Wednesday, 23 November 2022

25 BIRDS by Anna K. Wood, a New Book of Bird Photographs

Cover image

 

May I introduce a new book, 25 Birds, by Anna K. Wood. The blurb on the back reads as follows:

"In this delightful collection, housebound photographer Anna Wood beautifully captures the diversity of birdlife all around us. Created entirely from photos taken in one North Glasgow garden over the course of one year, this book explores the joy Anna finds in nature as well as the challenges of being a photographer with severe ME. It will appeal to anyone with a love of birds, as well as those who would just like a little more nature in their lives."

I 'met' Anna over the internet a few months ago and realised that we had a few things in common. We both have physical health issues (albeit different ones) that force us to approach life in a particular way. We share a love of birds and a desire to photograph them. Anna has allowed me to include her fantastic feather photo below. She has kindly agreed to answer some questions about her new book.

 

Photo image: © Anna Wood, used with permission
 


1. Anna, what gave you the idea and have you been able to raise some funds via the project?

I've raised over £500 so far and there is more to come from recent sales. I've sold far more than I even thought I would, so delighted to be able to support such a good cause (Action for M.E.) and bring wildlife to people's lives.  I have been taking photos of birds for a couple of years and posting them on social media, and getting lovely comments from family and friends. They encouraged me to do something more with them, so I thought it would be fun to try to put a book together and raise money for charity - I have to admit I was a bit naive about how much effort it would take, but once started I really wanted it to be ready before Christmas.



2. Tell us about the habitat in question ...

So I live in north Glasgow, in a quiet residential street. I have a very small back garden which is below ground level, so there aren't often birds there, but the front has a small area of grass which slopes down to the road next to the drive way. There is a small plum tree in the middle where I hang feeders and recently I had some bushes and flower bed put in at the bottom. That's where I see most of the birds. There's also a lovely cherry tree next door which overhangs the drive, and birds like to sit in there. Although it's quite suburban there is a park about 10min walk away and a golf course 3 min away in the other direction, so lots of habitat for birds nearby.


3. Your favourite bird in or out of the book, and why.

Oh gosh that's so hard! My favourite bird is a stonechat. I saw one for the first time last summer while on holiday. My favourite photo is probably the sparrow with the feather - what I really love about taking photos in my garden is seeing birds that we think we know in a new way. Photographing makes me really pay attention to the detail, how they behave and all the things we easily miss.

4. What about the photography aspect, e.g. are you self-taught? 

I am self-taught. I have learned a lot from reading about how other people take photos of birds, watching YouTube videos, from talking to people online and from trial and error. I have a lot of photos where the bird is blurred or where it has already flown off! 


The book is available from Amazon (livelink here).

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1739139100/

 

* * *

My sincere thanks to Anna for answering my questions about her new book. I was drawn to the concept as soon as I heard about it, and could hardly wait until publication day. The book is indeed ready in time for Christmas: do click the livelink above and take a look.


Wednesday, 16 November 2022

'Voices For The Silent', a new anthology from Indigo Dreams Publishing

 .

 

What can poetry do?  

There have been many who advocate art for art's sake, or l'art pour l'art, as the slogan was initially rendered in nineteenth century France. 

There have also been many, and indeed there are an ever-increasing number, of artists (in the broadest sense) who see their work as a focus for, or extension of, their activism. 

I feel fortunate to have had poems included in a variety of charity anthologies over the years, raising funds and awareness for Macmillan Cancer Support, Welney WWT and the Born Free Foundation, to name but three. 

I am delighted to add another to the list in the form of Voices for the Silent (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2022), the new companion volume to For the Silent (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2019), edited by Ronnie Goodyer, Poet-in-Residence at the League Against Cruel Sports. These companion (or stand-alone) volumes have been produced to aid the work of this charity, and not surprisingly some of the selected poems concern animal cruelty. Others focus on habitats and the wonders and complexities of the natural world. 

The new book includes poems by well-known names such as Margaret Atwood, Gillian Clarke, Pablo Neruda, Philip Larkin, John Clare, Mary Oliver, William Cowper, William Blake and Thomas Hardy, alongside a host of contributors who are part of the contemporary poetry scene.

