After a really tedious winter, spring has finally come to my little corner of North Yorkshire. I always get an instant lift from the lighter nights and warmer days, and the countryside starts to wake up too. It’s been a particularly fine spring I think, and perfect photography weather. I’ve taken hundreds of pictures of flowers, trees, wildlife and landscapes, and here are twelve of my favourites.
I’m very privileged to live in a photogenic part of the country, and I always think it looks at it best in the spring and early summer. Here’s a selection of sweeping landscapes, dramatic skies, rolling rivers and woodland pathways.
This early spring photograph looking down into the Derwent Valley was taken from one of our favourite spots in Menethorpe. Spring really has yet to get underway yet, but the landscape seems full of promise.
This is taken from a bridleway connecting the Langton and Beverley roads. I couldn’t resist the chance to photograph the dramatic sky. Malton is in the distance.
I walk past this old warehouse on the River Derwent in Malton nearly every day, but I seldom stop to look at it. It’s a shame really because it’s a lovely old building. At one time the Derwent was navigable as far upstream as Malton, and the town boasted a biscuit factory and brewery on its banks. Willow trees, like the one in the foreground to the left of the picture, are amongst the first trees to come into leaf every year. They are lovers of water and, before the advent of modern medicines, chewing willow bark was a cure for headache. Apparently they are a naturally occurring source of the same main ingredient found in aspirin.
I walk our dog along this path every so often. In winter it has quite a stark, skeletal feel to it. It’s just starting to get it’s summer covering of leaves and in three weeks or so you won’t be able to see the sky from this position.
Trees and Flowers
Apart from a few hardy early starters, like snowdrops, most trees and flowers have been dormant until a couple of weeks ago. Now. all of a sudden everything seems to be budding, sprouting and flowering.
Spring can’t happen without daffodils. These early bloomers are on a windswept hill near Malton.
This cherry tree in blossom reminds me of the beautiful specimen we had in our front garden. Sadly it had to go last year as it’s roots had spread too far. Interesting but useless fact: Cherry Blossom boot polish is now the only shoe polish made in Britain, in a factory in Alfreton, Derbyshire.
I’ve spent ages photographing trees coming into bud over the past week or so. I’m fascinated by the way they suddenly break out into leaf.
It’s all About the Birds and the Bees
Most of North Yorkshire’s wildlife has been keeping a low profile during winter, but suddenly, they’ve all become busy again. Breeding, nesting, pollen collecting: there’s so much going on. it’s leaving me feeling exhausted.
The swans are back on the pond! They’ve built their nest and are currently populating it with eggs – five at the latest count. Here they are in post coital mood: I did catch them in the act, but modesty forbids me to post that photo.
On the way to the pub I stopped to take a photograph of a currant bush coming into flower. Even at this early part of spring the bush was filled with wildlife. This snail was right on the topmost branch and seemed to have parked there for the night.
I wasn’t expecting bees yet, but the currant bush was full of them. I was lucky to get this picture, as my camera wasn’t set up for close-ups, but it’s still not a bad shot.
Rooks have to be some of the noisiest birds around. In summer it’s harder to see them, but in spring every tall tree seems to be festooned with rooks nests. I like rooks, they’re intelligent, sociable creatures and we often get them in the gardens near where we live. They’re one of the few birds who aren’t worried about the local cats.
There were at least a dozen of these perching in this bush when I walked up to them. They all disappeared, except for this little fella who hung around to have his portrait taken. I’m not sure what it is, bird spotting isn’t my speciality!