Wednesday, 27 May 2009


Nightingale - a "lifer" for all pm class participants
Chimney Sweeper (c) 2009 Aileen Urquhart
Bee Species (c) 2009 Aileen Urquhart
Great Tit at nest hole!
Cardinal Beetle
Cuckoo spit - caused by Froghopper
Painted Lady
Marsh Orchids? (c) 2009 Aileen Urquhart
Marsh Orchid?
Drinker Moth Caterpillar
Common Blue Damselfly
After the failure of yesterday's 'Cloud-Cuckoo-Land Special' to locate a single Cuckoo, and this morning's Nightingale session to track down a Nightingale [apart from a brief, distant burst of song], I was ready to entitle this post "A Violation of the Trades' Description Act", but this afternoon we managed to track down the Holy Grail! A busy parent Nightingale with a mouth crammed with a wasp or bee species watched us from some thick vegetation. Then to the amazement of the session members it proceeeded to walk along the edge of the path with its tail cocked like a giant Wren. It stayed in the open long enough, even for the slowest class member to pick out its subtle plumage, its large eye, its pale eye-ring, its rusty tail and pale underparts. It strutted along the path to a chorus of "wows", and that was before they'd even heard it sing. It did start singing when we passed that way again later in the afternoon, but not with the power and virtuosity it diplayed a month ago. The fierce wind kept some of the smaller passerines in deep cover, but we did hear Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, and Blackcap; and we actually saw a pair of Bullfinch & a Great Tit feeding its family hidden in a railway-warning-notice pole. There were plenty of hirundines, Swifts, Common Terns, waders & wildfowl, and lots of interesting insects and flowers. The Dunnington contingent are pretty sure they identified a Mediterranean Gull during the lunch time, but I was unable to confirm their sighting in the afternoon. It was a new place for every visitor today, and I think they'll all be back next year when the Nightingales are more active, for a really special experience!

No comments: