Thursday, 13 August 2020

Accentuate the Positive

 I’ve often read over recent weeks of the effects that Lockdown has had upon birdwatchers and naturalists in general (Includes many good accounts on the Nat His Soc of Northumbria site), and unsurprisingly many have discovered, or more often rediscovered, the rewards that their home patch has to offer.  Few had been able to travel far from it unless of course you happened to be a certain Government adviser, in which case the rules didn’t apply it seems.   For my part I’ve enjoyed reading some of the accounts of discoveries on local patches and I gained the impression that many were enjoying this new exploration.  Lockdown may have brought with it some benefits in that respect and even TVs Springwatch improved from a much more interesting and professional approach.  For the time being most are now spreading their wings and traveling throughout the region and beyond, so the twitchers have their freedom back.  As my blog has shown I have ventured further too.  I hope the freedom lasts, but not to the detriment of patch watching.  One cannot be certain about such freedom lasting in these strange and uncertain times.

Wall Brown Butterfly.  Only the second one I've ever seen in the garden over many years.

Large White

Green Veined White

At times I found myself examining in far more detail the wildlife and wild plants in the garden and I think even my concentration on the photography aided my skills a little in this area.  I believe if I ever find myself alone on that desert island I could prevent myself becoming another Ben Gunn (although I admit a craving for cheese) by concentrating upon its fauna and flora, and of course keeping a list.

Common Carder Bumblebee

Flower of Hosta sp

Flower of Host sp

The author of a recent book I have read, A Month in Siena mentions that he gets great satisfaction from looking at great art works in galleries for hours on end and constantly returning to them.  The author appears to gain great psychological support and strength from this and I empathise with him as I gain in a similar manner from watching nature and returning to the same thing time and time again and seeing and feeling something new each time.  Whilst I enjoy the excitement of finding the new and the rare, I equally enjoy watching what some may consider the mundane.  I personally don’t think anything related to nature can be assumed mundane.  In this sense I go along with the saying ‘less is more’ not only regarding artwork, but nature too.


Red Admiral Butterfly.  Size is always relative and its possible to fine a whole universe on the back of the wings of this butterfly that spent minutes on my shirt before allowing close up macro images to be taken.

I’ve tried to pick out a few images which reflect my close viewing of late and include them here on the blog.

Comma Butterfly.  The only one I've seen this year in the garden.


Nice lighting helps me get close up and artistic.

I became an avid reader years ago, but poetry until recent times was never a passion of mine, and much contemporary poetry still leaves me cold.  However, we all change in time and poetry is now very much on my agenda, and you may have noticed John Clare features occasionally on this blog and much of his work was with me throughout lockdown.  I am widening my scope and currently reading works by Robert Frost another great poet and very much into nature.  In some respects, lockdown did me a favour.  The great poets that have written about nature clearly studied what they saw at length and learnt a great deal from doing so, and any naturalist or budding naturalist can learn a great deal from that and the work of poets and other nature writers.  Nothing however can replace your own graft in the field.

Red Admiral Butterfly

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