Category Archives: Image of the month

September in pictures

Here’s an unusual shot – a Ramshorn snail enjoying the autumn sunshine (slowly, of course!) near the cabin at Swaddywell Pit nature reserve.

The photo – which we are making our image of the month for September – was taken by Duncan Kirkwood.

Each month we select photographs taken by our Facebook members and posted on our site. They might not be technically perfect – but they sum up the events of that month. Here are some other images from September.

This Fox Moth caterpillar was spotted at Barnack Hills and Holes and photographed by Antony Mould.

Fox Moth caterpillar, Hills and Holes Photo: Antony Mould

Malcolm Hillier came across this Sallow Moth at Castor Hanglands.

Sallow Moth, Castor Hanglands Photo: Malcolm Hillier

And Angela Trotter caught this glimpse of a Small Heath Butterfly at Etton Maxey reserve.

Small Heath butterfly, Etton Maxey Reserve Photo: Angela Trotter

This deer has become  a regular sight at Etton Maxey, this time captured on camera by Steve Zealand.

Deer, Etton Maxey reserve Photo: Steve Zealand

Steve also took this shot of a rather grumpy looking Hebridean Ram – one of the Langdyke flock – having a rest after grazing Vergette Wood Meadow with his eight other mates, a mix of Jacob, Hebridean and Soay rams.

Hebridean Ram, Vergette Wood Meadow Photo: Steve Zealand

Doing an equally good job of cutting back the growth on our reserves were members of the Eastern Reserves work party.  Martin Parsons is seen here sharpening his scythe before having another go at the reed bed which needs some reduction.

Martin Parsons sharpening his scythe ahead of more reed cutting at Etton Maxey Photo: Keren Thomson

Our work parties have been busy on all of our reserves during September.

One of the tasks was painting and repairing the cabin at Torpel. Chris Grant and Cliff Stanton are busy in this shot taken by Anne Bell.

Chris Grant and Cliff Stanton working on the cabin at Torpel Photo: Anne Bell

Mike Horne took this photo of another work party – this time at Castor Hanglands. We are always looking for volunteers for our work parties.  They carry out a wide variety of essential tasks (all socially distanced to meet Coronavirus guidelines) and there are a good range of jobs to do. You can find out more about how to volunteer here

Work party at Castor Hanglands. Photo: Mike Horne

And finally … this month’s most unusual shot of the benefits of nature was taken by Claire Noble after a walk around Swaddywell with her four-year-old son who took his sword along (to the pit referred to as Swordywell by poet John Clare) just in case.

They collected blackberries and apples – and enjoyed this lovely crumble when they got home.

Blackberry and Apple crumble – baked after a walk around Swaddywell Photo: Claire Noble

 

 

 

August in pictures

We’re celebrating the final colours of the summer with our collection of images from August.

Flowers, a kingfisher, butterflies, moths and even a wasp feature in the photos taken and posted by members of our Facebook group during the month.

But we have chosen this wonderful shot of a Chalkhill Blue on a plant at the Barnack Hills and Holes reserve as our image of the month.  It was taken by Liam Boyle.

Each month we select photographs taken by our Facebook members and posted on our site. They might not be technically perfect – but they sum up the events of that month. Here are some other images from August.

The most unusual shot of the month was taken by Steve Lonsdale of this water vole at the Etton Maxey reserve. It was taken using a night camera.

A water vole captured on a night camera by Steve Lonsdale

It’s good news that evidence of water vole activity has been discovered at several points across the reserve.

There have been several sightings at the reserve of a roe deer.  This image was captured by Angela Trotter.

Roe deer, Etton Maxey reserve Photo: Angela Trotter

Other photos taken at Etton Maxey during the month included this yellow wagtail seen by Steve Zealand.

Yellow wagtail, Etton Maxey Photo: Steve Zealand

And Brian Lawrence captured this shot of a lesser black-backed gull.

