31 May, 2018

Wombling About In The Sunshine

So, Monday was another one of those hot sunny days that you aren't supposed to get on bank holidays.

At least, it was away from the Patch. On Patch there was mist, fog, gunk, and so on..

Yeah, anyways, another trip with the Folks was in order, and we went to the place we had been hoping to visit to see Bluebells - cancelled due to Plague - earlier in the month.

Lingering lurgy and rather antisocial weather - just too hot and muggy for hard activity - curtailed our activities, and so no lake-rounding this time. Instead of that, we parked at Haddon [yes, the Two-bar place :) ] and wandered up said Hill to admire the view. Alas, it was a bit hazy in the distance, and Dartmoor was invisible.. :( Not that there weren't views to appreciate - true 360° panoramas are rare things, after all - and we did. We then found a knoll on the flank [carefully scouted to avoid getting too close to any nests, of course] and sat about enjoying the view at greater length.

You really need to be there

Sun and a moderate breeze led to soaring birds, but no kites [let alone anything better] were to be seen, so here's a Buzzard for you

Its always a Buzzard

Also a Kestrel

At lesser altitudes, the Swallows, House Martins - and one very low very close Swift! - were too mobile to photo, but a Mipit was more confiding, having more important things on its mind

"Busy busy busy.."
Foraging Mipit[s] gradually got closer and closer, there is nothing like sitting quietly to get good views of things.



 Eventually, sitting in the sun counting Buzzards [7, btw] was superceded by the need to stretch the legs, so we ambled down towards Wombleball Lake and took an amble about the woods on the south side.

With full canopies up, birds were almost universally heard but not seen, so don't expect anything feathery in this lot;

Buzzards don't count

Lovely woods

Wimbleball - southern arm

 Birds in the area included counts of 16 singing Willow Warbler, 2 Wood Warbler [not a chance of a cr view], 4 Chiffchaff, 6 Blackcap, 4 Pied Fly, 1 Spot Fly, 3 Redstart, and 3 Cuckoos. Of all those, only the odd phyllosc and two of the Redstarts showed, but again, too mobile and too much cover to get them on record [plus the Redstarts had things to do and I'm not keen on interrupting such things]

With guard fly

A few Bluebells still scattered about, though we didn't venture the extra miles to check the main areas.
Insect-wise, no dragons of any type seen, and mostly Whites on the wing, though a pleasing number of Dingy Skippers also about, they were far too savvy to get photo'd [I almost got one, but unfortunately, Little Black Dogs don't understand about not flushing things...].

Getting back up to Haddon was an effort, but at least none of the eventual showers paid us a visit, so small mercies.

It was a good day.

Though when I got back and switched on my 'puter I did go 'Aaaaaaaaarrrrggghhh.....'

I'm trying to be all Zen about these things.

Be Seeing You...

27 May, 2018



Spots before the eyes? In a spot of bother?

Or a reference to something[s] with spots, mayhaps?

Or just; "Never mind the stupid title, get on with it!"

[[::Chorus of Python extras:: "GET ON WITH IT!"]]

A weekend spent still recovering from the plague [yes, again.. What is it this year?] and vexed by non-ideal weather [I thought bank holidays were supposed to be sunny now??] was still not a total fog-out. Well... away from the Patch, anyway.

Off-Patch, I raided Stover - braving the hordes - and actually got some sunshine before it rained. Shock.


Large Red Damselfly

One or two about

Azure Damselfly
Present in numbers

Blue-tailed Damselfly

Four-spotted Chaser

Different individual
[Note abdominal markings]

Damselflies will usually settle somewhere. Dragonflies can be right so-and-so's, however. I have never even got to hit the shutter on a Hairy, for example. So, finding not one but two 4-Spots that would not only pose, but come back to the same perch you'd just set up on.. Ah, well.

You get things like this;


When my little sadist decides to work, it does do quite well.

Also on site were the odd Broad-bodied and indeed Hairy - who never came close to posing - and these little fellows;

First of the year

The last quackling swimming...

Yeah, only one left. :(

A Patch beset by such mistyfog that even seawatching wasn't working [bah], saw me resorting to desperate tactics..

Moff sp.

Hey, this looks familiar...

Not buried by the Bracken. Yet.

So the white Hawthorns are going pink, too?!?

Eventually, all those flowers led to a butterfly. With the power of my mind, I made it stay put long enough to zap,

Red Admiral

"Hey, at least I'm not a gull"

Be Seeing You...

25 May, 2018

And The Other Stuff

In which we find out what else I did on Sunday, and I also post yet more shots of what's coming into my skygarden..

Yeah, amazing stuff. No, really. It's better than it sounds.

Ok, not as amazing as it could have been, but that's birds for you.

