Today started with a bat survey where the moon was large behind the tree and the sky was brightening with the oncoming dawn in the opposite direction. I love survey nights like this – especially when the moon is bright enough to cast shadows from the trees. I set the timelapse below running as dawn approached – I love the flush of pink as the new sun hits the clouds at the end.
I came across this wild nest of honey bees in an oak tree today – I was very careful not to represent a threat to them by causing no disturbance, and they happily continued to fly in and out of the nest while I took short video. Those coming in were laden with heavy yellow pollen baskets, whilst those on their way out shot past as though unburdened, flying fast and straight as though they’d just removed their training weights. A short clip below!
Two elements of being outside at this time of year do somewhat detract from the pleasure of being out in nature. First is the horseflies – these are incredibly persistent little flies with quite a painful bite and definitely not one of my favourite creatures. They seemed to hang around the car waiting for us to get back and this one found its way inside and onto the sill below the window. Strangely, I do find them rather charming, and certainly more personable, when you can see them at a scale you can relate to, and this little clip of one cleaning their face in slow-motion was rather nice! It didn’t however dispose me that much better to them when I got back out and the onslaught began once more!
Second is hayfever – not an ideal affliction for an ecologist and one which is particularly sparked for me by the grasses. We were walking through a meadow to reach one area of the site today, but despite the sneezes, they are beautiful in their diversity. Below is a selection of species taken from the meadow – from left to right we have: crested dog’s tail, meadow foxtail, two rye grasses, false oat grass, soft brome, timothy, cock’s foot, creeping bent and reed canary grass. Somewhere along the way, I lost the red fescue which finished the set!