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The Sussex Bluebell Season

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Welcome to my 2022 bluebell woodland project, which this year took me to quiet woodlands near the town of Hailsham in East Sussex. The majority of people enjoy bluebell displays at the very popular Abbot's Wood, but other woodlands can be discovered through (occasional) word of mouth. To protect these woodlands, I will not share the location names, and not without good reason. I noticed severe damage to bluebells in Abbot's Wood, caused by intentional trampling.  In the past, saying hello to people and starting up conversations in the countryside was the norm, but in the last few years, I've begun to notice that the majority of walkers refuse to speak to me out of fear. Ten years ago, people would stop and ask me about my photography, take my card and bring up my work the next time we met. That has all gone, possibly forever. Another exceptionally mild (and dry) winter and spring lead to early flowering, with the peak height and blooming around 25th April. I visited the w

Early Summer Roe Deer Project - June 2021

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I felt like a fraud at first, but I returned to the deer meadow in 2021 by train and bike. Last year's prohibitions on the use of public transport for non-essential journeys meant completing the entire 52 mile round trip by bicycle. I can now step off the train and cycle to the nature reserve, but I still get 8 miles of cycling. I am drawn to the meadow in early June because an explosion of wildflowers attracts Roe deer from surrounding land to feed, raise young and establish territory for the rutting season.  I've struck lucky with a tolerant older buck this summer (see below). At first, I thought he was the same buck from 2019 and 2020, but they are probably just related. He was a little nervous on the first encounter. The buck got up, ate as many buttercups as he could and moved to a different spot nearby. It's almost as if was hedging his bets. My presence didn't frighten him, but the deer stocked up on energy in case I turned out to be one of the unfortunate recen

Best of Bluebells: 2013 - 2021

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The UK hasn't enjoyed the best of spring weather in 2021. Below average temperatures and lack of rainfall left flora about 20 days behind normal growth levels. Climate change is now causing high pressure systems to stall, resulting in long periods of dry, but above or below average temperatures. Apart from three recent visits to Abbot's Wood, limited opportunities for taking pictures this spring prompted me to look back on the many arduous memories of trips to bluebell woodlands over the last eight years, excluding 2020 because of the pandemic. Seeing trees and the forest floor wake up signals the end of winter and the start of a new growing season for birds, mammals and plants. Mid-Sussex, May 2016.     Abbot's Wood, East Sussex, April 2016.     Abbot's Wood, East Sussex, April 2019.     Dockey Wood, Buckinghamshire, April 2015.     Itchen Wood, Hampshire, April 2019.     Micheldever Wood, Hampshire, April 2019.     Mid Sussex, May 2019.     Mid-Sussex, May 2019.    

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