Fight or flight

It’s now mid May and for many birds the breeding season is now in full swing. Down in the harbour waters of ‘the Gap’ the mallard ducks have already begun to pair up, however as is common among many duck species, males outnumber females quite considerably. For those that are unsuccessful in winning a mate…

If you go down to the woods today…

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…

Happy Fathers’ Day!

This male house sparrow looks rather weary and fed up of his youngster’s constant demands. I’m sure there are many human fathers out there that can sympathise at the moment! — All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography © 2020 http://www.greyfeatherphotography.com If you like what you see, you can follow me on Facebook or Instagram (@greyfeatherphotography) to see…

Aberystwyth in bloom: Part 1

Whilst lockdown has been an awful and difficult time, there have also been several positives which have emerged from this bleak situation. I like many others around the country have found absorbing myself in nature a great distraction and a way to stay positive and uplifted over the past 10 weeks or so. I’ve particularly…

Wildfowl Wednesday

Wednesday 8th April: Isolation Day 17 We are now mid way through our third week of social distancing and fortunately I am still finding ways to keep occupied and stay in touch with nature in between working from home. The government guidance means no more photo trips away from home so I am spending all…

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….

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…

The chase

The mallard ducks’ elaborate courtship displays may now be coming to an end, but the drama is far from over! As the females prepare to lay their eggs in the coming weeks, the males are fiercely protective of their partners, keen to ensure that he alone mates with her and fathers her offspring. This pair…

Blossoming

As the quote from artist Vincent Van Gogh says “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere”, and I am a firm believer in this. I don’t often get to visit spectacular landscapes or spend hours in nature reserves filled with wonderful plants and creatures, instead most of my nature encounters are confined…

Love is in the air

Although capable of breeding year round (provided they can find enough food) the harbour pigeons have waited for the welcome return of warmer weather before beginning their breeding efforts. Now this spring is well underway, the quiet morning air is regularly filled with the sounds of the male pigeons soft cooing calls as they strut…

Spring fever

As spring fever grips the country, here in Aberystwyth the mallard population have kicked off their breeding season with a bout of enthusiastic courtship displays. The purpose of such behaviour is for the males to demonstrate their health and desirability as a mate, and for the females to choose the best fathers for their offspring….

Better late than never

The House Martins have returned to the UK, having spent the winter in the warmer climate of the African continent. Each year these birds return to the same nesting sites in a fantastic feat of navigation, travelling thousands of miles over land and sea. Here in Aberystwyth, as in much of Britain, the arrival of…