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

Monday 18 April 2016

Birds! Distant Blurry Birds

Well only in my photos of them to be honest.They were only distant for photography, never being much closer than 300m but the views were good. I arrived on the Axmouth road overlooking Colyford Marsh at about 6.15 this morning and stood and froze for three hours before the Montagu's Harrier finally decided to end its long lie in. I could have been having one of them too! The waiting wasn't so bad though as it was nice to catch up with a few fellow birders ( if I can still call myself a birder that is). The Montagu's Harrier was later joined by a Red Kite which harried it for a while before being chased by some crows. It later returned with a meal and sat eating it on a fence post for a quite a while. Montagu's Harrier was a 'patch tick' for me. I still class the Axe Valley as my patch. If I want to see decent birds I have to!

Yesterday morning I was on Portland for a while and went to see the Hoopoe at Suckthumb Quarry. I didn't get any good photos of this either as I couldn't get as close as I need to with my camera because there was already a crowd watching it.

Distant blurry Hoopoe... I might have got a better shot if I'd waited for it to move a bit closer but I left it because I became somewhat distracted by this...

Brackish Water-crowfoot - Ranunculus baudotii