Looking back eastwards into the mist, along Westhay Moor Drove, south of Wedmore; 14 May 2014.

I was down on the Levels early yesterday morning, taking my usual route from the Chew Valley, up over the Mendip Hills, and down through diminutive Wells.  Large accumulations of beautiful white mist were banked up against the Mendip’s  southern flanks but, out on the flatlands, these were nowhere to be seen.  Later though, a line of mist hanging in the air above Westhay Moor decided to descend as I was driving below it and, stopping and  looking back east, this scene unfolded.

The little highlight lower right is produced by the light catching the water’s surface beneath a small bridge that provides access to a field across a water-filled ditch.  And the pale, single track road to the left of the bridge has a dark centre – the centre of this little byway is far less pounded by vehicle tyres than its margins.

A reason that I’d stopped here was to listen for Cuckoos, birds that, having migrated north from sub-Saharan Africa, ought to be here by now laying their eggs on the nests of other birds – they are brood parasites, whose young are fed and raised by the (substantially smaller) birds that they parasitize.  (The changing banner images at the top of the link given in this paragraph include a shot of a naked Cuckoo nestling straining to push one of its hosts’ eggs out of the host’s nest – such activity ensures that only the Cuckoo nestling will be raised by the host birds, who do not realise that the Cuckoo is not their offspring, even though it may grow to be substantially larger than they are).

Unlike in previous years, however, the far-carrying “cuck-oo” calls were not to be heard here yesterday – maybe this wonderful and enthralling creature is no longer to be found here – a thought that saddens me.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 270mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Tin Type preset.

About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. krikitarts says:

    Very dark, very brooding, very mysterious! I think I would have brought the highlights up a bit more, but I can see why you resisted that urge. At first I was distracted by what looked like a knob on a fencepost in the lower right, but I understand now that that’s all water under the bridge.


  2. Nelson says:

    I love the effect of mist and B/W on the photo, it gives a mysterious look to the scene


  3. I’m curious. Where does your ‘usual route’ takes you so early in the morning? The cuckoos have been here for a few weeks already. Perhaps the cool temperatures have dissuaded them from going further north. I saw a pair of swallows here yesterday for the first time this year. It’s a welcome sign that summer is on its way. I’d love to get some shots of them, but I don’t have a zoom yet.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Hello, Henrietta! I’ve forgotten, are you living in southern France, or am I thinking of someone else? If you are in S France then your birdlife is rather richer (no pun intended!) than here. The UK is rather “out on the northwest edge of things”, and birds that are on the edges of their ranges and not numerous here are more usual where you live – would Nightingales, Hoopoes and Dartford Warblers be examples?

      My ‘usual route’ is not a commute – I’m retired! But when going down to the Levels, a journey of an hour or so, I usually choose the cross-country route outlined above, and then, south of Wells, turn west off the main road to Glastonbury, into Levels backroads. And, (being more and more) a morning person, and also harking back to many very early in the day trips I did in many places in my younger years, I go early – this time I was up at 0430, a few preparations – and gone. Not early enough to catch the dawn at this time of year – but its good to be up and about at early hours.

      There may well be Cuckoos still down there, but this particular spot was one where I could always rely on finding them in my birding years, but not this time. And the RSPB link given in my post notes a population decline. I would like to have been around here 100 years ago – many birds now only occasional here were far more abundant, and regular breeders, then. But I’m an ex-geologist and the geological view of things – vast timespans and vast biological and physical changes – is always with me, such that changes in species’ ranges and so on (see my Bird Atlas of Kenya) are taken for granted.

      There are many Swallows and House Martins here now too – I love to see them! Thanks for your thoughts. Adrian


  4. Excellent one, Adrian. Really like the depth the different trees create here in monochrome. And I did not know cuckoos were brood parasites. So besides a wonderful image, I also learned something today 😉


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