Somerset Year 2022

Waltons Heath at Dawn - Ham Wall, Somerset Levels, UK. ID JB_1101

Waltons Heath at Dawn – Ham Wall, Somerset Levels, UK. ID JB_1101

As is often the case my photograph year started with a sunrise at RSPB Ham Wall.

Ham Wall

Visits to RSPB Ham Wall to watch the starling murmurations tops and tails each year.  This year saw a large jump in the number of marsh harriers.  Now seeing them on every visit.

Starlings and the Marsh Harrier - Ham Wall, Somerset Levels, UK. ID JB_9240

Starlings and the Marsh Harrier – Ham Wall, Somerset Levels, UK. ID JB_9240

More of a surprise was a chinook helicopter that caused every bird on the reserve to take to the air.

Birds vs Chinook - Walton Heath, Ham Wall, Somerset Levels, UK. ID JB_1839

Birds vs Chinook – Walton Heath, Ham Wall, Somerset Levels, UK. ID JB_1839

Pylons

I did not visit the nature reserve very often, instead I followed the starlings each morning as they flew out into the Somerset countryside.  Pylons soon became one of my favourite subjects as the birds passed by.

Pylons and Starlings - Westhay, Somerset, UK. ID JB_4608

Pylons and Starlings – Westhay, Somerset, UK. ID JB_4608

We did have some lovely mornings at the start of the year.

Pylon and Starlings - Westhay, Somerset, UK. ID JB_4893

Pylon and Starlings – Westhay, Somerset, UK. ID JB_4893

Panborough

I found a new view point on the hill over Panborough.  Wide open views over the Axe valley aligned with the rising sun.

Panborough from Hare Acre Hill - Panborough, Somerset, UK. ID JB_8718H

Panborough from Hare Acre Hill – Panborough, Somerset, UK. ID JB_8718H

For a couple of weeks each morning brought a different view.

Dawn at Autumn Equinox – Panborough, Somerset, UK. ID JB_4044H

Priddy Mineries

We did not get any snow this year, but we did get some deep frosts.  Sitting in a hollow high up on the Mendip Hills frost lingered at Priddy Mineries.

Priddy Mineries - Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB_5821

Priddy Mineries – Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB_5821

Mist over Priddy Mineries – Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB_3765

Stockhill Woods

This year I made an early decision to visit Stockhill Woods more often.

Stockhill Wood - Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB_3572

Stockhill Wood – Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB_3572

Stockhill Wood – Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB_3580

Glastonbury Tor

The tor is one of the most iconic symbols in the Somerset landscape.  From Westbury-sub-Mendip a series of small hills mark the way to the tor.

Glastonbury Tor - From Westbury-sub-Mendip, Somerset, UK. ID JB_4555

Glastonbury Tor – From Westbury-sub-Mendip, Somerset, UK. ID JB_4555

On one very cold morning the sheep at West Pennard enjoyed having a photographer to watch.

Dawn at West Pennard - Somerset, UK. ID JB_5511

Dawn at West Pennard – Somerset, UK. ID JB_5511

River Brue

On the River Brue I was lucky to watch an otter swimming down stream.

River Brue at Dawn - Nr Westhay, Somerset, UK. ID JB_9323

River Brue at Dawn – Nr Westhay, Somerset, UK. ID JB_9323

An extreme crop provided proof that this was indeed an otter and not a log!

Otter - River Brue, Nr Westhay, Somerset, UK. ID 808_7765

Otter – River Brue, Nr Westhay, Somerset, UK. ID 808_7765

From the top of the Mendip Hills the Tor is the only hill visible above the mist.

Glastonbury Tor in the Mist - From Deerleap, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB_3476

Glastonbury Tor in the Mist – From Deerleap, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB_3476

Sometimes all the hills disappear under a thick white blanket.

Mist over The Levels - From Ditcheat, Somerset, UK. ID JB_7312

Mist over The Levels – From Ditcheat, Somerset, UK. ID JB_7312

Snowdrops

As winter begins to end out pop the snowdrops.

Snowdrops - Church of St Michael, Blackford, Soith Somerset, UK. ID JB_6725

Snowdrops – Church of St Michael, Blackford, Soith Somerset, UK. ID JB_6725

Covered in the jewels of early morning dew the flowers glisten in the low winter sunshine.

Snowdrops - Church of St Michael, Blackford, Soith Somerset, UK. ID JB_6731

Snowdrops – Church of St Michael, Blackford, Soith Somerset, UK. ID JB_6731

Wood Sorrel

Back at Stockhill as the Wood Sorrel was out, covering the woodland floor.

