Myland cloudscapes, Colchester : 22nd June 2016

One way or another it’s been a busy few days, and although I’ve collected quite a large number of photos, I’ve not had the opportunity to process them and assemble them into a blog. This evening, however, produced a stunning sky at sunset so I went haring out into the fields and managed to produce a small number of views (and some unexpected wildlife!) on the eve of the EU vote…
Although I was literally sprinting past the church and on down the lane, carrying camera, tripod and folding stool, I could see that the light and the clouds were changing faster than I could capture them. I thus grabbed a quick view from the nearest meadow:
P1640448 adjusted 72dpi
Hurrying on to the main fields, I was brought up sharp by a distinctive shape perched on a tree at the corner of the first field. I couldn’t be sure in the half-light because all I could see was a silhouette, but I was pretty sure I knew what it was although I’d only ever seen one twice before. I tried moving slowly closer but it promptly flew off, confirming what I had suspected – a little owl (Athene noctua) – the scientific name being given because in ancient Greece the owl was associated with the wisdom of Athene and it was thus her symbol:
P1640449 adjusted 72dpi
Hurrying on the the main fields, I could sense that the light was fading rapidly and that even with the tripod it was going to be increasingly difficult to capture what I was seeing. I grabbed a quick panorama (which look better when clicked on – use browser back arrow to return):
Then trotting along the field margin to obtain a clearer view of the setting sun I encountered a field of barley, which always brings to mind the song by Sting – ‘Fields of Gold‘:
The sky steadily turned deeper shades of pink and gold:
Sunset_Panorama 2_72dpi
Sunset_Panorama1 72dpi
The finally the light began to fade completely, leaving only a band of gold lining the north-western horizon while above it the altocumulus clouds were steadily thickening:
P1640489 adjusted 72dpi
Now, as I write this blog at a little past midnight I can hear the rain, promised by the mare’s tails earlier this afternoon, starting to patter against the window in the darkness…

Author: Richard Lindsay

Having worked for 20 years in the UK statutory nature conservation agencies as Peatland Specialist in the Chief Scientist Team, I then moved to the University of East London where I ran the nature conservation degrees for several years. Now I mainly undertake research and support peatland conservation activities, including the IUCN UK Peatland Programme, within UEL's Sustainability Research Institute. I also paint.

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