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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Welcome to my starling murmuration essay for 2020/21. I had planned to photograph something else this winter, but I changed my mind on a whim, after going to Brighton Pier a few days after the second lockdown ended. By the forth visit, I had enough creative images to stop and publish the essay — and the twenty images here are from a total of six trips to the pier . Some of my images are highly unusual, and left me wondering how I even managed to take them. Take the first picture — a night city motion blur shot of birds and light trails from evening traffic. Shots three and four give us an idea of what a starling murmuration would look like, if photographed from within the atmosphere of Jupiter. The monochromatic motion blur images (ten to eighteen) look like they've been sketched on art paper using a pencil. I captured the strangeness of the murmuration, as it compacted into an oval before unravelling like a rope in pouring rain well after sunset, as most other photographers she
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Obviously, 2020 will be remembered for all the wrong reasons and wherever you are in the world, I hope you stay safe and receive a vaccination soon. I was unlucky enough to suffer fever, body aches, a dry cough, loss of taste and smell and confusion back in March. An NHS laboratory test in November confirmed the presence of Covid-19 antibodies in my blood. If there's a silver lining, I still had antibodies (at the time of testing) some 8 months after recovery and they should confer at least some immunity until I receive my vaccine. Since I am on the priority list due to my job in adult social care, I expect to receive my first jab in the new year. Sadly, not everyone was lucky enough to recover unharmed. I have met several older adults, who nearly died from Covid-19, along with younger people in my age group, who display symptoms of 'Long Covid'. 2020 was a year in which many of us attended more closely to our health. I dropped 17 kg using diet and exercise and this w