Friday, 30 July 2010


The butterfly photo's were taken during the months of May, June and July 2010. Most were captured while out birding and the more common one's in my garden. In my dreams to get a Pearl-bordered fritillary or a Small Copper butterfly in my garden! I did get 2 Holly blue's during July!


Butterflies go fluttering by
On colored wings that catch the eye.
On wings of orange, and silvery blue,
On wings of golden yellow, too.
Butterflies float in the air,
Making their homes most anywhere:
The rainforest, field, and prairie land,
On mountaintops, and desert sand.
If winter brings the cold and snow,
To warmer climates, off they go!
Returning home the following spring,
Beautiful butterflies on the wing!

Author Unknown.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Hoverflies and Bees in my garden.

A Recipe for Summer

What is summer made of?
Of opening buds and flowers;
Of sunshine and of shadow,
And gracious little showers,
Of birds that in the tree-tops
Sing sweetly all the day;
Of buttercups and daisies,
And breath of new-mown hay.

Of butterflies that hover
O'er every fragrant rose;
Of bees that gather honey
Where the honeysuckle grows.
Of brooks that murmur softly,
And thro' the meadows glide:
Of shadows shifting gently
Adown the mountain-side.

Of rainbows after showers,
Of starlight nights so still;
Of moonbeams shimmering softly
O'er every brook and rill.
Of mornings dawning sweetly
O'er dew-wet grass and flowers,
Oh! summer time is only
A life of golden hours!

by: Mary Dow Brine (1816-1913)

Monday, 26 July 2010

Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve....24/07/2010

On arriving just before noon at Brandon Marsh my tummy was telling me it was time for lunch! An Omellette with salad and a bowl of chips at the cafe was just what the Dr! Whilst waiting for the meal to arrive it was most pleasant sitting and watching the birds on and around the feeding station which is alongside the cafe. New feeders have been added since my last visit and judging by the many birds visiting them most welcome they are too! Good numbers of Blue & Great Tits were the predominent species on the feeders, also putting in an appearance were a pair of Bullfinch and a Great Spotted Woodpecker!

My main objectives today were to see butterflies and dragonflies as last year I had seen a record (for me) 12 species in one day on the 2nd August at Brandon Marsh, today I was not so lucky. I think the dullness of the day and slight breeze was a factor keeping both species low even though it was a warm day. Comma were seen feeding on the vegetation in front of the East Marsh Hide and Large and Small White seen in several areas. Meadow Brown were around in small numbers and a Burnet Moth did a quick fly past so I am not sure whether it was a Five or Six spot. A Brown Hawker was spotted while walking along the path to Swallow Pool and I believe they were Black-tailed Skimmers hunting around the Newlands Reedbeds. I have yet to see a Painted Lady this summer, strange after last years invasion. In fact I have not seen butterflies in great numbers on any of my local and not so local walks. I am hoping a return visit in the near future to Brandon (on a sunny day if we get one) will be more productive.

Highlight bird species were the Little Egret, Black-tailed Godwit, Green and Common Sandpiper, Hobby, Whitethroat, Pied Wagtail ( I don't see many, I know I must get a, Bullfinch, Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker, last but certainly not least a Kingfisher.

The Kingfisher was a delight to see as it perched on one of the perching poles for quite a long while giving the photographers in the Carlton Hide plenty of time for getting some great shots. I took several photo's but as the Kingfisher was a long way off for my camera they are not brill photo's but I am pleased with them and really chuffed to have had such great views of this super little bird, the same applies with distance and record shots of the Black-tailed Godwit and Hobby, record shots of super birds! A couple that were sat next to me in the hide had previously asked me in the East Marsh Hide if Kingfishers were to be seen at Brandon, it was their first visit to the reserve. I directed them to the Carlton hide and told them if they were patient they maybe lucky...well they were patient and lucky today! The gentleman was especially pleased as he told me he had only had flashes of a Kingfisher in the past and this was the first time he had seen one perched. I was really pleased for them, great to see their delight at viewing a special little bird. On seeing the same couple later in the afternoon the gentleman told me he had taken 50 photo's of the Kingfisher and if at least two photo's were half decent one's then he would be thrilled. It is uplifting when you speak to people who have so enjoyed there first 'proper' views of a bird species.

Ain't nature lovely?

