Category Archives: Image of the month

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

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



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







November in pictures

Here’s a handsome chap worthy of our image of the month award for November.

This Hebridean Ram was captured in all his glory by Sarah Lambert during a walk at Swaddywell Nature Reserve.  He is part of the Langdyke flock of sheep who work all year around to help keep our reserves in tip top condition.

He and his Hebridean ewes are currently grazing at Swaddywell.  Another large mixed flock of Jacobs, Hebridean and Soay ewes keep the grass down at Etton Maxey.

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 November.

Voles have been capturing attention during the month.  Volunteer Malcolm Holley took this image as he was out and about inspecting some special areas created to attract small mammals when he found this one at Etton Maxey. That’s Malcolm’s boot on the left – the vole is on the right!

A vole at Etton Maxey: Photo: Malcolm Holley

This bank vole was seen in the undergrowth at Swaddywell and captured on camera by Duncan Kirkwood.

A bank vole in the undergrowth at Swaddywell. Photo: Duncan Kirkwood

Field fare are a common sight at this time of the year on the reserves. Steve Zealand captured this image

A fieldfare at Etton Maxey. Photo: Steve Zealand

The colours of autumn are, of course, at their spectacular best during November. Sarah Lambert took this shot of Swaddywell.

Autumn at Swaddywell Nature Reserve. Photo: Sarah Lambert

As usual our volunteers have been out and about busy working on the reserves. At one of the Etton Maxey working parties John Parsonage was on hand to put a new owl box up into a tree alongside the Vergette wood meadow paddocks. Keren Thomson took the photo.

John Parsonage putting up an owl box on the edge of Vergette Wood Meadow at Etton. Photo: Keren Thomson

There are volunteer work parties at both Etton and Swaddywell on a weekly basis and new helpers are always welcome. See the website home page for more details here



October in pictures

Brown Hares have become a familiar sight to visitors of the Etton Maxey nature reserve.

They are often seen darting around in the undergrowth. But it’s not everyday that someone captures a photo of them.  So we have selected this shot – captured by Steve Zealand – as our image of the month for October.

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 October.

A pair of Ospreys have also been sighted on the reserve and along the Maxey Cut.  This image was taken by Martin Browne.

An Osprey, seen on Maxey Cut, Photo: Martin Browne

Martin also took this shot of a Stonechat at Etton Maxey.

Stonechat, Etton Maxey reserve. Photo: Martin Browne

The fungal foray around Castor Hanglands and led by David Cowcill proved a popular event and walkers saw a wide variety of specimens.  This was one of the many finds, photographed by Brian Lawrence.

One of the many finds during the fungal foray at Castor Hanglands Photo: Brian Lawrence

As usual it’s been a busy month for the volunteers working on the various reserves.  Without them the Langdyke Countryside Trust would not be able to maintain the landscape it cares for in tip top condition.

The volunteers carry out a wide variety of tasks including clearing undergrowth, controlling trees, maintaining fences and keeping an eye on the trust’s flock of sheep.  Most of the work parties, working out of bases at Etton, Swaddywell and Castor,  are advertised via facebook, but if anyone is interested in taking part they can contact the trust through the website emailing:

The work suits all age groups, shapes and sizes and can be carried out at your own pace and to your own capabilities.  It usually ends with a cup of tea or coffee, cakes and a good chat.

One of the tasks at Etton Maxey has been removing hawthorn bushes from one of the areas so that the sheep don’t get too tangled up in them when they graze the area in the spring.  Keren Thompson took this picture.

Removing hawthorn bushes from a sheep grazing area in North Wood at Etton Maxey Photo: Keren Thompson

More volunteers, including some from a group of ex-Perkins employees,  can be seen hard at work as Swaddywell in this image take by Chris Gray.

A busy day at Swaddywell. Photo: Chris Gray

A group of Langdyke volunteers from the southern group were among those who answered a call for help to clear the old stationmasters garden at Ailsworth.  Mike Horne captured the action.

Langdyke members were among the volunteers busy at work tidying up the stationmaster’s garden in Ailsworth Photo: Mike Horne


September in pictures

Here is a lovely summer sight to savour as autumn colours take over in the countryside we all enjoy.

This photograph of a Common Blue butterfly was captured at Swaddywell Pit Nature Reserve by Langdyke member Brian Lawrence. We have chosen it as our image of the month for September.

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 September.

During his walk around Swaddywell, Brian also took this photograph of blackberries on a bush at the reserve.

Blackberries at Swaddywell. Photo: Brian Lawrence

During September there  has been a relatively rare find growing near the water’s edge  at Vergette Wood Meadow, Etton.

Trifid Bur-marigold Bidens tridentata at Vergette Wood Meadow. Photo: Sarah Lambert


This is Trifid Bur-marigold – also known as Bidens tridentata – found on the edge of the lake , the first record of this species locally since 1976, when Terry Wells recorded it at Upton.

Sarah Lambert, who took this photograph, says it is a late flowering annual species that favours nutrient-rich mud at the edges of rivers, ponds and lakes, and is very uncommon away from the Nene valley.

Sarah wrote on Facebook: “It is a declining species, specially in south-east England, so a good one to have in a Langdyke Trust reserve.”

The turtle doves at Etton Maxey have again been regularly seen during August ahead of their expected migration.

A turtle dove at Etton Maxey. Photo: Martin Browne

This image of just one of a small, but healthy, number was captured by Martin Browne.

Other bird life at the reserve included this Partridge family.

The Partridge Family! Breakfast time at Etton Maxey. Photo: John Parsonage


The picture was taken by John Parsonage.

As usual, our working parties have been busy carrying out tasks at our reserves.

Clearing the pond at Etton High Meadow. Photo: Keren Thompson

This image shows work underway to clear the pond at Etton High Meadow of rotting and damaging plant life.  As well as cleaning up the water, branches were removed from surrounding trees to let light in and undergrowth trimmed away. The photo was taken by Keren Thomson.

It’s not all work and no play as this party image of the Western reserves work team shows.

Party time at Swaddywell. Working party members enjoy lunch after another hard working session Photo: Sue Welch

Sue Welch took this picture of the team enjoying their well deserved annual barbecue.