Friday 23 November 2018

Jay and Kingfisher.

Earlier this week Phil and I had another attempt at a Buzzard. As usual the bird did not appear, but all was not lost as there was plenty of other action on the bird front. 

Jays again stole the show for the number of appearances, as well as quantity of birds, with 5 being seen together several times as they hunted for Acorns and also bathed in the rather large puddle that had gathered in front of the hide overnight. Most of the time we had cloud cover, that seems to help with Jay pictures, and a few birds posed quite nicely for the camera.

Jay sitting pretty.

Reflection of a Jay.

Jay and Great-spotted Woodpecker eyeing each other up.

Jay on a flimsy perch.

We also had several visits from the female Kingfisher. The pond is slightly too far away for photography, but we saw the Kingfisher dive a few times and we saw her catch a Stickleback on one attempt, and on another 2 she caught Dragonfly larva. To get these her eyesight must be amazing. After catching one of the larva she flew and landed in a small bush quite close. As I was in the middle of changing lenses I had to quickly change back, managing just a single grab shot before she flew on again.
With the large puddle in front of us though, she did settle a couple more times quite close.

Kingfisher with Emperor Dragonfly larva.

Female Kingfisher sitting pretty.

Other smaller birds were also coming and going with great regularity, so after taking too many Jay shots these kept us busy and took our minds off the cold day.

Coal Tit.

Great-spotted Woodpecker.

Goldfinch on Teazle.

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Ringtail Harrier.

Another stroll with Nigel today over the brooks produced my first Hen Harrier of the Winter. Having said that, it didn't feel at all like Winter as it was decidedly warm in the sunshine.

We started off with seeing a late Peacock looking for a spot to hibernate as well as several Common Darter dragonflies basking in the sunshine.

It was then many Buzzards and Kestrels before Nigel spotted an obvious Harrier in the distance. Watching it through the binoculars the white rump soon showed as it turned and headed towards us confirming our thoughts that it was a Hen Harrier. It was following a tree line and it continued flying straight towards us, although not quite as close as I would have liked, but a few shots were managed before it changed direction.

Ringtail Hen Harrier.

Typical Hunting over the reeds.

A very smart Marsh Harrier was also seen in the area, as well as small numbers of Fieldfare.

On some Ivy several Red Admirals were taking advantage of some late nectar.

Red Admiral and Wasp.

Common Darter and Fly.

Friday 2 November 2018

November Wall.

I was cursing this morning as the weather was fabulous and I had to take Pen for a hospital appointment. However, when we got back home Pen was tired and wanted a snooze so she told me to clear off, in a roundabout way!!
I decided to head up to High and Over to see if I could find what would almost certainly be my final Wall Brown of the year.

On the way up there I saw a Red Admiral, followed by several more. This is certainly our most numerous Autumn butterfly. At High and Over a male Common Blue was a surprise, and at the same time a Clouded Yellow flew past.

After checking all but one of my most regular Wall Brown spots I was on the point of giving up, when I suddenly spotted a female Wall Brown which appeared to be looking for places to lay its final eggs. In between the short flights it settled in sunny spots to keep warm.

Female Wall Brown.

All the way around the walk Common Darters were very evident. Although they are now well past their best it does brighten up the day seeing these acrobatic insects.

Common Darter.

Towards the end of the walk I had one final check in a sunny spot where Wall Brown were seen in numbers earlier in the year. Although I didn't see any Wall Brown my eye was caught by some Wasp Spider egg sacs in the gorse. 2 were right next to each other and almost looked like Christmas decorations. These sacs are normally deep in the grass and low down, so it was good to find these that were more easily photographed.

2 Wasp Spider Egg Sacs.

With the Wall Brown being spotted it means that the 3rd brood lasted a day over 8 weeks, and if any more are spotted this could be extended further!! It was also good to see one in November.