Sunday.. After getting back from my FritFest, I had a siesta [oh how continental] then toddled off to my Pet Nightjar Site to look for.. Oh wait, I spoiled it already, didn't I?

The Nightjars were in one of those moods; plenty about but no ridiculous posing, let alone Kestrel impersonations this time.

At least 5 churring males present, probably 7, with a couple of low-flying females giving that lovely frog call. But no insanely lucky photos this year*, so here's a little atmosphere;

Lit by Moon and Venus

I do so love Nightjarring.

Closer in, here are a couple of pictures from Home;

Mr Fatpecker

Taking a drink
[Note pigeon defeat device**]

The full on display

::Takes deeeeeep breath::

Land Puffin

There are two pairs of Blackbirds foraging on my balcony, with the odd 'discussion' when they arrive together...

Also two pairs of Coal Tits, with one [exits right] markedly dominating the other [exits angled left]

'Left' Coal Tit,
showing wing-drooping submissive pose

Coal Tit in full focus!

Got to have a Blue Tit

Great Tits - often male and female together - and Robin also still regular, but able to evade the camera.

GSW a strict fat-muncher,
Blues combine aphid-hunting with fat plus peanuts, only sometimes going for the seed feeders,
Coals often working the Blue Spruce for aphids, sometimes taking some fat, then picking a choice sunflower seed to leave with,
Greats keener on taking mealworms from the Spruce, then onto the mix feeder, or sometimes a sunflower seed,
Greenfinches on the sunflowers, going to the mix if they can't get on - due to space or aggressive males,
Robin after worms and bits among planters and sometimes onto the mix feeder,
Blackbirds very into the heap for the worms, also general ground searching [I scatter all sorts about] plus sideways clinging onto the fat!

The pigeons - Wood and Feral - mostly seem to sit about making mess, with the odd bout of hoovering. Magpie and Crow raids are very circumspect; they can see very well through the glass and scarper if they think I'm there, so I'm not sure what they're after. The Crows in the past did an impressive job of undoing an old feeder, so who knows?

Be Seeing You...

[[*I will not use a flash on nocturnal species, btw, so a lot of variables have to align for anything to be picked up]]
[[**An inverted hanging basket, plus various recycled plastic bits, are needed to keep the pigeons, assorted, from fouling any offered water source...]]

24 May, 2018

Out In The Sunshine. Again. [Is He Mad?]

Madness such as this is required when chasing flutterbies.

Well, if you're me, anyway.

Having finally found some Woody Goodness, I got things back onto track by chasing a butterfly I'd not photographed before. A rare but very pretty little thing: The Pearl-bordered Fritillary.

Yes, that Quest For The Golden Pearl thing...

And so;

I went to That Fritillary Place - apparently, naming sites for anything online these days is a no-no - and saw what I could see.

That Butterfly Place

Which was one fluttering past before I'd even started parking.

Ah, now that's the kind of search we like.

Oh, there were hordes, heaps, meeeeeellionnns, even. Ok, not millions, but scores is a fair description!

Seeing and getting decent images are not quite the same thing, however, as sometimes they could be a bit too helpful;

He landed right there..

...just too close to use the zoom and keep focus!

But patience and some more patience eventually gave me some slightly better attempts. Yes, here we go again

Laying female

"Do you mind, mate? I'm trying to oviposit here!"

Of course, it wasn't all fun and playing hide and seek with gorgeous butterflies, as I had to avoid the Guardians. Dread Beasts of Terror, forever seeking the flesh of the innocent [and everyone else] to devour..
I speak - in suitably hushed tones - of the Ravening Tigers


[That's Tiger Beetle for "Don't think you're too big to eat, matey...", btw]

Also Terrors in the air, like this monster

Snipe Fly

Hey, this one used my face for target practice, then having been fended off, sat there and posed like 'You want some more, eh?'

Yeah, so back to the butterflies;

Diagnostic underwing shot

I have far too many of these..

Also a few other butterflies out, such as;


Green Hairstreak

Small Heath

Green-veined White
[other Whites just don't pose the same way]

Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Oh yeah, already did that one.. ;)

I didn't just spend hours ambling about zapping cute little insects, I tried and failed to get decent shots of the Swifts, House Martins and Swallows zipping about overhead. I did get one flying thing

Escaped eagle thing
[Kidding, itsa Buzzard]

And all that looking down, well, there is a short list of what catches my eye and oh yes;

Rowan's shade


Couldn't hit a 10p on the side of an exposure...

I'll spare you the awful puns that sprang to mind. I'll even spare you much in the way of geological burbling about country rocks, intrusive boundaries, and so on. Also the even worse humour that often goes with all that...

Finally, here's another little treat for you,

ID Test
So what's this, then?

All this fun, and the day wasn't even done, yet.

[Oh no, not another cliffhanger...!]

Be Seeing You...