Friday, 29 April 2016

Another Day... Another Hoopoe

I was planning on visiting Seaton today, so when I saw a tweet from Steve saying that yesterday's Hoopoe was showing well near to Lower Bruckland Ponds I decided to go and have a look and perhaps get some better photos this time. This was my third Hoopoe in twelve days and you know what? I haven't seen a Wheatear yet this year. Yes really!





Feeding on leatherjackets.


Down the hatch!

 
Nearly got it. Good one of the tail though.
I've never managed to get a nice Hoopoe flight shot.
Perhaps I'll get one next time.


And for anyone who hasn't seen a Hoopoe in the field, it's probably a bit smaller than you thought.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Dawlish Warren Gems and Cornish Pearls

Sunday morning we went to Dawlish Warren, and yes it was to search for a particular wildflower but as well as seeing the flower in question we were also lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time when a Hoopoe was found. We were in that particular place because we were following an aberrant Small Copper butterfly a real beauty it was too! It's a good thing we saw all these lovely things as it kind of made up for the shock of having to pay £4 to park the car! No option to pay for less than 4 hours seems a bit harsh to me. After leaving Dawlish we made our way down to Looe in Cornwall hoping to see some early Pearl-bordered Fritillaries and despite the cool weather conditions it was easily warm enough on the undercliffs and we saw about a dozen, along with our first Walls (too wary for photos as usual) and Holly Blues of the year.


The Hoopoe my second in as many Sundays.
 Annoyingly I'd left my DSLR in the car and had to make do with a photo from my bridge camera.


Small Copper - Lycaena phlaeas
 An unnamed aberration as far as I'm aware, the fore wings should be the same colour as the orange band on the hind wings but are a lovely golden yellow with a white spot on the outer corner I think they have the look of a sunrise about them.


This is the flower we were looking for Upright Chickweed quite uncommon and difficult to spot.
 It's very small but quite abundant on one particular bank. Unfortunately although it was sunny it was too early in the morning for the flowers to be fully open (or open at all in most cases)


With rabbit dropping for scale.


It was quite a challenge to get the camera to focus on the small plant for this shot .
 I like the result though.



Upright Chickweed - Moenchia erecta



Early Forget-me-not - Myosotis ramosissima



Changing Forget-me-not - Myosotis discolor 


Dove's-foot Cranesbill (white form) - Geranium molle



Pearl Bordered Fritillary - Boloria euphrosyne


Orange Tip - Anthocharis cardamines



 
Holly Blue - Celastrina argiolus


Tuesday, 19 April 2016

More Hampshire Wildflowers

Some more wildflowers from around Hampshire in the last week.


This is Alternate-leaved Golden Saxifrage, much less common than its relative Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage and one I've never been able to find up until now. Once seen though it is quite obviously different, especially in being larger and more brightly coloured with toothed leaves.


The yellow is very intense and the bracts glossy


Here it is with Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage (small flowers on left)


Alternate-leaved Golden Saxifrage - Chrysosplenium alternifolium

  
Purple Toothwort - Lathraea clandestina

 

 Usually seen growing on the ground parasitising tree roots this clump was actually in the fork of a willow tree several feet above ground.


This is American Skunk Cabbage an invasive species which I believe is due to be eradicated from many areas. It is a very beautiful plant and looks spectacular but boy does it stink! It is probably one of the worst plants I've smelt (the worst is Hedge Woundwort - Hideous!!) The odour filled the whole woodland in the heat of the sun and made me feel quite nauseous. The smell made me want to leave but the visual delight made me want to stay.


With the light behind it you can see where it got its alternative name of Swamp Lantern 


American Skunk CabbageLysichiton americanus


Shepherd's Cress and Little Mouse-ear 
 

Shepherd's Cress has characteristic flowers with two large and two small petals 


Shepherd's Cress - Teesdalia nudicaulis 


Thale Cress - Arabidopsis thaliana 


Field Woodrush - Luzula campestris


Spring Beauty - Claytonia perfoliata


Mousetail - Myosurus minimus


Ivy-leaved Speedwell - Veronica hederifolia



Wall Speedwell Veronica arvensis