Voices for the Silent costs £15 in Great Britain. Prices for other parts of the world are listed on the Indigo Dreams Publishing website. The book includes six wonderful pages of illustrations by Sam Cannon. The superb cover photographs are by Andy Parkinson.  

Subjects in the anthology range from a stag to a sparrowhawk, from a Chequered Skipper butterfly to an elephant. My poem, 'Basking Shark Blues', was inspired by the brooding Hebridean waters off the coast of Skye where I spent an evening watching one of these gentle giants of the ocean.

 

Evening, Loch Scavaig, Isle of Skye
 

Saturday, 1 October 2022

Autumn Sunshine at NT Sutton Hoo

How the season has changed! An abundance of ripe chestnuts

The woods at NT Sutton Hoo, a mix of green and brown


I wonder how many more Darters we will see this year ...

A tiny camouflaged Grasshopper

Spot the Dragon enjoying some mottled sunshine


Looking across the Deben to Woodbridge

 And finally ... 

... we checked the Trailcam today and were delighted to find that the hedgehog had been here on 23 September (and not at 2 or 3 am this time). We stopped putting out the Yora insect-based food a few days ago as it was being snapped up by a cat. But we have replenished the supply tonight; let's hope the hedgehog returns as I suspect its need is greater than the feline's.  

 

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Another Butterfly Species for the Garden List

 

Old photo from a 2006 sighting

 

We were having lunch in the garden one day last week when a Clouded Yellow butterfly flew into the garden. I have rarely encountered this species before. I have seen a couple here in Suffolk at RSPB Minsmere on the path that leads to the sea, but the only one I have ever been able to photograph (and even then only as a quick record shot) is the male in the photo above, which alighted on the footpath to the 12th century remains of Slebech Old Church in South Wales.

 

Slebech Old Church
 

I am continuing to record butterfly sightings from our wild suburban garden for the Garden Butterfly Survey run by Butterfly Conservation. The list of species I have counted this year in our garden alone (thus far and in alphabetical order) is as follows:

  1. Brimstone
  2. Brown Argus
  3. Clouded Yellow
  4. Comma
  5. Common Blue
  6. Gatekeeper
  7. Grayling
  8. Holly Blue
  9. Large White
  10. Meadow Brown
  11. Orange Tip
  12. Painted lady
  13. Peacock
  14. Red Admiral
  15. Ringlet
  16. Small Copper
  17. Small Skipper
  18. Small Heath
  19. Small Tortoiseshell
  20. Small White
  21. Speckled Wood

On the day-flying moth front, we have had several Hummingbird Hawk-moths in the garden this summer, though Silver Ys, Cinnabars and Burnets have been noticeable by their (relative) absence.

 

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Updated Garden List ... and Latest Hedgehog Photo

 

Most recent visitor

I have been keeping a list of the wildlife I see in our suburban Suffolk garden since 2014. For a creature to be counted, it must be seen in, under or above our boundary. Three years year I began to keep an eye on the wildflowers that we noticed in the garden. I may decide to combine the two lists at some point.

* = an identification given via iSpot. 

Trailcam: this has given us photos of the fox and the hedgehog. The hedgehog comes (for water and Yora insect-based food) nearly every night at present. 

[R] = a regular visitor

[O] = an occasional one.  

Incidentally, the Migrant Hawker sightings in the list below inspired one of the poems in my 2021 poetry collection, Driftwood by Starlight, which is is now available in the online shop for The Seventh Quarry Press. Do take a look here

And now to my updated list...


