Friday, 19 April 2019


Late February in my pond. The pond is one year old, but already has more than 10 adult frogs in temporary residence for the breeding season. A couple of newts spotted as well, but not photographed. A wonderful froggy chorus from them through the middle of the day.

Two males on the lookout for a female

Looking a bit like a former UKIP leader

The next generation

Croaking ripples


Thursday, 21 February 2019

Last summer

Ah... it seems I somehow missed 2018 in the blog sense. I've got some 2019 frogs ready to go, but first here's some pictures from last year. The Four-spotted chaser dragonflies are actually from Ham Wall in Somerset, not Tyntesfield, but I think they are worth sharing.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Life and Death

A fallen Oak at Tyntesfield, overwhelmed by the weight of its own new life. The first picture is late in the evening, I love the dandelions in the field providing a starscape. I went back the next morning for a different set of shadows. On a much smaller scale, my pond is home to a number of Great Diving Beetle larvae. They have decimated the tadpole population and continue to consume voraciously anything unfortunate enough to come within range of their lethal jaws.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Day Glow Meadow

With mission 'Emperor's Emerging' now behind me, it's been on to mission 'Meadow'. The two lower fields at Tyntesfield have been reseeded with wildflowers over the last year. It will take some time before the flowers re-assert themselves over the grasses, but like any meadow they are still a spectacle to behold and one I wished to document.

The recent gusty turn in the weather slightly blew my dreams away, certainly for aerial photography. However, this meteorological hostility was as nothing to the unromantic and brutal horse-fly assault I have been repeatedly subjecting myself too. I am a huge fan of Laurie Lee's evocative coming of age memoir 'Cider With Rosie', but all I can imagine is that you'd have to be anaesthetised with a great deal of cider before contemplating doing anything with Rosie in this meadow. Then there's the ticks... and the hay fever..., but I do understand nature has no obligation to be kind to me and at least it has the unwitting grace to be aesthetically rewarding.

Also some happy snappy snaps below of a glorious glow-worm and other garden grubs.

Meadow grass in Toggles Field at sunset

Fly dancing in the sunlight

Meadow grasses and Ox-eye Daisies

Toggles meadow and a miraculous Emperor Dragonfly

One of many kinds of meadow grass heavy with seed

Birdsfoot trefoil. I was seeking Yellow Rattle, this illuminated my ignorance.

Very close Birdsfoot trefoil

Tyntesfield House from 30m in the air

A glow
A Glow-worm

The same Glow-worm still glowing

Glow-worm glowing

A Damselfly at Backwell Lake

Cinnabar moth caterpillar

Ladybird pupa transforming on my tadpole tank

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Nocturnal Dragonfly Explosion

'Dragonfly Week' at the Kitchen Garden Pond proved to be a spectacular event once again. I witnessed over 50 Emperor Dragonflies emerging. After 2 years underwater they shed their skins one last time, sprout wings and take to the air. All the action was at night, favourably warm overnight temperatures allowing the dragonflies to hatch in darkness and then fly away in the very early morning light.

I was on stakeout over consecutive nights, filming for the National Trust and, on one of the nights, with the BBC's One Show. Prior to that, I had been monitoring the pond for several days and keeping an obsessive eye on the weather to try and predict when the hatch would occur. Happily, I got it right and we saw and filmed some truly tremendous dragonfly action.

Newly emerged Emperor Dragonfly

Tyntesfield's walled garden pond, possibly the centre of the universe.

An underwater eye on the action.

Temperature chart, peaking perfectly for night-time dragonfly hatching.

Emerging Emperor Dragonfly, resting while the legs harden.

"Sticky", fell off his Iris into the pond, was relocated to a stick to dry off and departed successfully.

A Broad-bodied Chaser exuvia (empty larval case) - head end only, from a nearby pond.