Wood Sorrel - Stockhill Woods, Priddy, Somerset, UK. ID JB_8185

Wood Sorrel – Stockhill Woods, Priddy, Somerset, UK. ID JB_8185

Spring

The swans at the Bishop’s Palace welcomed the arrival of spring.

Swan and Blossom - Bishops Palace, Wells, Somerset, UK. ID JB_3071

Swan and Blossom – Bishops Palace, Wells, Somerset, UK. ID JB_3071

Wattles Hill

I discovered a nearby wood with beautiful flowers.  Finding a corner of the countryside that you never knew existed is an amazing feeling.

Wattles Hill - Wookey Hole, Somerset, UK. ID JB_6474

Wattles Hill – Wookey Hole, Somerset, UK. ID JB_6474

The tiny wood was full of wood anemones and celandines.

Wood Anemones - Wattles Hill, Wookey Hole, Somerset, UK. ID JB_6093

Wood Anemones – Wattles Hill, Wookey Hole, Somerset, UK. ID JB_6093

Summer Butterflies

In the summer may attention turned to chasing butterflies in the hope of getting some pictures.

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene) - Ubley Warren, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB_9982

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene) – Ubley Warren, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB_9982

Marbled White (Melanargia galathea) - Collard Hill, Nr Street, Somerset, UK. ID JB_8642

Marbled White (Melanargia galathea) – Collard Hill, Nr Street, Somerset, UK. ID JB_8642

I had wanted to photograph the dark green fritillaries on the Mendip Hills for a long time.  Somehow we kept missing each other.  This year, after several unsuccessful trips I finally got my picture.

Dark Green Fritillary (Speyeria aglaja) - Blackmoor, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB_2546

Dark Green Fritillary (Speyeria aglaja) – Blackmoor, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB_2546

Uphill

Near the coast a mini project to capture various views of the old windmill on the hill above Uphill.

Uphill Beacon – Uphill, North Somerset, UK. ID JB_4157

Uphill Beacon – Uphill, North Somerset, UK. ID JB_4262H

Luckily, I was walking by just as a rainbow appeared.  This seems like the perfect spot for a pot of gold.

Rainbow over the beacon - Uphill, North Somerset, UK. ID IMG_2474

Rainbow over the beacon – Uphill, North Somerset, UK. ID IMG_2474

The hill is a favourite with dog walkers.

Waiting for sunrise - Uphill nature reserve, North Somerset, UK. ID JB_6667

Waiting for sunrise – Uphill nature reserve, North Somerset, UK. ID JB_6667

Fenny Castle

Another mini project during autumn to photograph the hamlet to Fenny Castle.

Sunrise at Fenny Castle - Nr Godney, Somerset, UK. ID JB_4756H

Sunrise at Fenny Castle – Nr Godney, Somerset, UK. ID JB_4756H

Castle Farm - Fenny Castle, Somerset, UK. ID JB_6306H

Castle Farm – Fenny Castle, Somerset, UK. ID JB_6306H

Willows and cattle make the perfect image of the Somerset Levels.

Willow and Cattle - Fenny Castle, Somerset, UK. ID JB_5598

Willow and Cattle – Fenny Castle, Somerset, UK. ID JB_5598

The castle is part natural and part man made.

Glastonbury Tor - From Fenny Castle, Somerset, UK. ID JB_6391

Glastonbury Tor – From Fenny Castle, Somerset, UK. ID JB_6391

Back to Ham Wall

At Ham Wall changes to the Avalon Hide created a whole new window of opportunities.

New windows in the Avalon Hide - Ham Wall, Somerset, UK. ID IMG_2753

New windows in the Avalon Hide – Ham Wall, Somerset, UK. ID IMG_2753

The wonderful new windows gave us the chance to see the starlings arrive in front in of the setting sun.

Starlings fly over the Avalon Hide - Ham Wall, Avalon Marshes, Somerset, UK. ID JB_0474

Starlings fly over the Avalon Hide – Ham Wall, Avalon Marshes, Somerset, UK. ID JB_0474

The number of starlings grew quickly during November.

Starling Murmuration - Ham Wall, Somerset, UK. ID JB_3335

Starling Murmuration – Ham Wall, Somerset, UK. ID JB_3335

By December we had half a million birds doing their thing across some colourful skies.

Starlings - Ham Wall, Somerset, UK. ID JB_5503

Starlings – Ham Wall, Somerset, UK. ID JB_5503

… then exploding out of the reeds each morning.

Starlings at Dawn - Ham Wall, Somerset, UK. ID JB_9747

Starlings at Dawn – Ham Wall, Somerset, UK. ID JB_9747

And finally…

In December we had a cold snap with a deep frost and a light dusting of snow high up in the Mendip Hills

Barrow Cottage – Pen Hill, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB_4098H

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