Saturday, 18 August 2007

Just got back from the bird fair up at rutland. Fair to say (no pun intended!) I had a good time. First we wandered round the optics tent and I looked through all these lovely scopes and binoculars I'll never be able to afford and looked at lots of lovely books and displays in the other tents. Then we wandered up to the vistor centre and to the bird ringing demo nearby, where I nice chap was ringing a blue tit, which he then let one of the kiddies release, in which he domostrated how if they frlt pressur on their wings they would not fly off. he did this by laying the bird on its back and it just stayed there. Stupidly I didnt have my camera out yet
He then showed us how to record and ring a long tailed tit:

Which he then let another kid release this one too. He then moved onto the Willow Warbler and went quickly through how you could tell it was one and not a chiffchaff (shorter wings, orange feet).

Then as it was a migrant and needed to fatten up it had already been ringed etc and he asked if it was anyones birthday, which it wasn't so he then asked if it was anyones birthday this week and it was mine on I got to release my first (definate) Willow Warbler that I had seen:
its behind my hand!

Its the yellow blur 45 degrees down from my chin!

I also went to a talk on dragonflys and on the way there, there was a crowd gathered round a green dragonfly, but I wanted to get to the talk so I banked on the cold weather keeping it there. 40mins later I came out and it was!:

Also while there we had a brief walk round to a couple of hides but there wasnt much on show. But in the hide opposite the vistor centre there was a few feeders outside on which I saw my first ever tree sparrows:

Sorry for the bad pic: a combination of bad conditions, limited Megapixels/zoom and bad photography

And groups of gold, chaff and green finch, including this group:

And as for non wildlife highlights I saw a small man that is Bill Oddie but he was always busy talking and I didnt have my camra out AGAIN! lol. But I did meet this man:

(its Simon King for you non-TV watchers)

and went to a talk by Nigel Marvin

All in all a nice day out despite the crummy weather

Monday, 13 August 2007

North Kent - Herptatstic weekend

Over the last weekend I managed to turn my one and only Slowworm sightings into 20+, while visiting Kent. Most of them were at the first locality, some spots containing masses of them

But I also found some at a locality I have visited loads of times. This pregnant female was one of them.

This young commonlizard was also there.

At Stodmarsh I found this female Leptura quadrifasciata

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Bedfords park dragonflies and damselflies

There were lots of small red eyed damsels present today:

And a black tailed skimmer kept them company
Along with some common darters
And in the clearing at the edge of the woods around damselfly pond were 2 migrant hawkers

Friday, 27 July 2007

Darland banks

On 2 recent visits to darland banks I saw many cool things. The best of which was my ever first slow worm :D This was only a small immature female but its a start!

I also saw a couple of common lizards

a couple of toads

some mating 6 spot burnet moths

a chalk hill blue

and this female blue butterfly

Also found this labyrinth spider

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Rainham Marshes

As I approached the reserve I could see it raining to the south and feared the worse. And till about 2.30 the conditions were overcast and miserable with very little to photograph, except a little grebe with its young - but there was a spoonbill on show, the closest I'd ever seen a wild one, but still far to far away to photograph. I wandered round for a bit, as I didnt want to go home so soon after travelling for so long to get there, and soon after entering the forest area a weasel shot across the path just in front of me. I hung around till 2.30 and decided to stay for a bit longer and try and find some water voles. I didnt unfortunately but I'm glad I stayed as around 3pm the sun came out; and so did the insects and Marsh frogs. There was atleast 4 female Emperor Dragonflies flying round and laying eggs. Also up near the rifle range was a tame wren singing his heart out. And on my way out I saw one of the biggest Marsh frogs I have seen yet. In the picture the smaller frog is about the size of a full grown common frog, which shows how big the other is! And I did see a species of dragonfly I didnt regonise which kept dipping its abdomen into the water and wrestled/mated? with a male black tailed skimmer but as I had the camera following it waiting for it to land there was a splash and then a marsh frog sitting there - the dragonfly presumably in its gut!

Monday, 9 July 2007

Darland Banks

The grassland here was alive with butterflies, moths and grasshoppers and were full of flowers. I came here to photograph a marbled white (top) and wasn't disappointed. There were plenty flying
around, and I managed to photograph this torpid specimen, who obligingly sat there with its wings open will I took a load of photos. Also there was a species of day flying moth (2nd from top) fluttering around. I turned over a stone, looking for a slowworms and found a a different type of 'worm' (neither are worms really - a slowworm is a legless lizard) a glowworm (which is a type of beetle) larva (2nd from bottom). And to finish of the trip I found a Stag beetle female on the pavement on the way home (bottom)

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Wildwood Trust

The Wildwood trust is a wildlife park in Kent with one difference - it only has animals found in Britain (with a few extra that used to be here - lynx, wolf etc) and its fantastic if like me you've been frustrated trying to see our native animals (and photographing them!) with no luck. I had loads of firsts the day I visited and got a few nice shots to boot:

Artic fox



Black Rat


Common Crane

Common Lizard


Eagle Owl

European pond Turtle


Green Lizard

Havest Mouse


Night Heron


Pine Marten


Red Squirrel

Roe Deer




Tawney Owl