Friday, 23 July 2010

A weekend in Powys....2nd-4th/07/2010

A long weekend in Powys was to be a real treat! We stayed at a B&B in Abercegir, Machynlleth which had been recommended by a friend. A great choice of accomodation and the B&B garden and surrounding countryside were a delight! The waters of Nant Gwydol flow alongside the long stretch of the delightful garden, Dippers are to be seen along the waters but sadly not during my stay. Pipistrelle Bats that emerged from the roof of the house at dusk more than made up for not seeing a Dipper. Our hosts were very attentive and informative, a return visit is a must sometime in the future. Red Kite, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Jay, House Sparrow, Tits, Goldfinch, Swifts, Swallows and House Martins were the highlight birds seen at the B&B, along with the Bats of course! I was told that the Kites have nested locally so that was great news to hear.

Ynslas Nature Reserve was visited before making our way to the B&B. On the way to Ynslas I spotted an Osprey perched on a telegraph pole, so the car was reversed and I was just about to take a photo when the Osprey was spooked by a car and truck coming past!! Still it was a great sight to see and unexpected!! The area I saw the Osprey in is called LLandre, so if anyone is passing that way keep them peeled.
The Dunes are a sight to see and to walk through...I felt that I was in a desert at times with the heat of the sun beating down! I found and took photo's of a pale pink Orchid in the dunes, unfortunately me or my camera played up and I do not have the photo's. My daughter is visiting the area this weekend (23-25th), so I have asked her to enquire of the species name for the Orchid, no doubt they have finished flowering now. It was a sunny but very windy day, the strong winds stayed throughout the weekend, at least it was dry as the rain fell during the night fortunately. Not a lot of birds seen at Ynslas but it was still an enjoyable walk on the dunes and beach! Birds seen were Gulls (too far away for a proper ID even through the scope), Meadow Pipit, Collared Dove, Goldfinch and House Sparrow. A Cinnabar Moth put in a brief appearance in the dunes and quite surprisingly not a single butterfly.

Saturday morning after a hearty breakfast at the B&B we set off for RSPB Ynis-hir! Speaking to the Lady volounteer in the shop she told us how quiet it was for a Saturday as normally the car park was pretty full, unusually there were only 3 or 4 cars parked. She told us about the Swallows that had nested in the Mens loo, the nest was on top of a cistern. Well it didn't take me long to get my camera out and investigate!! Lovely to see the parent Swallows swoop in to the building, feed the chicks and swoop out again...blink and you missed them! The staff had put a notice on the door asking for the door to be left open as the Swallows were nesting. Swallows had also nested in one of the hides, Breakwater hide if I remember correctly, again blink and you misssed the parents as they zoomed in and out of the hide windows. The glass had been removed from the two windows to allow continous access for the birds, great to see such good management!
RSPB Ynis-hir is a fantastic reserve with varying habitats and a two and a half hour (approx) walk to boot! There is a shorter walk of which we partook in after recovering from the long walk! The highlight birds were the Common Redstarts! I did manage a few record shots of them. Otherwise it was very quiet, maybe the gusty wind was keeping the birds low. We were told that a new boardwalk and hide was to be opened the following weekend giving access to the area where Avocets have nested. They had 10 pairs nesting and now had 37 Avocets!! Wonderful news...I just wish the hide had opened a week earlier...typical! Highlight birds seen were Common Redstart, Siskin, Chaffinch, Robin, Common Whitethroat, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Reed Bunting, Wren, Skylark, Pied Wagtail, Reed Warbler, Blue & Great Tit, Oystercatcher, Mallards, Heron, Moorhen and Canada Goose. Heat haze over the Estuary made it very difficult to pick out any Gull and Wader species. Speckled Wood and Small Skipper were the only butterflies seen today. Blue-tailed Damselfly, Common Darter and a Four-spotted Chaser were the Dragonflies seen. A patch of nettles looked odd and on close inspection we saw they were teeming with Black caterpillars, I have been told that they were most probably Peacock butterfly caterpillars.
I would like to visit both of the above areas in the Autumn/Winter and see the overwintering Ducks and Geese.

After refreshments and a well earned rest sat on the very long bench at the front of the Visitor Centre and watching the Siskins, Chaffinches and Robins on and around the feeders a few metres in front of us we set off for Dyfi Osprey Project a short drive away.
We were told that the Ospreys had not been seen at all today. I told them of my Osprey sighting the previous day, they were pleased to hear my news and said that they had been told of numerous sightings in the area I mentioned. The Project is only in it's second season. A female Osprey returned to the site on the 4th of April and a male returned on the 29th of June. It would be great if the pair start to breed in the future. Common Lizards were seen along the boardwalk, some being very tiny so probably newly hatched, such sweet little creatures.

It had been a brill weekend and meeting some very friendly and informative people throughout the weekend made for an enjoyable time spent in Powys.