Avian sightings

  • HPb1   Great Spotted Woodpecker [O]  [early March, June, Aug 2020]early Mar., 17 June 2021, 17 April 2022 Jan 2023
  • HPb2   Great tit [R] 2020202120222023
  • HPb3   Long-tailed tit [R] 2020202120222023
  • HPb4   Blackbird [R] 20202021, with young20222023
  • HPb5   Song Thrush  [27 April 2019 - a pair] [27 March 2020]2022
  • HPb6   Blue tit [R] 20202021, with young20222023
  • HPb7   Robin  [R]  20202021, with young20222023
  • HPb8   Magpie [R] 2020202120222023
  • HPb9   Wood Pigeon  [R] 2020202120222023
  • HPb10 Dunnock [R] 2020202120222023
  • HPb11 Starling [R] 20202021, with young20222023
  • HPb12 Carrion Crow [R] 202020212022
  • HPb13 Goldfinch [R] 20202021, with young20222023
  • HPb14 Jay [O] 2020  Mar. 2021 (two)2022 2023
  • HPb15 Green Woodpecker [O] seen in passing [May 2020]
  • HPb16 Wren [O] [27 March 2020]202120222023
  • HPb17 Bullfinch [19 January 2017] 2020
  • HPb18 Sparrowhawk [June 2020] [25 Feb 2021]2022
  • HPb19 Mallard 
  • HPb20 House Sparrow [1 June 2019] [June 2020] Mar. 202120222023
  • HPb21 Chaffinch 2020 Mar. 2021
  • HPb22 Grey Heron [18 and 26 Feb 2020] early May 20212022
  • HPb23 Collared Dove [R] 2020 20212022
  • HPb24 Coal tit 20212022
  • HPb25 Redwing [20 January 2017] Feb 202120222023
  • HPb26 Kestrel  [8 June 2017] 4 June 20212022 
  • HPb27 Blackcap [Feb 2020] 28 Feb, 7 Mar 2021 18 Apr 2022 Jan 2023
  • HPb28 Greenfinch [6 Feb 2020]29 Jan 2023
  • HPb29 Swift [15 July 2020]16 June 20212022
  • HPb30 Buzzard [Sept 2020] 16 June 20212022
  • HPb31 Fieldfares [a flock, garden first, February 2021]
  • HPb32 Common Gull Mar. 2021
  • HPb33 RedKite 2022 30 Jan 2023
  • Cuckoo - not listed as such because it just missed our garden, but for only the second time since we moved here nearly a decade ago, I not only heard one calling but also caught sight of it. [2 June 2021]

 

Mammal sightings

  • HPm1 (?Wood) Mouse Mar. 20212022 Trailcam
  • HPm2 Bat [1st 2015 sighting 7 May 2015] [Apr/May 2015]  [22 Jan 2017]  [Aug 2018]  [8 Aug 2019] [May, 17, 25 July 2020] 18 May, 15 June, 26 Aug 202112 July 2022
  • HPm3 Shrew 
  • HPm4 Grey Squirrel [R] and now [O] 2020 15 Mar, Aug 202120222023
  • HPm5 Stoat
  • HPm6 Hedgehog  [9 Aug 2018] [1 June 2019]Aug, Sept 2022 Trailcam
  • HPm7 Fox  June 2022 Trailcam


Amphibian sightings

  • HPam1 Common Frog [26 May 2019] 12 July, 27 Aug 2022
  • HPam1 Common Toad 2 Aug 2022 


Reptile sightings

  • HPr1 Common Lizard (two: new species for the garden!) [1, 8 August 2020]


