the ever present pigeon flock several other pigeon shaped figures flew in and landed…