Monday, May 10, 2010

Cowslips and an Orange Tip

Late yesterday afternoon, I visited Oxwich, a nature reserve on the Gower Peninsula. Several times, I had gone past a field here, about this time of year, that was ablaze with Cowslips, a typical flower of British meadows, but now in decline. It was a calm day, so I thought it might be a good time to stop and photograph these yellow beauties - assuming they were there and in full bloom. I needn't have worried, as the field was choc full of these distinctive plants:

As I entered the meadow, an unfamiliar bird flew low towards me; its long-tailed and -winged appearance giving it a bird of prey-type profile. I thought it was perhaps a Hobby, or maybe even a Kestrel, but as it flew past, almost overhead, I realised it was a Cuckoo. These birds are rather scarce around here, and it was so long (several years) since I had seen one, that I had forgotten what they looked like!
This was a good start, and I thus spent the next hour or so wandering the field, taking a few snaps, and sitting just taking in the peace and beauty whilst refreshing myself with food and drink.
I took these two pictures with my Canon 7D and a 70-200mm lens:

I then switched to a 17-40mm lens with an extension tube to get a wide-angle perspective:

As you can see from this shot, there were a few other plants amongst the Cowslips, including plenty of Bluebells, and this Dandelion seedhead:

As I was walking away from the large bulk of Cowslips, my eye was caught by a single plant growing in a sheltered corner on its own. An Orange Tip butterfly was resting atop, which made a beautiful colour combination. It was so docile, I was able to approach very closely, and photograph it from several angles. Using extension tubes on the 70-200mm lens, I was almost on top of it. I wished I had brought my 90mm macro with me for some even closer close-ups. That's what I get for being lazy! Anyway, a few photos:

All in all, it was a pleasant way to while away a couple of hours on a calm Sunday evening, at a place I will have to return to very soon!

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