5 April 2011- a quick visit to Rutland Water

After my visit to Rutland Water in January I was keen to check the water level near the Crake Hide.  I took the opportunity of a dentist appointment in Melton Mowbray to pay a quick visit (there has to be some benefit if going to the dentist!). Yet again the opportunity for photography was matched with dull weather and poor light. However, I was pleased the see the water level back to how I had remembered it from last year - and two confiding Great Crested Grebes that came close to the hide.  At one stage they looked as if they were going to start a full courtship dance but it wasn't to be. Still, I would rather catch a display in slightly better lighting conditions!

Great Crested Grebe

Great Crested Grebe

Great Crested Grebe Display

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Barnack Hills & Holes

Barnack Hills & Holes is a National Nature Reserve just south of Stamford, near the village of Barnack. It is home to a wide range of flowers and plants, many of which are nationally scarce but can be found in large numbers at this site. One such flower is the Pasque Flower, so called because it flowers around Easter time. Of course the timing of Easter varies from year to year, as do the weather conditions, so I took a quick trip to Barnack on 8 April to see what I could find.

Luckily a few pasque flowers were already starting to flower - the sun was out and it was a calm day, allowing the use of exttension tubes for real close up images. I took a variety of shots,  again varying the aperture to give different effects.

 Pasque Flower

Pasque Flower Detail

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One of the other earliest spring flowers, found at Barnack, and in numerous other places, is the Cowslip. These flowers often stand proud, providing good photographic opportunities. On this occasion I used my Canon 100-400 mm lens to go in close on a flower head. An extension tube has been added for the second photo.

Cowslip Cowslip

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I subsequently paid another brief visit to Barnack on 26 April. On this occasion I picked a dull windy evening, which made flower photography particularly tricky. It may as well have been a Force 10 gale! I also found a site still seemingly mostly devoid of flowers. The Pasque Flowers were all closed (they need a period of sunshine before they open up) but the lack of rain meant that virtually nothing else was growing yet.

One of the flowers I particularly like is the orchid and one of the earliest growing is the Early Purple Orchid. I managed to find a half decent specimen and, with a great deal of patience waiting for lulls in the wind, I managed to get a couple of images.

Early Purple Orchid Early Purple Orchid

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