Slices of Spring Magic…

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Water vole @ HighdownWe went for a walk in one of our favourite places on the planet – Highdown Gardens, a wonderful garden created by Frederick Stern on the south-facing side of a large hill just outside Worthing. It sounds ideal until you realise said hill is looking straight out onto the sea and takes the brunt of everything an English maritime climate can hurl at it, especially those salt-laden winds…

Water vole @ Highdown2On this particular sunny day, we were treated to the sight of this water vole busily gnawing through leaves and scuttering along the bank. We watched her (we decided it must be female – the male was probably stuck indoors watching the cricket…) for nearly half an hour. During that time several people wandered by, but she seemed unconcerned. The name water rat seems all wrong – her fur was far thicker and her body shape quite different to a rat. What we did notice was the way she bobbed in the water as she flung herself back into the pond periodically and disappearing below the surface, before reappearing again.

Water vole @ HighdownIt was when we were toiling up the hill, I heard the buzzing coming from the hellebore shrub and caught sight of this gigantic bumble bee. It’s difficult to judge from the pics, which I have enlarged, but this beastie was HUGE. Easily the size of a 2p coin and with a vivid orange bottom, and teddy-bear furred – she was the antithesis of aerodynamic. Yet there she was, grazing the flowers. Bumblebee on hellebore8I only have a point and shoot camera and find photographing bees quite tricky. They are easily spooked and don’t stay still all that long so was delighted when she obliged by continuing to crawl around the flower. I like to think she was bunking off from her daily toil and having a bit of a sunbathe in the spring sunshine…

Bumblebee on hellebore6

Bumblebee on hellebore7

4 responses »

    • Hi Lydia,
      Many thanks for taking the time and effort to comment. We have had some lovely sunny spells recently – and when that easterly wind drops, it has felt quite warm – hence all the sudden activity, with the explosion of daffodil flowering everywhere. I’m SO looking forward to the summer and I hope you, too, get some sunny love in Toronto, soon. When will it really start warming up for you folks?

  1. Those are beautiful photos, Sarah! And very up close to the bee. You can see the veins in its wings!

    I think I’ve seen a vole before… yes, meadow voles in my parents’ yard. They sort of remind me of guinea pigs, except I think voles are smaller…?

  2. Yes! They are… In this country they are now quite rare in the wild as our rivers are either too polluted or the banks are not overgrown enough. So it was a real treat to be able to watch one just scampering around doing vole-stuff. Thank you for your comment about the pics! I really am simply a point and shoot photographer – but I do ENJOY it:)).

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