Tuesday 23 September 2014

Success and Failure

A couple more visits to Black Hole Marsh today and there's now only one Little Stint and guess what? Yes, it stayed miles away! I don't know why I want to get a photo of one because I got a few nice ones the other week. It's just setting oneself a challenge I suppose. On this evening's visit the Kingfisher was trying its luck again from on the wires, still a bit distant and the light wasn't as good, on the first attempt it caught a sizable fish and didn't return for quite some time. When it did reappear it had a few unsuccessful attempts before finally catching another good sized fish.Unfortunately by the time it did this it was getting too dark for any more photos. They're not the best photos of a Kingfisher in action your ever likely to see, not by a long way, but tell you what, it was great fun getting them!


 Better luck next time.

That's better!
(this one's very poor due to failing light )

Monday 22 September 2014

In Flight

I've been out and about on patch a few times today. First thing this morning I went to Black Hole Marsh hoping to get some nice photos of the Little Stints. Unfortunately they simply weren't playing and remained about as far away as they possibly could. When they did eventually move they flew off out onto the estuary. I did get a couple of shots of them in flight though. After lunch I popped over to Seaton Marshes and took a stroll around the borrow pit. There were stacks of Common Darters and Migrant Hawkers but the icing on the cake here was getting some flight shots of a Male Southern Hawker, something I've never managed before. Then this evening back to Black Hole Marsh where the Little Stints continued to evade me but I did get a few distant action shots of a Kingfisher. 

The three Little Stints and a Ringed Plover

 Little Stints

Young Shelduck

Black-tailed Godwit

 Migrant Hawker - Aeshna mixta

Southern Hawker - Aeshna cyanea

There's a Kingfisher in there somewhere.

...Ta dah!

Friday 19 September 2014

Big Sixth Anniversary Special

Don't get excited.There's not actually anything that special. It's big though very big! ;-) Monday 15th September 2008 was the date of my first post on this blog so this Monday was the blog's sixth anniversary. I honestly wouldn't have thought back then that I'd still be writing it now, although I don't really write that much these days and seem to have had a lot more to say back then. I should have posted on Monday but I couldn't as I was in hospital (good excuse) having a bone biopsy on my upper jaw, which was nice! I've been stuck at home all week but have been a bit too woozy to concentrate on typing. I'm feeling much better today (although still look like I've been in a fight) and you'll be pleased to know that I have lots of photos to post. They are from a visit to Aylesbeare Common last Sunday morning, and a trip to Lower Bruckland Pondst he following day plus a visit to Seaton Marshes where I did my good deed for the week.

At Aylesbeare Common there were still one or two Graylings hanging on.

Grayling - Hipparchia semele

Devil's Bit ScabiousSuccisa pratensis


 With European Garden Spider - Araneus diadematus

And with Dronefly - Eristalis tenax

Common Frog - Rana temporaria

Golden-ringed Dragonfly - Cordulegaster boltonii

Lesser Skullcap - Scutellaria minor

There were quite a few gorse bushes covered in these webs, which belong to the Gorse Spider Mite.
Notice the pale 'bleached' areas on the bush where the mites have already been feeding. The warm dry weather seems to have caused a bit of a population explosion.

Gorse Spider Mite - Tetranychus lintearius 

The only migrant birds I saw were a few Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers, a couple of Wheatears and a single Whinchat. There were quite a few Stonechats but these were most likely local breeders.Some of them looking rather scruffy like so....

The following day I decided to visit Lower Bruckland Ponds. It's just a quick five minute drive in the car but I only had my bike, I got there though...Just! It was definitely worth it, with the willow trees around the top pond full of Chiffchaffs and Spotted Flycatchers. There were at least four possibly five Spotflys possibly a local family group.


Some Chiffchaffs were  moulting and very scruffy looking like this one

Spotted Flycatchers

I then cycled back to Seaton and popped in at Seaton Marshes on the way home. There were a couple of Wheatears on the path to the hide and a few Chiffchaffs around the Borrow Pit. Whilst watching a tandem pair of Common Darters ovipositing I was surprised when the male suddenly released the female in mid air and instead of flying off she plummeted down into the water. She struggled and looked to all intents and purposes doomed. I just couldn't watch her life end in that way so found a long stick and fished her out. 

Trying to get water off her eyes...

Clinging to a tiny floating stick.
Look at that little face pleading for help. How could I refuse?

Back on dry land

 A bit more eye cleaning.
As you can see she didn't have much going for her as she's also lost most of one wing.

More eye wiping and she 'lives to fight another day'. Well possibly.

Migrant Hawker - Aeshna mixta

 Northern Wheatear 
Last but not least as no autumn blog post would be complete without one..

Sunday 7 September 2014

Saturday Morning at Black Hole Marsh

I was at work when the Little Crake was showing on Thursday so I didn't get chance to add to the gallery of blurry shots of it. I had the briefest of views of it first thing on Friday morning through Ian's scope, but by the time I'd moved my scope into position it had bee seen off by a Water Rail. It hasn't been seen since. Yesterday I went back hoping to get some photos of the Curlew Sandpiper and the Little Stint, the former had gone but the Little Stint eventually came just about close enough. Some other regulars were showing very well though especially the Blackwits, Greenshank and Kingfishers.

Little Stint with Ringed Plover and Dunlin

Little Stint


Black-tailed Godwit


Several Kingfishers showing around the Island Hide all morning.
Also reglulaly seen just outside the Tower Hide, where they can perch quite close...

This one ruined my photo of a Black-headed Gull!