Lesser black-backed gull, Etton Maxey. Photo: Brian Lawrence

The nearby Maxey Cut was the venue for this shot of a Kingfisher by Angela Trotter.

A kingfisher along the Maxey Cut. Photo: Angela Trotter

There were some lovely flowers on display during the month.

Harebell, Hills and Holes Photo: Sarah Lambert
Black Medick, Etton Maxey reserve Photo: Kathryn Parsons
Autumn gentian, Hills and Holes Photo: Sarah Lambert
Small scabious sed head, Hills and Holes Photo: Sarah Lambert

Moth trapping and spotting has become a popular pastime for a number of Langdyke members.  Malcolm Hillier took this photo f a Webb’s Wainscott moth while out with a group of Langdyke friends.

Webb’s Wainscott moth, Malcolm Hillier

It’s not every month that we could include a shot of something as common as a wasp.  But the great colours in this image – captured by Duncan Kirkwood – make it a striking photo.

Wasp, Swaddywell, Photo: Duncan Kirkwood

And finally, work parties have returned on Langdke’s reserves following the long Coronavirus lockdown.  Special socially distanced measure are in place with tools and equipment being cleaned and gloves worn to keep the volunteers as safe as possible.

In this image Mick Thomson can be seen tidying up the fringes of the community orchard after it was flailed by commercial contractors.

Tidying the orchard at Etton High Meadow Photo: Keren Thomson

And here’s an example of the type of work that parties undertake.  This is a new stile installed at the Swaddywell reserve by Malcolm Holley and Peter Leverington.  You can find more information about becoming a Langdyke volunteer on our website here

 

 

 

 

July in pictures

Nature has continued to enjoy the English summer – even if July’s weather has been a bit mixed at times.

The early hot weather has meant that a lot of species have been in abundance this year.

The ruddy darter in our main picture was out in all its spectacular glory at Swaddywell and proved a great image for Brian Lawrence to capture.

Each month we select photographs taken by our Facebook members and posted on our site. They might not be technically perfect – but they sum up the events of that month. Here are some other images from July.

After the lockdown caused by Coronavirus our work parties started to get back to some normality – although restricted in numbers and doing work with socially distancing precautions in place.

Work party, Etton Maxey, July 2020
Photo: Keren Thomson

Across all of our reserves there was plenty of nature to capture. This scene at Swaddywell was photographed by Ian Wilson.

Swaddywell, July 2020
Photo: Ian Wilson

Here are just some of the photos taken by our members and supporters.

Chalkhill blue, Barnack Hills and Holes Photo: Steve Lonsdale
Common Century at Etton Maxey
Photo: Martin Parsons
Elephant Hawk Moth, Torpel
Photo: Malcolm Hillier
Green Veined white, Castor Hanglands
Photo: Ian Wilson
Peacock, Castor Hanglands
Photo: Matthew Webb
Poplar Grey moth, Etton Maxey
Photo: Bob Titman

 

 

 

June in pictures

June was the month when the Coronavirus lockdown was eased a little and many of us had the chance to get out and enjoy the countryside.

It was a month in which nature did its best to give us great displays – whether it was in the form of insects, birds or flowers.

This Silver-washed fritillary butterfly (above) was spotted by Cliff Stanton at Castor Hanglands.  We’ve chosen it as our image of the month for June.

Each month we select photographs taken by our Facebook members. They might not be technically perfect – but they sum up the events of that month. Here are some other images from June.

There were a number of great butterfly pictures taken at our reserves during the month.

This marbled white was spotted at Barnack Hills and Holes and photographed by Steve Lonsdale.

Marbled White, Hills and Holes Photo: Steve Lonsdale

And this Little Skipper image was captured by Paula Mason at Castor Hanglands.

Little Skipper, photographed at Castor Hanglands by Paula Mason

Meanwhile Angela Trotter took this shot of a Comma basking in the sunshine at Etton

Comma butterfly, Etton
Photo: Angela Trotter

Visitors to Etton Maxey will probably have seen one of several Brown Hares chasing across the reserve.  This one was seen and photographed by Martin Browne.

