Saturday, 27 December 2014

A Review Of The Year In Photos

With Christmas safely tucked away for another year, my thoughts turn to reflecting on the year nearly completed and on the one to come.

Regular visitors to Countryside Tales (thank you) will know I am primarily a Wildlife Girl at heart and 2014 held some truly precious wildlife moments for me. You may remember the visit from her Majesty, the Purple Emperor early in the summer that caused quiet hysteria here, as well as another rarity- the Clifdon Nonpareil who turned up towards the end of the year, encouraged across the sea by clement weather conditions, as was another visitor to these shores I had never seen before: the Vestal. Then there was the Hummingbird Hawkmoth who may have come all the way from Africa and turned up late in the day despite my having just about given up hope of seeing one this year, not to mention two adult grass snakes and one baby whom we called Nate, newts moving into the pond, a Broad Bodied Chaser dragonfly e-closing (hatching) on my finger, sightings of two White Admirals, a Painted Lady, my first ever Green Hairstreak, Adonis Blue and Brown Hairstreak butterflies, the first hedgehog we've seen in our garden in eight years, and, of course, 411 species of wonderful, beautiful, brilliant, fantastic, special moths.

There are far too many photos to put in one post, so I'm splitting them over several. Hopefully these will take us up to the New Year and provide a Clean Sheet to start 2015 with :o)

Romsey saw the worst floods for decades in Feb 2014. The waters drew visitors from far and wide and Countryside Tales got a photo published in Forecourt Trader magazine, which made everyone here smile.......

Ater the floods came the flowers. Here's Teddy enjoying himself among the bluebells in Great Copse, Mottisfont in April/ May....

Spring 2014 also saw several Bee Rescues, including one half-drowned in the pond. Despite using and promoting their honey, Waitrose decline sponsorship :o)

Spring saw the emergence of the first of my beloved Butterflies in the form of overwintering Red Admirals and Tortoiseshells, as well as newly emerged Holly Blues and Orange Tips. The latter led me on a Merry Dance photography-wise for several days, before playing ball in spectacular form by perching male and female together in one place long enough for the shot I wanted.......

Holly Blue

Orange Tip male

Red Admiral


Small Tort

The garden did well this year. We made lots of changes, mainly around planting for wildlife, and the results were amazing: we are now home to several field vole families (who enjoy M's vegetables), mice, shrews, bats, grass snakes, newts, frogs, toads, lots of birds, bees, moths and flutters, masses of inverts and some lovely plants. Important species recorded in the garden this year included several I hadn't seen before: a rare Longhorn Beetle, a Tree Damsel Bug and lacewing larvae for starters.





7-spot ladybird

Shield Bug eggs and babies hatching

Cinnamon Bug

Dock Bugs

Fat-Legged Beetle (or swollen-thighed)

Lacewing larva

Longhorn Beetle

May Bug

Female flower beetles

Nettle weevil

Pied shieldbug

Pill woodlouse

Red-legged shieldbug


Scorpion fly

Tree Damsel Bug

Volucella Inanis hoverfly

Wasp's nest

caterpillar- look closely!

Tomorrow I will post the rest of the Flutter and Moths who came to see us and who I saw out and about this year, and after that various assembled creatures, rounding off with the Naughty Puppies (who have had a wonderful Christmas and are well on their way to destroying their new toys already).

Thanks for reading - you are, each and every one of you, very much appreciated. It means a lot to me to be able to share all these wonderful creatures and experiences with you all, and if some of you who didn't have it before develope an interest in and a love for the wild things that are all around us, and are moved to help look after them then I will smile about it to the end of my days :o)

CT x


  1. Some really beautiful photos there, especially the butterflies, they're so hard to capture. The beetles are fantastic too. CJ xx

    1. Many thanks, CJ. I can't wait to start photographing them again this year- such wonderful creatures x

  2. All such magnificent photos! The brilliance of the colors and the beauty of all these creatures. I am so happy after looking at and reading this post. Thanks so much for sharing! :)

    1. Thanks, Mary, for your kind words. So pleased you enjoyed them.

  3. Hey CT,
    I'm so very glad that Sarah suggested I look your lovely blog up. An inspiration for a fellow bug lover. Have a wonderful 2015.
    Leanne xx

    1. Many thanks, Leanne. It has been a real pleasure to read your blog this year and I have missed it over the last few weeks. xx

  4. Incredible wildlife pictures CT. I look forward to reading your blog posts in 2015.

    1. Many thanks, Dave. Glad to have discovered your blog this year and looking forward to reading more about the farm in 2015.

  5. Around every bush, tree and rock there is waiting a surprise to be photographed. I would say you rounded this past year off very well in the land of beauty. I especially like the Teddy romping in the bluebells. Your floods look somewhat like ours, except we could only see the tops as there was eight feet of water in our area. Its quite amazing, that Mother Nature throws some nasty stuff our way and then gives us beauty in return. Happy New Year.

    1. We get thoroughly over-excited about weather events in the UK- yours put ours to shame :o)

  6. I've enjoyed following your year very much and I look forward to following you for many more x

    1. Thanks, Julee. Pleased to have discovered you this year too. How is the lovely Womble? :o) x

  7. It seems ages since I commented on your blog, I've been rubbish lately, so busy! This is a lovely collection of photos, I especially like the one of Teddy in the bluebells and all the insects too!

    1. Hi Louise- please don't worry, life gets in the way of blogging sometimes I know :o) Glad you enjoyed. ps- I think your jack-knifed lorry may have been on the news earlier!

  8. Fantastic photos.. can't wait for spring and summer now! :o) xx


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x