Photo special: Mother Nature at Father Christmas time in the Bishop's Stortford area
Never has nature been more important to our wellbeing than now, during yet another form of lockdown at the end of this challenging year of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It's not possible for everyone to get out and about and take in the flora and fauna locally, but a photo can be the next best thing – and no one does that better than the Stortford Nature Facebook group.
We invited members to send us a photo on the theme of "Nature at Christmas", to be taken within a five-mile radius of Bishop's Stortford on any day between Christmas Eve and Sunday (Dec 27).
We've chosen the best to appear as a double-page spread in this week's (Dec 30) edition of the Bishop's Stortford Independent – and here they are, too, with a few more that didn't quite make it into print.
While most of the pictures were taken out and about at locations including the River Stort, Grange Paddocks, Thorley Wash Nature Reserve, Hatfield Forest and Pishiobury Park in Sawbridgeworth, a couple of the photographers were able to venture no further than their own back gardens to connect with nature.
Most of the photos are of birds – and what a varied collection they are, featuring a kingfisher, buzzard, little egret, stonechat, herons, swans, goldfinches and robins, including a classic shot of a round robin on a snow-topped fence on Christmas Day. The ages of the 10 photographers featured in our picture gallery range from 14 to 81.