Brown Hare, Etton Maxey Pit
Photo: Martin Browne

Equally impressive was this shot of a magnificent deer taken by John Parsonage.

Deer Photo: John Parsonage

A red kite resting in a tree at Castor Hanglands caught the eye and camera of Steve Zealand.

Red Kite, Castor Hanglands Photo: Steve Zealand

There were a number of floral displays which attracted attention as well.  Here are some of them.

Southern Marsh orchid, Southorpe Meadow Photo: Mitchell Pearce
St Johns Wort, Swaddywell Pit Photo: Kevin Eldred
Mountain everlasting, Hills and Holes Photo: Chris Gardiner
Dark Mullein, Barnack Hills and Holes Photo: Sarah Lambert

Ian Wilson was out and about when he saw this Shoulder striped Wainscot moth at Swaddywell.

Shoulder-striped Wainscot photographed at Swaddywell by Ian Wilson

And finally, we couldn’t resist this photo. Steve Zealand forgot to put out food in the usual spot for his visiting hedgehog. The spiky fellow must have been put out because the next morning Steve found a gentle reminder not to forget again … in the form of some poo!

 

 

 

 

May in pictures

It’s official – Spring 2020 was the hottest and driest on record.

And – coupled with the Coronavirus lockdown – it has meant that our members have been out and about in nature, practising social distancing and enjoying the countryside at the same time.

It helps if you get up at the crack of dawn and an early morning visit to Etton Maxey Pits paid off for Angela Trotter who took this great shot of a Roe Deer in the distance.  We’re making it our image of the month for May.

Each month we select photographs taken by our Facebook members. They might not be technically perfect – but they sum up the events of that month. Here are some other images from May.

Everyone loves the Wren and this little thing was seen alongside the Maxey Cut by Liam Boyle.

A wren, seen alongside the Maxey Cut by Liam Boyle

It is good to see the Turtle Doves are back along the Maxey Cut and making use of the special feeding operation mounted by Langdyke volunteers at the Etton Maxey nature reserve car park.  Kevin Eldred took this shot.

The Turtle Doves are back at Etton Maxey nature reserve. Photo: Kevin Eldred

It is interesting to view our nature reserves at different times of the year.  Here are three May shots of Swaddywell, Etton Maxey and Castor Hanglands.

Swaddywell Pit in the May sunshine. Photo: Steve Zealand
Etton Maxey Puts nature reserve in May. Photo: Paul Bragg
Castor Hanglands in the Spring. Photo: Martin Parsons

The Covid-19 lockdown has meant that Langdyke has been unable to hold working parties.  One of the casualties of that is that no tern rafts were launched on to the water at Etton Maxey to attract breeding birds this year.

All the same it was good to see that this Common Tern made it’s way to the site in May and was photographed by Steve Zealand.

A Common Tern at Etton Maxey nature reserve. Photo: Steve Zealand

Other images captured during the month prove what a diverse range of species our reserves attract.

Ian Wilson captured this shot of a Skylark at Etton Maxey Pits
A Scorpion fly hiding in the undergrowth at Castor Hanglands. Photo: Ian Wilson
Reed bunting, Etton Maxey nature reserve. Photo: Martin Parsons
This Purple orchid was photographed in early May at Barnack Hills and Holes by Sarah Lambert
Orchid, photographed during a daily walk for exercise by Langdyke’s artist in residence Kathryn Parsons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A mayfly nestling in the undergrowth at Vergette Wood Meadow. Photo: Richard Astle
Grizzled skipper, Swaddywell. Photo: Brian Lawrence
Broad bodied chaser. Photo: Steve Lonsdale
Bee Orchid, Swaddywell. Photo: Steve Lonsdale

And finally. Just to prove that you don’t have to go outside to view nature.  Sue Welch discovered this Brimstone Moth had been trapped in her kitchen overnight.  After a quick photo it was released back into nature.

