With sunny skies and a few hours to spare between shifts at work on Friday, it was the perfect opportunity to hunt for bluebells in the grounds of Nanteos Mansion. Nestled between two small nature reserves, Old Warren Hill & Coed Penglanowen their ancient woodlands provide the perfect unspoiled habitat for numerous species including these iconic flowers.
Bluebells can be seen in bloom here from late April onwards, but to see them in all their glory you will need to hurry as their flowering season is a spectacular but brief event. For just a few weeks each spring these nodding blue stems carpet the forest floor, adding a splash of blue to a landscape dominated by green.
Leaving the shadows of the tree canopy behind, the exposed sunlit slopes of the nearby lake were also not short of bluebells, swaying gently in the breeze among a tangle of long grass.
Photographing the bluebells here was more challenging as I tried to isolate the blue flowers from the ‘clutter’ . By getting down low to the ground and using a shallow depth of field I was able to isolate some individual flowers with pleasing results.
In stark contrast to last spring, this year so far it has been colder than average and as a result there were still relatively few insects around. Fortunately I had also brought along my macro lens to capture those early pollinators. Bees like this striking orange-tailed mining bee rely on the bluebells’ nectar for food whilst many other flowering plants are still yet to emerge.
At first glance a very similar looking bee, this is a common carder bee one of the first species to emerge from hibernation. It uses it’s long tongue to probe deep into the narrow trumpets of the bluebell and reach the precious nectar concealed within.
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All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography © 2021
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