Insect sightings 

  • HPi1 Small Tortoiseshell butterfly [March 2014] [27 Feb 2017] three, Aug 20212022
  • HPi2 Buff-tailed Bumblebee [March 2014] [Jan/Feb 2016] [Mar/Apr 2016] [2017] 202020212022
  • HPi3 Brimstone butterfly [April 2014] [5 June 2019] 202020212022
  • HPi4 7-spot Ladybird [April 2014] [Oct 2014] [2015] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Sept/Oct 2015] [Mar/Apr 2016] 202020212022
  • HPi5 Small Skipper butterfly [July 2014] [26 July 2019] [20,21 June 2020]20212022
  • HPi6 Meadow Brown butterfly [July 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015] [12 June 2020, six!]20212022
  • HPi7 Large White butterfly [July 2014] [Jul/Aug 2016] [21 June 2020]7 June 20212022
  • HPi8 14-spot Yellow Ladybirds [July 2014] [May 2019] [1 July 2020]
  • HPi9 Small White butterfly [May 2014] [Apr/May 2015] [Sept/Oct 2015 - larvae] [2 May 2019] 202020212022
  • HPi10 Orange tip butterfly [May 2014] 2020 11 May 2021April 2022
  • HPi11 Harlequin ladybird  [May 2014] [October 2014] [Sept/Oct 2015] [1 April 2019, N.B. spotless] 
  • HPi12 Garden Chafer (Phyllopertha horticola) [June 2014] [June/July 2016] [18 May 2018]
  • HPi13 Ruby-tail Wasp [June 2014] [May/June 2015] [May/June 2016] [21 May 2017]  [May 2020]
  • HPi14 Blackfly [R]  20202022
  • HPi15 Marmalade Hoverfly [July 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Jul/Aug 2016] [20 June 2020]2022
  • HPi16 Gorse Shield bug [27 March 2020]
  • HPi17 Migrant Hawker dragonflies [July 2014]2021Aug 2022
  • HPi18 Gatekeeper butterfly [Jul/Aug 2016] [9 Aug 2019] 202020212022
  • HPi19 Comma butterfly [August 2014] [June/July 2016] [2017] [8 Aug 2019] 202020212022
  • HPi20 Red Admiral butterfly [August 2014] [October 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015] [8 Aug 2019] [14 June 2020]Aug 2021 16 May 2022
  • HPi21 Peacock butterfly [August 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Nov/Dec 2015] [8 Aug 2019] [27 March 2020] [two on 25 March 202110 Mar 2022
  • HPi22 Green bottle flies [August 2014] [May/June 2015] 20202022
  • HPi23 Ants [R] [27 March 2020]20212022
  • HPi24 Squashbug aka Dock Bug, (Coreus marginatus ) [August 2014] [May 2018, mating]
  • HPi25 Birch Shieldbug (late instar?) [September 2014]
  • HPi26 Lacewing [October 2014] [Sept/Oct 2015]  [14 June 2020]
  • HPi27 Cereal Leaf Beetle [Apr/May 2015]
  • HPi28 Painted Lady [2018] [8 Aug 2019]three, Aug 202127 May 2022
  • HPi29 Rosemary Beetle [[Sept/Oct 2015] [May/June 2016 - four] [May 2017]
  • HPi30 Hawthorn Shieldbug [May/June 2015] 
  • HPi31 Forest Shieldbug (Pentatoma rufipes) [Sept/Oct 2015] 
  • HPi32 Early Bumblebee [Mar/Apr 2016] 2021
  • HPi33 *Species of Miridae [Mar/Apr 2016]  
  • HPi34 Cranefly [R]  202020212022
  • HPi35 Crossocerus, wasps family Crabronidae [May/June 2016] 
  • HPi36 Wasp Beetle (Clytus arietis) [May/June 2016]
  • HPi37 Tree Bumblebee (Bombus (Pyrobombus) hypnorum) [May/June 2016] 
  • HPi38 Moth Least Black Arches (Nola confusalis) [May/June 2016] 
  • HPi39 Holly Blue Butterfly  [26 May 2017]  [27 April and 6 June 2019] 202026 May 2021 2 May 2022
  • HPi40 Dark Bush Cricket (nymph) [18 May 2017] [10 June 2019] [10 June 2020] 25 May 2022
  • HPi41 Common Cockchafer  [18 May 2017] [14 June 2019] [10 June 2020]5 June 20212022
  • HPi42 Scorpion Fly [May2017] [23 May 2017]  8 June 202126 May 2022
  • HPi43 Soldier Beetle (Cantharis rustica)  [2017] [13 May 2018][2019] 20202022
  • HPi44 Cabbage Bug (Eurydema (Eurydema) oleracea)  [2017]  [9 June 2017]  
  • HPi45 Light Brown Apple moth (Epiphyas postvittana) [2017] [23 May 2017] 
  • HPi46 Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)   [9 May 2018] 
  • HPi47  Common Blue butterfly (Polyommatus icarus)   [11 May 2018] 2020202116 July 2022
  • HPi48  Speckled Wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria)   [15 May 2018] 2020 24 May 2021 20 April 2022
  • HPi49  Ruby Tiger moth (Phragmatobia fuliginosa)   [18 May 2018] 2020
  • HPi50  Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata)   [24 May 2018]  [2019] 202015 June, 27 Aug 20212022
  • HPi51  Mullein Moth larva (Cucullia verbasci)   [14 June 2018] 
  • HPi52  Silver Y moth [two - August 2018] 14 July 2020Aug 2021 26 May 2022
  • HPi53  Rove Beetle (Platydracus stercorarius)   [September 2018] 