This Brimstone Moth was trapped overnight in Sue Welch’s kitchen. She photographed in the morning before letting it free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April in pictures

Social distancing measures and the Government’s Coronavirus stay-at-home message meant that we asked you to share some of your garden photos – and have we had some amazing shots.

And the picture (above) of the first Toads returning to the garden pond  taken by Sarah Lambert has been selected as our image of the month for April.

Each month we select photographs taken by our Facebook members. They might not be technically perfect – but they sum up the events of that month. Here are some other images from April.

Our gardens are really rich with nature if this month’s pictures are anything to go by

This great shot of a Woodpecker was taken by John Parsonage.

Woodpecker Photo: John Parsonage

One of several Langdyke challenges set on our Facebook page was to find and take a photo of a beefly.  Nathan Stimpson didn’t just find one – he found a pair … and they were actually mating.

Beeflies mating Photo: Nathan Stimpson

This Orange Tip butterfly was spotted by Chris Gardiner in his garden.

Orange Tip butterfly Photo: Chris Gardiner

And Steve Lonsdale came across this Damsel fly.

Damsel fly Photo: Steve Lonsdale

There was no shortage of bird life either.  Although these ducks were unusual visitors in Keren Thomson’s garden.

Ducks in the garden Photo: Keren Thomson

And this partridge decided to drop in on Michael Jarman’s doorstep.

Partridge Photo: Michael Jarman

Our final garden shot is a colourful rainbow montage.  Another of our garden challenges was to take photos which represented a rainbow.  This is what Kathryn Parsons came up with.

Rainbow challenge image Photo: Kathryn Parsons

Of course, there was still a lot going in the outside world for those of us lucky enough to be able to enjoy as we took on our daily exercise routine.

The return of the Turtle Doves to the Etton Maxey reserve and surrounding area – earlier than some thought – has proved very welcome.

Linda Wellington was one of the first to spot one of them and took this photo alongside the Maxey Cut.

Turtle Dove, Maxey Cut Photo: Linda Wellington

While Steve Lonsdale captured this image of the magnificent display of Bluebells in the wood off Heath Road, Helpston while he was out walking.

Bluebells, Heath Road, Helpston Photo: Steve Lonsdale

Steve was also lucky enough to spot a cuckoo – the  call of which we all enjoy as one of the first sounds of summer days to come.

Cuckoo Photo: Steve Lonsdale

 

 

 

 

 

March in pictures

The signs of Spring are definitely in evidence if these pictures shot on our reserves during March are anything to go by.

They were all taken before the Government issued its Coronavirus advice to all of us to stay at home.

We’ve chosen the photo of the wild pear tree taken by Kathryn Parsons as our image of the month.

It’s probably the last time for a while that we will be focussing on pictures taken on the reserves.  We’ll be concentrating on photos of wildlife in the gardens of members for the time being.  Please start posting them – so that we can all share the delights without having to go out and put ourselves and others at risk.

Each month we select photographs taken by our members. They might not be technically perfect – but they sum up the events of that month. Here are some other images from March.

Kathryn also took this picture of our full time volunteers at work on the Etton Maxey reserve, grazing the grass and keeping the reserves in shape – having to do their work without the assistance of human volunteers for the time being.

Langdyke’s sheep at Etton Maxey. Photo: Kathryn Parsons

It is hoped that we will have the first Langdyke lambs during April, so please keep visiting the site for news of new arrivals. In line with Government advice we will be maintaining our livestock checking regime to ensure our sheep remain healthy.

An early morning walk along the Maxey Cut by Angela Trotter resulted in this great shot of a weasel, apparently on the hunt for a rabbit for breakfast.

Weasel along the Maxey Cut. Photo: Angela Trotter

This common field speedwell was captured at Swaddywell Pit by Sarah Lambert.

Common field speedwell, seen at Swaddywell. Photo: Sarah Lambert

There was plenty of birdlife on view during the month. This redshank was spotted at Etton Maxey by Steve Zealand.

