|Traditionally, the month of April should herald the opening of new leaves, gradually filling out the canopy of the woodlands but still allowing shafts of sunlight through them. As it is, with huge shifts in weather patterns and unseasonal changes, I doubt the plants and flowers have any more idea than we do of what is coming next. As I write, the South East of England is going through the coldest week in a decade and there is a foot of snow outside the door! |
Animals and Birds
The summer migration is now in full swing, with many of our summer visitors arriving this month. Our native birds are already nesting and some will even have young in the nest. Down at the marshes, the resonant boom of the elusive Bittern can be heard over long distances. Though not loud, the male’s song can be heard up to 4 kilometres away and it’s more persistent nature as dusk approaches, along with the ventriloquial quality makes it very difficult to locate. Rookeries will also be a cacophony of noise as these are one of the early breeders. Another bird to look out for as they arrive from below the Sahara is the Turtle Dove whose trilling is unique amongst the pigeon breeds.
The mammals too have started to breed and if you are careful you may see fox cubs frolicking in the early evening towards the end of the month. Mammal breeding is triggered by the availability of food sources and as fish become more active in the warming water there is always the possibility of spotting a young otter playing on the riverbank.
Landscapes and Habitat
The landscape is going through it’s biggest change of the year at this time and a shot taken at the beginning of the month will be totally different to the same shot taken at the end. The light too will be different as we are now into British Summer Time and the longer evenings leave you with no excuse for not getting out with your camera. The flowers associated with spring will be changing from a carpet of blue to to bright yellow as the Daffodils take over from the bluebells. These will be complemented later in the month by some of the more exotic types such as Early Purple and Green winged Orchids as well as the earlier Tulips in more southern latitudes.
It is also a good time to check over your kit for the busy months ahead. Make sure you have all the bits and pieces required to try out those techniques that you have read about over the winter.
Out and About
The events season is about to get well under way now that Easter is behind us and most counties will have their own range of opportunities. For example the Historic Dockyard Chatham has a number of planned events that will produce good photo chances.
The Heineken Race of the Classics travels around Europe, this year calling at Ramsgate in the UK on the 17th of April.
With the jaw aching and photoless meeting last month at Focus now a dim and distant memory, it is unlikely that such huge numbers of epzeders (there were over 50 there on the Monday) will get together again until the weather is much more stable. However, check the meeting forum for updates and get involved with one near you.
And if you want to see some of the great photographs from this site in print and support the site at the same time, order your ePHOTOzine Guide to Great Photography book now!
Ian Andrews www.wildaboutkent.co.uk
Young Otter playing in the water. (Sigma SD9, 170-500mm, 1/30sec at f/6.7)
The elusive Bittern, (Mike Taylor, Canon 10D, 100-400mm L IS)
Dutch STS Oostershelde entering Ramsgate Harbour. (SD9, 70-210mm APO)
Green Winged Orchid, (SD9, 28-80mm macro zoom)
Powerboat spectacular. (SD9, 170-500mm APO, 1/500sec at f/8)
Searching Focus for a bargain! (and they thought I didn’t have a camera!)
(Sigma SD10, 55-200mm. 1/30sec at f/4. Camera courtesy of Sigma Imaging uk)