Let me know when that tide's coming in won't you

Let me know when that tide's coming in won't you

Monday, 6 July 2015

Butterfly Season

I'm really enjoying this butterfly season. It seems like there has been a real explosion just recently. Speckled Woods seem to be the most abundant, but they are real pains to get a picture of. Move within a metre or two of them and they're off, and waiting for them to settle again is a pointless task. LA long lens was my only hope, as I managed to get a couple of okay shots, but not the open winged ones that I wanted.


The Brown Argus was a new butterfly to me this year. This one was found on the chalky slopes of Martin Down in Salisbury, and it is actually very small. A great looking butterfly though.


 
 

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

RSPB Otmoor

RSPB Otmoor is one of the best bird reserves I've been to for some time. It could well have been the time of year that I went, but the place was oozing with birds and bird song. I parked the car and grabbed my camera and binoculars and was soon greeted by the purring song of a Turtle Dove, followed by a Cuckoo. I could have got back in the car and gone home right then. I wasn't expecting Turtle Dove here, but was delighted to add it to my ever growing year list. Further encounters were had with them around the reserve, with at least three or four different birds around.
Cuckoos were playing hard to get but soon showed themselves along a tree line.
A pair of Hobbys were hunting dragonflies at the furthest viewing screen and put on a nice show for me. Drumming and roding Common Snipe were a new sight and sound for me. I'd never heard them drumming before. What a great sound.

Hobby on the hunt in gloomy light. 

Every time I looked up, there seemed to be a bird of prey up in the vast sky. Red Kites seemed to be everywhere, and it was great to watch them hunt and then be hassled by numerous birds like Lapwings and crows.
Red Kite.
 

There was an abundance of Reed Buntings on site. These were busy feeding, from what I could see. 


Treecreeper looking for food for its young in the nest. Nicely camouflaged.

The Turtle Dove. Only the second time I've seen one in the wild. The thrill was quite exhilarating.




Sunday, 28 June 2015

Common Tern

I had an amazingly close encounter with a couple of Terns at Pennington Marsh in Hampshire. This pair were sat on the edge of a verge that led down into the Solent. One was very vocal at some points, as you will see below.
I'd like to point out that I wasn't as close as these pictures make out, and at no time did I disturb these guys. I have cropped quite a lot to  bring them closer. Anyway, here are the Common Terns.


Can I help you?






Thursday, 25 June 2015

Butterflies

When the birds aren't playing, I tend to turn my eye to other forms of nature. Insects, fungi, moths and butterflies mainly. Recently in the New Forest I came across a few species of butterfly that I'd never seen before. These were pointed out to me by our very able guide Jon Stokes.
We found a Pearl-bordered Fritillary late one evening. Wonderful colours both with wings open or closed. When closed you can see the white 'pearls' on the underside that give it it's name.


And wings open. Looking great in the sun.


Marsh Fritillary, found on the slopes of Martin Down.


Dingy Skipper. Not the most colourful butterfly and quite small.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

New Forest

Hampshire and the New Forest had many different varieties of birds. Some I'd never seen before, and some that were a little more familiar.
At Pennington Marsh in Lymington we had some good but distant views of Spoonbill. A little closer were Dunlin, Turnstone and Little Ringed Plover. Some large gulls were drifting in off the Solent. Such as this beast below.

Great Black-backed Gull.

This Little Tern was my first of the year, and it didn't hang around too long either.

On the New Forest itself there were plenty of Meadow Pipits busying themselves. Seen here on some gorse.


A male Stonechat in some very gloomy light.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Connaught Waters - Epping Forest

An early morning drive into the heart of Epping Forest and Connaught Water in search of Nightingale proved to be fruitless. The weather was kind to me though, with the sun up and warm too. There were plenty of other birds up and about though, with Blackcaps in good voice especially.
Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker were in attendance too, as were Nuthatch and a few Chiffchaff.
A nice surprise on the water were a pair of Common Tern. One was sat on a post while the other was engaging in courtship feeding, whereby the male (usually) goes and catches fish and then presents it to the female. It was quite interesting to watch, as she didn't seem that impressed. I guess it's like when a guy tries to buy a lady a drink in a bar, to woo her. Sometimes it might take a few drinks for her to see his good nature.

Common Tern.


Waiting for that second or third drink.

Some very cute goslings.

Just look how much bigger they will get.

The stripy headed juvenile Great Crested Grebe.

The very colourful male Mandarin Duck.


I wasn't expecting to see this Whistling Duck in Epping Forest.



Thursday, 18 June 2015

Gannets

The Gannets were the real reason for my longing to go to Bempton Cliffs this year. Such a stunning looking bird and even better when there are thousands of them soaring along the cliff tops.
I wasn't disappointed with what I saw and in fact it surpassed my expectations. I just wish it had been a little warmer and the light better, but I guess you can't have everything. It's certainly somewhere I will go back to, and maybe just stare in wonder again at one of natures finest spectacles.