Thursday, June 03, 2010

Here's a clue - it's knot Dartford

You may not believe it, but I often think a bit about what I'm going to say on the blog before I start typing. We've just had a few days away on holiday, and I thought I'd start with a little photo quiz. Can you guess where we went?
First a general snap just to give a vague sense of location .................

Then a couple of pictures of species named for the location ........

and finally a snap of one of it's best known (former) inhabitants.

Trouble is my insect identification let me down, so if you know your moths you'll be scratching your head at this point!
The answer is Jersey - St Ouen's Bay, Jersey orchid and Gerald Durrell (My Family and Other Animals was an all time favourite of mine). When Kay pointed out the moth I knew it wasn't the 'tiger' we normally see and I said authoritatively "It must be a Jersey tiger." Except it's not. They have lines not blotches. I think this is a cream spot tiger - still pretty, but kind of spoils the start to the post!
St Ouen's Bay is a fabulous expanse of sand. I'm not the world's best sunbather given my celtic origins, and even though there was a bit of cloud about I left Kay to it and went to have a peer in some rock pools.

There were a few fish, etc, but it was these creatures that caught my attention - moving singly or several 'bonding'. Some kind of rock pool mollusc I think they may be a form of sea hare - if you know please tell me by using the comment facility.

The gulls were tending to be a bit twitchy, although as the tide came in they settled and started crabbing pretty successfully.

As ever though the best views came from the tamer ones seeking a share of our lunch.

Anyway, while I was down fossicking I noticed a couple of little shorebirds, which gradually came nearer, working the waterline. As usual the little buggers wouldn't stay still, and I didn't have the easiest camera kit to use (I don't usually take the fast lens away on holiday) but eventually I got my first ever views, let alone snaps, of summer plumage knot. Perhaps the best days sunbathing I've had. [Although there was that evening skinny dipping with the Scandinavian girls in Greece ....................]

So I thought that would probably be it. This wasn't a wildlife holiday after all, and the views of some good sized mullet in the marina were probably the only other sights I'd get.

However, in the cafe there was free internet access and the Jersey Birds website (thanks guys) mentioned some heathland birds that saw me up early for the last 2 mornings to try and see, and hopefully snap a bird that has been on the wish-list for some time now. As it turned out the weather the first day wasn't great - but I did see some. Day 2 saw more sun, and although the lack of a tripod proved a fairly bad decision I also got some snaps worth posting. Not the dunnock, although it was kind enough to pose against the gorse .....

not the meadow pipits either ....................

but these little guys. My first Dartford warblers. I couldn't work out at first what was going on. I thought I'd found a nest as there were definitely a couple of adults catching caterpillars. But there were more than 2 adults. Then they all moved off? Eventually the penny dropped when I had a brief view, and sadly a bit of a ropey snap, of a youngster. It seemed to be a small group of several adults with young that stayed mainly hidden in the dense gorse bushes.

While there I met a friendly guy from Paisley who told me about the 'orchid field' at St Ouen's. As I had seen but not snapped some marsh harriers down there too, I did the sums and decided I could make a quick visit before Kay stirred. I found the Jersey orchids, and some southern marsh orchids, complete with cricket. The harriers were too far off, but they can wait for another year.

Botanically the wall pennywort, or navelwort, seemed to be growing everywhere.
Lastly I found this behind the dunes at St Ouen's. I haven' a clue what it is. If you know please leave a comment, as I hate nameless pictures!
As always some of the shots can be seen in more detail HERE in the web albums
- click on latest pictures.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Fabulous range of wildlife - great to see you love the full range like I do. Nice DWs!!!