Tuesday, 28 August 2012

2 Great, 2 Little and plenty of Grey in the mix....26/08/2012

A long overdue visit was made to Camp Lane Pits, Grimley, Worcestershire to see the Great White Egret that had been reported there since the beginning of the month! The first sighting of the G W Egret was when it flew gracefully from a tree, such grace from such a big bird! It later fed alongside two Little Egrets and several Grey Herons which gave a good perspective of how much bigger the G W Egret is. It was spooked at one point by a small group of walkers (unintentionally I might add) and took flight along with one of the Little Egrets and 7 of the Grey Herons, I have never seen so many Herons in flight together, a pity they took flight as they were even more distant when they eventually landed! Two Hobbies put on a great aerial display as they hawked the pools and flooded meadows for Dragonflies, namely Common Darter, Hawker (sp) and Common Blue Damselflies, the latter being in abundance! A Common Tern was enjoyable to watch as it fished over the pools and a Little Grebe (being the 2nd Little in my title) with chick was a delight to see! Great Crested Grebe (being the 2nd Great in my title), Tufted Duck with 3 chicks, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Canada Geese and Cormorant were also spotted in and around the pools, a Chiffchaff was heard only and a flyover Green Woodpecker was a treat to see. Sand Martins and Swallows swooped low over the pools and meadows. I was surprised to see so many Mute Swans, a count of 21 was made and those were the visible ones, no doubt a few more where there and hidden by the vegetation. Mewing was heard and a look up to the sky revealed four Common Buzzards, a family perhaps. They looked to be enjoying the thermals! A good number of Toads were seen by the edge of one of the pools, they all plopped in to the water as we walked by them! I spotted a single plant of Vipers Bugloss in one of the meadows, strange that there was just the one. I have this plant in my garden as it attracts a lot of insects. Once established it is happy to be left on its own to self-propagate so maybe a few more of these plants will appear over time.
A great few hours spent in sunshine and in a picturesque and peaceful countryside.

Camp Lane Pits in Sunshine!
Great White Egret
The Mute Swans were seemingly everywhere you looked! I thought for a second that I was at Slimbridge!
Just the one Great crested Grebe seen today though I have read that 4 had beeen sighted,
maybe they were snoozing somewhere!
Tufted Duck with one of three chicks.
A record shot of a Common Tern. A smart looking bird and a joy to watch fishing
Toads...there were lots of them!
Banded Demoiselle (female)
Common Blue Damselfly.
Bindweed. This is the first that I have seen this late summer of the 'Pink/White' striped variety. A more delicate looking flower I feel than the much larger white variety.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve....12/08/2012

The Dragon-fly

Today I saw the dragon-fly
Come from the wells where he did lie.
An inner impulse rent the veil
Of his old husk: from head to tail
Came out clear plates of sapphire mail.
He dried his wings: like gauze they grew;
Thro' crofts and pastures wet with dew
A living flash of light he flew.

by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Common Darter

Painted Lady

Small Tortoiseshell

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Caterpillars...going under....12/08/2012

The caterpillars are now going down into the soil to change into a chrysalis in their new house (a large plastic container), I had 8 yesterday that still had to go down into the soil, then six this morning and during the day 3 more had disappeared into the the soil. I will miss picking leaves daily for them but pleased that the majority have survived and hopefully will emerge in the Spring as beautiful Lime Hawkmoths! It has been a fascinating experience watching their progression from an egg to a caterpillar that is ready to pupate!

Latest update! The two remaining caterpillars have now joined the others in the soil (15th August). After about 10 days the hardened pupa can be removed for winter storage!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Fields of Gold.....Common Redstart!

A return visit this morning in the hope of seeing the Common Redstart and I was in luck today! I had to wait for my return walk along the track before I spotted rthe bird, it was very flighty so I kept a good distance away from it but had good views through my bins! What a delightful and smart bird he was too! I lingered for a good 30 minutes or more in the hope of a decent photograph but it seemed as soon as I positioned my camera it fled in to the thickest part of the trees and re-appeared five minutes later. However to have such good views of the Redstart was more than enough for me. I added Chiffchaff, Robin and Raven to the list for this area and a Green Woodpecker was heard only. There were plenty of Skippers (species), Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers on the Ragwort and a single Comma bathed on the track in the warm sunshine this morning!

A record shot of a bird I was delighted to see!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Fields of Gold and a Flock of Sheep....27th & 28th July 2012

Actually the fields were a corn colour but Gold sounds better and maybe all the Gold Medals the GB Team are winning had something to do with it!

For a change of scenery I decided to go for a walk along a public footpath that leads off from Whittington Hall Lane, the path leads eventually to the bridleway at Sugar Loaf Lane and Bunkers Hill Wood. The first walk on Friday afternoon was in glorious sunshine, Skylarks, Yellowhammer, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Blue Tit, Swallow, Swift , Kestrel and Buzzard were seen today and also a Redstart that took flight in to a field as I walked back up the path! I waited patiently to see if it would show again but no luck. The Redstart was the main reason I returned the next day but still no luck! However I did add Great Tit, Whitethroat, Linnet and a Jay to my bird list. Butterflies were lovely to see as on both days the warm sun shone brightly, however there was more of a breeze on the Saturday (28th) walk.

Butterfly species seen were Comma (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1), with Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Small Skipper in abundance! I am wondering if I have an Essex Skipper, I have read that the undersides of the tips of the antennae are yellow orange in the Small Skipper whereas they are black in the Essex Skipper. I am not sure if it is a trick of the light as I have an image of a Skipper that looks as though it has the black tips. Help with ID if it is possible to tell from the images would be appreciated.

The Whitethroats were a treat to see, I reckon there were at least two juveniles and very confiding they were too! This is where the Sheep come in, they were grazing in the field behind me and as I stopped for a while to take pics of the Whitethroats I could hear the sheep coming ever closer to me. I turned to see almost the whole flock facing me close to the fence as they made their way down the field grazing as they went! I reckon they wanted their picture taken too.lol!



Small Tortoiseshell

Meadow Brown

Small Skipper. I am unsure of the first Skipper image and wonder if this is an Essex Skipper.