Redshank, Etton Maxey. Photo: Steve Zealand

Nathan Stimpson was also at Etton Maxey to capture this shot of a Heron, a regular resident on the reserve.

Heron, Etton Maxey. Photo: Nathan Stimpson

And this greylag goose caught the eye of Steve Zealand at Etton Maxey.

Greylag goose, Etton Maxey. Photo: Steve Lonsdale

And finally the splendour of Barnack Hills and Holes was captured in this image by David Alvey.  We’ve chosen to use it as a reminder that we should all stay at home and only exercise where we can practice safe self distancing.  Keep safe!

Barnack Hills and Holes. Photo: David Alvey

 

 

 

 

 

February in pictures

Water, water everywhere

One thing summed up the month of February 2020 … water.  And lots of it.

So that’s why we are using the image of a flooded Etton Maxey Pits Nature Reserve as our image of the month.

Each month we select photographs taken by our members. They might not be technically perfect – but they sum up the events of that month. This month’s image was taken by David Rowell. Here are some other images from February.

The rainfall has seriously disrupted farmers and gardeners in their preparations for the year ahead. And we will have to wait and see what affect it has on nature generally.

One thing that the heavy rainfall might have improved is the chances of getting more wading birds on site at the Etton Maxey site.

This picture was taken by Brian Lawrence.  It is hoped that both waders and lovers of mud will be attracted to the site in greater numbers.

High water levels at Etton Maxey Photo: Brian Lawrence

More evidence of the rainfall could be seen in this image captured by Keren Thomson of the wooded area of Etton Wood Meadow. It shows more water than wood!

Vergette Wood Meadow in flood Photo: Keren Thomson

One of the highlights of the month was a visit by Langdyke volunteers to help with conservation work at Marholm Field Bank – the smallest reserve looked after by the Trust.

It is a little gem of a place hidden just off the A47 and is not open to the public.

Nathan Stimpson took this shot showing evidence of a woodmouse that had been chewing away on a nut at the site.

Signs of a woodmouse, found during a visit to Marholm Field Bank Photo: Nathan Stimpson

Some delighted specimens among the undergrowth were uncovered and photographed by Sarah Lambert.  They included this Primrose.

Primrose Premolar Vulgaris at Marholm Field Bank Photo: Sarah Lambert

This is an unusual magnified photograph by Sarah of neat feather moss.

An enlarged photo of neat feather moss found at Marholm Field Bank Photo: Sarah Lambert

 

 

Work parties take place across most of the Langdyke reserves and we are always looking for volunteers to help out. They usually last a couple of hours and end with a friendly chat and a cuppa. If you would like to take part please email editor@langdyke.org.uk

Another work party – this time at Etton – was busy litter picking and lifted this old tree guard to uncover snails in winter hibernation.  The guard was left where it was, allowing the snails to slumber on.

Hibernating snails found during a work party at Etton Photo: Kathryn Parsons

And finally …  during a visit to Swaddywell Pit Sarah Lambert photographed these juvenile smooth newts.

Juvenile smooth newts at Swaddywell Photo: Sarah Lambert

January in pictures

What a fabulous sight! A lovely winter sunset over the reed beds at Swaddywell nature reserve.

This photograph – which we have selected as our image of the month – was captured by Brian Lawrence in mid January and illustrates beautifully the marvellous gold evening hue.

Each month we select photographs taken by our members. They might not be technically perfect – but they sum up the events of that month. Here are some other images from January.

This winter Teasel was also photographed by Brian at Swaddywell on the same day.

A winter Teasel at Swaddywell Photo: Brian Lawrence

Snowdrops are a sure sign that winter is waning (hopefully) and that spring is just around the corner. Sue Welch captured this image during a work party at Bainton Heath.

Snowdrops at Bainton Heath Photo: Sue Welch

It was during another work party – this time at Etton High Meadow – that this unusual photograph of Pixie Cup lichens was taken by Kathryn Parsons.

