‘When I grow up, I want to be a fairy,’ says our five-year-old Sissi as she balances along the trunk of fallen tree, in a field of bluebells.
The wind creates a ripple of radiant violet blue. The bluebells nod to one another, respectfully bowing to the unseen nature spirits.
‘Chiff Chaff, chiff chaff, chiff chaff.’ The beautiful olive brown birds with the stripe across their eyes sing joyfully announcing their arrival from the Mediterranean or West Africa.
It’s the best time of year to see the Chiff Chaff, as they dart around the tree canopy, singing loudly to establish a breeding territory. When the trees are in full leaf, they will rarely be seen in the open, choosing to hide in their green leafy world.
So quick, get outside. Enjoy the the bluebells and Chiff Chaffs now, while the sunlight is warming the forest floor, before the leaves cover the forest canopy once again.
Shot with a super telephoto Canon 400mm2.8 & 2x Converter
April Bluebells in Sussex
HERE ARE SOME OF THE BEST PLACES TO SEE BLUEBELLS IN THE UK.
Hole Park Gardens, East Sussex
Hole Park, Benenden Road, Rolvenden, Kent, TN17 4JA
Blickling Estate, Norfolk
Blickling, Bickling, Norfolk NR11 6NF
Every year thousands of puffins land on a select few islands and we have three short months to see them before they go out to sea again for the rest of the year.
We took our four children to the Farne Islands off the coast of Northumberland for their annual puffin pilgrimage.
There’s a storm brewing. The sea has turned a menacing petrol blue.
‘I’m sorry we have to cancel,’ says the captain. ‘You won’t enjoy it, there’s 47mph winds predicted. You don’t want to get thrown around on a boat out there.’
But that’s where he was wrong. My husband Stuart and my children don’t care about getting thrown around. They do care, however, about seeing the puffins.
The puffins have been elusive to us this year. We were in Scotland hoping to sail from Anstruther, in Fife, to the Isle Of May to visit them, but bad weather kept cancelling the boat.
Undeterred, we drove to Northumberland to try our luck in the Farne Islands, a seabird nirvana that we’d always intended to visit.
Looking down into the water, all I could see was the blue abyss. Then I looked up, and there she was: a 45ft humpback, floating just 20 feet away. In that moment, everything stopped. A marine encounter to top swimming with dolphins – swimming with whales.
By Julie Conway
For years I had longed to swim close to them and explore their world. And for months I had planned my trip, waiting patiently while they made their migration from Antarctica to Vava’u, a string of tiny islands in the Kingdom of Tonga, in the South Pacific seas, where they gather in large numbers to mate and give birth.
How to make the most of your camera in the Galapagos. Stuart Conway, an award-winning photographer, tells Julie Conway .
Splat. A splodge of goo landed right on my lens. It had been snorted out of the nose of a Marine Iguana sitting inches from my camera. Another narrowly missed my arm. This dragon-like creature wasn’t telling me to get out of his space; he was expelling salt water taken in while feeding.