  • HPi54 *Green Long-horn moth 13 May 20212022
  • HPi55 Fire bug nymph [17 April 2019]2022
  • HPi56 Pine Ladybird [1 April 2019]  202020212022
  • HPi57 Cinnabar moth [4 and 5 April 2019] [21 June 2020]2022 
  • HPi58 Small Red Damselfly [20 May 2019]  2020 
  • HPi59 *Tortoise Bug [3 June 2019]   
  • HPi60 *Cryptolaemus montrouzieri [6 June 2019] 
  • HPi61 *Varied Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus (Nathrenus) verbasci)  [6 June 2019] 20202022
  • HPi62 *Empis tessellata [31 May 2019] 
  • HPi63 *Macrophya [22 May 2019] 
  • HPi64 *Bagworm moth case (Psychidae) [31 May 2019] 22 May 2022 
  • HPi65 *Greater Bulb-Fly (Merodon equestris) [22 May 2019]  2020
  • HPi66 *Figwort Weevil larva (Cionus scrophulariae) [22 May 2019] 
  • HPi67 *Arge Sawfly (Arge cyanocrocea) [22 May 2019]  2020
  • HPi68 *Sarcophaga [16 May 2019]
  • HPi69 *Juniper Shield Bug (Cyphosthetus tristriatus) [16 May 2019] 
  • HPi70 *St Mark's Fly (Bibio marci) [28 April 2019] 19 May 20212022
  • HPi71 Fairy Longhorn moth (Adela) [9 May 2019] 20212022
  • HPi72 *Dagger Fly (Empis Tessellata) [13 May 2019]  
  • HPi73 *Honey bee (Apis mellifera) [31 May 2019]  202020212022
  • HPi74 *Rutpela maculata [14 June 2019] 
  • HPi75 *Soldier Fly (Stratiomyidae) [12 June 2019] 
  • HPi76 *Small Dusty Wave moth (Idaea seriata) [31 May and 5 Sept 2019]
  • HPi77 *Planthopper (Issus Coleoptratus) [18 June 2019]  
  • HPi78 Sexton (Burying) Beetle [7 Aug 2019] 
  • HPi79 Small Copper [3 Aug 2019]  [10 May 2020] 2 June 2021 26 May 2022
  • HPi80 *Speckled Bush Cricket [3 Aug 2019] 
  • HPi81 Dark-edged Bee-fly (Bombylius major) [24 Mar 2020]2022
  • HPi82 *Rhyparochromus vulgaris Ground bug [2 April 2020] 13 Mar 2021
  • HPi83 *Tawny Mining Bee (Andrena (Andrena) fulva) [11 April 2020] 27 May 2021
  • HPi84 *Dolichovespula media [19 April 2020] 
  • HPi85 Mother Shipton moth [May 2020]
  • HPi86 Green Hairstreak [May 2020] 12 May, 9 June 2021
  • HPi87 *Angle Shades moth [25 May 2020] 
  • HPi88 Green-veined White [Apr 2020]  
  • HPi89 Malachite beetle [June 2020]   
  • HPi90 Thick-legged Flower Beetle [June 2020]2022   
  • HPi91 Common Froghopper [12 June 2020]     
  • HPi92 Small Heath [13 June, 18 July 2020]    
  • HPi93 Stag Beetle (female) [13 June 2020]2022   
  • HPi94 Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius, m & f) [18 June 2020]2022    
  • HPi95 Long hoverfly Sphaerophoria scripta [18 June 2020]    
  • HPi96 Blue-tailed Damselfly [14 June 2020]    
  • HPi97 Common White Wave moth [13 June 2020]    
  • HPi98 Ringlet butterfly [25 June 2020] 20212022
  • HPi99 Leaf-cutter bee (Megachile centuncularis)  [26 June 2020]2022  
  • HPi100 *Lesser Stag Beetle (Dorcus parallelipipedus) [27 June 2020] 
  • HPi101 Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth (see here) [3 July 2020]   
  • HPi102 Ichneumon Amblyteles armatorius [10 July 2020]  
  • HPi103 Emperor Dragonfly [16 July 2020]16 July 2022
  • HPi104 Swallowtail moth [16 July 2020] 
  • HPi105 *Brown Argus (a first for the garden!) [18, 24 July 2020]20212022
  • HPi106 *White-point moth (another first for the garden!) [18 July 2020]24 May 2022
  • HPi107 *Hairy-legged Mining Bee, aka Pantaloon bee (Dasypoda hirtipes) (a first for the garden!) [18 July 2020] 
  • HPi108 White Plume moth (and another first for the garden!) [25, 27 July 2020]2022
  • HPi109 *Southern Hawker (female, and another first for the garden!) [8 Sept 2020]
  • HPi110 Field Grasshoppers [Aug and Sept 2020]2022
  • HPi111 Purple Hairstreak (a first for the garden!) [3 Aug 2020]  
  • HPi112 Rove Beetle (Ocypus olens)  Aug 2022
  • HPi113 Meliscaeva auricollis. [25 March 2021]
  • HPi114 * Nomada marshamella [30 April 2021]
  • HPi115 Rhopalid bug Corizus hyoscyami [30 May 2021]
  • HPi116 Muslin moth [9 June 2021]
  • HPi117 Banded Demoiselle [15 June 2021]
  • HPi118 Box-tree moth [Aug 2021]larvae, April 2022
  • HPi119 Hummingbird Hawk-moth  [3 September 2021]2022
  • HPi120 Kite-tailed Robber Fly [July 2021] 
  • HPi121 *Agriotes lineatus March 2022
  • HPi122 * Early Thorn moth Selenia dentaria  17 April 2022 
  • HPi123 * Turtle (shield)bug Podops inuncta 6 May 2022 
  • HPi124 Grayling butterfly 6 August 2022
  • HPi125 Clouded Yellow butterfly (a first for the garden!) 13 September 2022