Pixie cup lichens growing on wood at Etton High Meadow Photo: Kathryn Parsons

There has been plenty of bird life on our reserves during the month.  Perhaps the most spectacular images are of the murmurations over Etton Maxey.  This one was captured by Steve Lonsdale.  There have been many others including this video elsewhere on our website

A murmuration at Etton Maxey Photo: Steve Lonsdale

This Goldeneye image was also captured at Etton Maxey by Nathan Stimpson.

A goldeneye at Etton Maxey Reserve Photo: Nathan Stimpson

And these reed buntings were on show at Swaddywell. This picture was taken by Duncan Kirkwood.

Reed buntings at Swaddywell. Photo: Duncan Kirkwood

As usual our work parties have been out and about during the month, despite the cold weather. This month we are featuring two photos that show just what a difference a year (or so) makes.

AFTER: the pond at Castor Hanglands this winter Photo: Mike Horne

This is a pond at Castor Hanglands now, having been brought back to life after some hard work clearing out debris and unwanted undergrowth.

It is now in good condition and demonstrates that nature needs a little helping hand from time to time.

Langdyke volunteers can and do make that difference.

The image below shows what a sorry state it was in not so long ago before the clearance work was undertaken.

BEFORE: The area that used to be a pond before clearance work at Castor Hanglands Photo: Mike Horne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are always on the lookout for volunteers.  Regular work parties take place at Swaddywell and Etton every week.

If you would like to make a difference and give nature a helping hand please get in touch via editor@langydke.org.uk

 

 

December in pictures

This fantastic winter sunset was what greeted walkers who went for a bird-watching ramble around the Maxey-Etton reserve and nearby Cut earlier in December.

The picture was captured by Mick Thomson and we have chosen it as our image of the month for December.

Each month we select photographs taken by our members. They might not be technically perfect – but they sum up the events of that month. Here are some other images from December.

Participants on the walk, which was led by Bob Titman, were also treated to this spectacular starlings murmuration, captured by Angela Trotter.

The spectacular Starling murmuration over Etton Maxey; Photo: Angela Trotter

Winter is well and truly with us now and the colours in our reserves reflect that.

These Hawthorn berries make a vibrant statement in contrast to the other colours of the season.  They were spotted and photographed by Sarah Lambert during a visit to Swaddywell.

A seasonal view of Hawthorn berries on a bush at Swaddywell. Photo: Sarah Lambert

Sarah also took this image of Swaddywell in all of its winter glory.

The magnificence of Swaddywell in winter. Photo: Sarah Lambert

As usual our volunteers have carried on with their work on the reserves.

Clearing out a nest box was one of the tasks at Swaddywell when Kathryn Parsons came across this spider sheltering from the cold.

A spider found in a bird box at Swaddywell. Photo: Kathryn Parsons

As always there was plenty  of work to do during the month. A good bonfire helps clear space and keep the cold away from volunteers at the same time. This photo at Etton Maxey was taken by Keren Thomson,

Bonfire time at Etton Maxey during one of the Monday work parties. Photo Keren Thomson

A few days later similar clearing up duties were underway at Swaddywell in this image captured by Sue Welch.

Tidying up during a work party at Swaddywell. Photo: Sue Welch

The History and Archaeology group has also been busy on the Torpel Manor site, seen here making delicate repairs to an ancient wall. The photo was taken by Mary Purdon.

The History and Archaeology group busy on a wall on the Torpel Manor site. Photo: Mary Purdon

While we all sit down to enjoy our Christmas lunch let’s not forget the Trust’s flock of sheep – who work 24/7 to keep the grass down across all of our reserves.  They enjoyed an early Christmas feast during one of the work parties at Etton Maxey, tucking into some sugar beet. The occasion was captured by Kathryn Parsons,

Some of the Langdyke sheep enjoying a Christmas-time lunch of sugar beet. Photo: Kathryn Parsons