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

Thursday, 5 July 2007

The Bad and the Good

After yesterday, with a dead tawney owl being discovered at Bedfords Park I needed some happy wildlife news. Thankfully I got some better shots of the great tit parent(s) in the morning which cheered me up. Then as icing on the cake I spotted a fox cub at the end of a garden. I kept going back and forth to the end of the garden and then back up again to let the fox come back, but it kept moving and hiding in a dark well vegetated area, so I thought I would not get a photo. It didnt seem scared or worried by me only a few metres away. But then on my 5th or so visit, it stood in a more open area (Thou still dark, I could only get a 1/8sec shutter speed) and I took a few photos, with this being the best one:

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Odd place for a home...

A week or so ago my mum kept hearing birds in her bathroom. And I could hear great tits through my window. First she thought they had nested in the roof but then she realised they were nesting in the drainpipe on next doors roof. So I camped out yesterday with my camera and got these through the double glazed window. the parents looking a bit ragged poor thing!