 

Molluscs

  • HPm1 Brown Lipped Snail (Cepaea (Cepaea) nemoralis[May/June 2016] 202020212022
  • HPm2 Field Slug (Deroceras[May/June 2016] 2021

 

Arachnids

  • HPa1 Zebra Spider [Apr/May 2015] [May/June 2015] [Mar/Apr 2016] [May 2018] 20202022
  • HPa2 Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus) [May/June 2015] [27 April 2019] 2022
  • HPa3 *Cucumber spider (Arianella) [31 May 2019]  
  • HPa4 *Jumping spider (Heliophanus) [22 May, Sept 2019]  
  • HPa5 Crab spider, with pink stripes, aka 'White Death' (Misumena vatia) [9 Aug 2019]   
  • HPa6 Nursery Web spider (Heliophanus) [22 Mar 2020] (Spiderlings hatch: 27 June 2020) 20212022
  • HPa7 *Noble False Widow 23 June 20212022
  • HPa8 Wasp spider [new! four, 5-9 Sept 2020] three, Aug 20212022... see photo below.
- - - 

Unusual sightings

HPi64 *Bagworm moth case (Psychidae) [31 May 2019] 22 May 2022
 

These strange Psyche casta cases make me think of the Caddisfly larva I have seen, but they are actually made and eventually shed by a moth


Wasp spider
 

Unusual residents include the False Widow spider (see here) and the Wasp Spider. I definitely prefer sharing a garden with the latter (see here)! You can just make out the beautiful egg-sac.