Too cold for a bee’s nose

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Another fine day of sunshine and showers in London and it is hard to remember that just over a week ago a blanket of snow had fallen and transformed the city into a winter wonderland. The weekend that it snowed I had been caught in a wintry blizzard when walking in Wimbledon woods and froze these scenes on camera.

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The woodlands were part of a nature reserve with signs to indicate local species, including the green woodpecker. This inquisitive bird can live in an apiary for years before, one day, it learns that tasty treats of bee larvae and honeycomb may be found inside the hives.

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More on woodpeckers later…

The snow had lasted after the weekend until Monday. Those who made it into work enjoyed a lunchtime walk around Regent’s Park as the afternoon sunshine took a sideways slant through the trees.

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There was more to see than just snow – this tree has eyes!

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And these pigeons huddled on top branches to keep warm.

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And spying through the bushes on the penguins at London Zoo!

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London has its own microclimate and by Tuesday the snow had left the inner city completely. In the meantime, a little visitor had landed at the apiary in search of food – woodpecker-bored holes were found on the side of one of the hives. Pat had found similar holes in his hives at Osterley a few weeks ago, so it appears that the woodpeckers are spreading the word.

While Pat and John had wrapped most of the hives in chicken wire, I paid an early morning visit before work to finish the job on our colony and the two that we are looking after for Clare and Charles. A few bees were curious to see what I was doing and poked their heads outside the entrance, but it was far too cold for their noses and they soon went back inside.

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Emily had spotted snowdrops trying their hardest to grow through the hard ground a few weeks back. Not long now till spring.

Related links

Snowmageddon
Winter watch for bees

You may also be interested to read this bittersweet post by Daniel J Marsh on Death of a colony – a beekeepers loss. A stark reminder that January to March is when colony losses are often reported. You can also follow Daniel on Twitter: @danieljmarsh

No incidental music please, say the squirrels

Before going on holiday to North Carolina, my options were to leave incidental music playing on my blog or a time-release post about squirrels. I chose squirrels.

So here’s an exposé of the infamous squirrel mafia at Regent’s Park. Enjoy!

A generous passerby looks for a biscuit in her bag to feed a hungry squirrel.

She is too slow for the squirrel who decides that he will do a better job of looking for himself.

Mission accomplished.

Here’s my beautiful, kind friend Helen. Also foolish and unsuspecting – not realising she is being set up…

…for a squirrel ambush!

You wanna piece of me?

As naughty as they are, I was having a lot of fun taking pictures of squirrels until they called in the paparazzi police…

‘No photo!’

This cheeky squirrel even had time to stick out his tongue before making a quick getaway.

Not all wildlife in Regent’s Park is shy about being papped. Apologies to my friend, Danielle, if she is reading this post, for the pigeon…

Magpie, squirrel and… ‘Don’t forget me!’, says the pigeon.

There were a lot more squirrel photos too, but I was feeling quite unwell at the time of preparing this incidental piece. So for more squirrel shenanigans do check out this fun post at Garden Walk, Garden Talk: Shock and Awe – Squirrel Style. And happily, as you read this, I’ll be curled in a comfy armchair beside a log fire in North Carolina, still sleeping off Thanksgiving Dinner!

A study of autumn colours and lights in Regent’s Park

The sun is playful in October. It races across the sky low and bright catching fire to vibrant colours, then hides behind mists and raindrops teasing the day with soft light and vivid tones.

Autumn is a fleeting time of year and so I have enjoyed lunch time walks in Regent’s Park, which has been the perfect canvas for the tantalising display of colour and light.

The days started with golden sunshine, leaves on fire and sparkling fountains…

Gloomy clouds arrived bringing overcast light and saturated autumn colours…

Then the mists fell upon wet leaves capturing spectacular hues, waterfalls and reflections…

Light played with raindrops in the dying rose garden and mists wreathed fading flowers…

I hope you are enjoying autumn as much as I have been!

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Related links

If you would like to visit or find out more about Regent’s Park, visit the website of the royal parks.

Autumn colour: The science of nature’s spectacle is a great video from the BBC that explains how the ‘elements have conspired to give us a particularly spectacular display of autumn colour’.

Check out this post of beautiful fall photos by Donna: Autumn Kalaidescope.