Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Seeing Thro' the Mist

Little Tern
Sandwich Terns (c) 2009 Phil Hargreaves
Sandwich & Common Tern (left) (c) 2009 Phil Hargreaves
Ringlet (c) 2009 Maurice Gordon
6-Spot Burnet Moth (c) 2009 Chris Cox
6-Spot Burnet Moth (c) 2009 Phil Hargreaves
Cockchafer (c) 2009 Chris Cox
Immature male Black-tailed Skimmer (c) 2009 Phil Hargreaves
[ID thanks to Paul Ashton]
Meadow Brown (c) 2009 Phil Hargreaves
Anyone who stayed inland today, probably won't believe me when I say, the weather was pretty poor. The mist remained on the coast all day, and did permeate a few feet inland most of the time. However, it was possible to discern through the gloom the bright colours of the Knot and Dunlin on Beacon Ponds. The Little Terns did great displays in and out of the mist, whilst several Sandwich Terns flew past making their "amalgum-twisting-in-your-tooth" noise. There were a good number of insects on display despite the mist. In fact they were probably easier to see in the lower temperatures. I'm sure they would have been more active in bright sunshine. Overall, a good day despite the weather! Something I could have said most days last winter & earlier this spring too!

Monday, 29 June 2009

Tiny Garden Visitor

Wood Mouse
I know this post won't be to everyone's taste. This little chap comes out most evenings, but usually when it is almost dark. Last night it came out when it was still fairly bright. However, they are very quick movers, so it was quite tricky to get pictures when it wasn't scurrying around. Hope it doesn't make you jump on a chair!

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Striking Insects

Elephant Hawk-Moth (c) 2009 Vince Cowell
Lime Hawk-Moth (c) 2009 David Ware
Banded Demoiselle [female] (c) 2009 Vince Cowell
4-Spotted Chaser (c) 2009 Vince Cowell
Some birds can become harder to locate at this time of year, so many birders turn to identifying some of the striking insects currently around, which can make very rewarding subjects for macro photography. Here are several examples of insects all taken within the last fortnight. Many more butterflies, dragonflies and moths should be on the wing in the next few weeks, if the weather stays fine!

Friday, 26 June 2009

Spots, Beards & Shanks

Bearded Tit (c) 2009 Vince Cowell
Spotted Redshank (c) 2009 Vince Cowell ditto
ditto (right)
L to r: Spotted Redshank, Lapwing, Spotted Redshank & Ruff (male)
Sedge Warbler (c) 2009 Vince Cowell
Black-tailed Godwits (c) 2009 Vince Cowell
Reed Bunting
Ringlet (c) 2009 David Ware
Scorpion-Fly (c) 2009 David Ware
David Ware reports we had 47 species today, some of them quite striking. This includes c.12 Spotted Redshank – a couple at Marshland, more than 10 at Townend, and one dropped into Singleton late on. The views of these were uncharacteristically fine, and we were able to see that the legs were black, which is normally only seen on their breeding grounds. In a few weeks’ time these will be red, and their plumage will be much paler! Unfortunately, it was very overcast today, so Vince is not satisfied with the images he obtained. There were also half-a-dozen male Ruff in various stages of undress, but most of them still displaying a fair amount of their amazing neckwear. In contrast to these rather tatty individuals there was one smart heavily-blotched Reeve. There were also several summer-plumaged Black-tailed Godwits displaying their orange-red fronts. There were plenty of Bearded Tits all around the reserve, but they were usually fairly elusive. 2 early birds (‘students’) managed good views of a few at Marshland, and eventually the afternoon session saw 5 fly from one area of reeds to another from First Hide. Just before we were about to wrap for the week a female or juvenile remained on top of the reeds opposite that hide long enough for everyone to get good views. Early indications are it’s been a good breeding season for Bearded Tits, as there also seem to be plenty at Far Ings. There were c8 Green Sandpiper (which is a good number for this species), plus 2 Little Ringed Plover, a Greenshank, a Wigeon in eclipse & several Gadwall, Pochard, and a single Shelduck. There were also 6 Heron, plus one flyover Bittern. There were still several Avocets on show, including one immature, a Barn Owl peeped out of its box, and a pair of Stock Doves flew near the Barnie’s nesting-place. Among the passerines there were still singing Blackcaps, Whitethroats, Sedge Warblers and a Reed Bunting; but the Reed Warblers were completely silent, although we did eventually see one in the afternoon. Hirundines were also noticeable by their absence, but at lunchtime several similar-looking Swifts were above the visitor centre. What about raptors? I hear you ask. Only one species was seen – just those you take for granted at this location – Marsh Harriers – at least three were visible at any one time.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

No Queues at the Supermarket

Does this need a label?
Foul Maw
Skylark (c) 2009 Maurice Gordon
Some of the supermarket shelves (c) 2009 Maurice Gordon
Not much to add to the Tuesday post. However, there seemed to be many more Puffins, and several of these were closer than on Tuesday. There was a strange squawk in the sky, which turned out to be 2 raptors, probably an adult and a youngster. These gave good views before plunging out of sight. The other surprise was the "tu-tu" of a Greenshank, which circled over North Marsh several times, but it didn't come in to land. Went on to Barmston and met eBirder (Marcus Conway), I hope he got some good shots of the Sand Martins!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

It's My Tern!

Apologies for the quality of the Little Tern pics, the normal software isn't working tonight!
Little Tern
Meadow Brown
Common Blue
Common Blue [female] (c) 2009 Aileen Urquhart
Large Skipper
6-Spot Burnet Moth
Compare & contrast with
Cinnabar Moth (below)
Small Tortoiseshell
Courting couple
Yellow-Tail Moth Caterpillar
Sea Bindweed
Jellyfish (c) 2009 Aileen Urquhart
'orrible-looking Fly
Another trip to the edge of Spurn. The morning session took place in glorious sunshine, but the afternoon clouded up. One of the best sights was a Little Tern, which fished very close to the hide. There were several Bar-tailed Godwits in breeding plumage, and a few Knot, as well as many more in non-breeding plumage. There was one Brent Goose, a Little Egret, a Heron, some Linnets, and Whitethroats. This afternoon the 3rd lifer in a week turned up. It was heard only, but it was still a thrill to hear its remarkable and loud song, as it briefly rang out. Otherwise the day was remarkable for its butterflies - most species of which are shown above. The only exception was what appeared to a swift flying yellow butterfly. It was smaller than a Brimstone, but not as yellow as a Clouded Yellow, but it didn't appear to be a moth - cannot think what it was for the moment. Another trip to the supermarket tomorrow!