Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Last year I had a good moan about the summer weather. I know this year has been pretty wet too, but from my perspective the weekends have been better, and the rain has largely been more showery than continuous.
Slimbridge isn't the best place for photography. Most of the hides are a bit distant from the birds, or face into the sun for large parts of the day, but the hides on the Holden walkway are a better bet. The aim yesterday was to try for some pics of green sandpiper, but only one was on the pool, and for a long time it seemed happy to wander the far banks. There was a brief flurry of excitement when it took to the air and headed broadly in our direction, but it came down to a small island, well out, and had a preen. And then a stand.
Then it flew back to the far bank.
Eventually it strolled across the shallow water to the channel in front of the hide. The barbed wire fence did cause some problems (I ask you - why a barbed wire fence across the nearest water to the hide?), but the cloud even more. This could have been a lovely close up. As it is no amount of tweaking can give it that sunshine glow. Of course after it walked away again the sun appeared enabling a shot of .............. the black-tailed godwits. At first I thought this one was exercising, but then, as the cloud cover rolled back in, I realised it was doing a rain dance.
But, good things come to those who wait (and I can assure you we waited). The green sandpiper did reappear, and in some sun. In my eagerness I didn't even let it clear the reeds before I was grabbing some shots (the BTG was still dancing you see - get something in the can). Then a second appeared, but you can only focus on one at a time!
As always a few better quality versions and a few more pics in the 'latest pictures' web album HERE
Thursday, August 20, 2009
As always better quality versions of these pictures, and some others (yes more), on the web albums HERE . Look in the latest pictures album and use the slideshow feature for best views.
Common fumitory with dew - a low growing plant I've never really noticed until this year.
Creeping thistle and sawfly sp.
Meadow grasshopper (the male has long wings, the female shorter)
Long winged conehead (antennae are a fair length too!)
Mint moth (apparently) - Pyrausta aurata
Phasia hemiptera (?)
Unidentified fly (but a cutie)
Brown lipped snail (?)
Ladybird in wild carrot seedhead
Scorpion fly - at last some pictures with at least a semblance of focus. The male shows where the name comes from , but I was intrigued to note on the last shot that the 'sting' opens into 3 component parts. This is a favourite of mine, but I'm sure not to everyone's taste. The head looks a bit like something Tim Burton might use for a nightmare horse head.
Not sure what form of bee this is, it all seemed to be white. It did look nice against the mix of colours from the corn- and sunflowers.
Rich's field in the dawn light.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I dreamed of getting a picture like this, but that's a job for a hawk and owl centre I guess!
But ............ they've all fledged now, and walking past the woods the other day I was thrilled to see this bird in an oak tree. Brilliant.Rich has put up some more nestboxes in the area, so hopefully now the young have dispersed they may set up their own territories nearby.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
They've rented a field from the Council, with an agreement that the main area in the centre will be an organic (ie untreated) hay crop. This currently looks fabulous, especially in the early morning or evening light, with clover and corn marigolds providing points of colour and sorrel, hogweed and cow parsley punctuating the sparkling seedheads.
Around 3 margins there are some small stands of native trees with longer 4-10 metre strips of sacrificial seed crops for the birds - I recognised borage, phacelia and sunflowers for starters, but there was also quinoa, chicory, buckwheat and others I forget. A few cornflowers have self seeded. The 4th side is left for wildflowers, a small pond and a narrow area of established woodland.
Green veined white
Small heath (I think) - with dew. 1 drop forms a tear - you'll need to view the web album!
Gate keeper - 2 spots in the scent scale area
Meadow brown - 1 spot - (female, then male, then a male in flight with a Helophilus hoverfly)
Unknown hoverfly sp Scaeva pyrastri