The very next day after the last visit to Bev's, and I tried a afternoon visit this time with the sun in a different direction, apologies for more Kingfisher images but I love to photograph these birds. They were still perching themselves up whilst taking down the hide, so used to my presence now that I just crouched down and carried on watching, every time I say one more set of images I seem to be there half an hour later with two sets more in the bag, I just cant drag myself away.
With the weather nice, warm and sunny I just had to put in a few hours with the Kingfishers. I used my pop up hide so as to blend in better with the surroundings. It wasn't long before both birds started to perch up, every time with a fish, and so it continued for the next couple of hours, one alternating visit every quarter of an hour or so until the midday sun obviously made it more awkward for them to catch fish as they slowed down in their return rate, and the male bird was definitely under achieving compared to the female. Whilst waiting for their return a couple of Tufted duck young ventured away from their parents, they would of been in view of any predatory birds,namely the Lesser black backed gulls, and easy pickings for sure but the gulls were absent at the time, and as I left they were heading back to the adults. A successful few hours and despite it being like a sauna in the hide the results made up for the uncomfortable wait. I also managed to see Common Darters on the way back to the car plenty of butterflies on the wing for a change.
Over the last two weeks I was fortunate to add two new species to my moth list. Luckily I had one of my pots to hand on both occasions as the were found in the daytime. The above moth is a Broad-Barred White which was in lovely condition, and the beautiful moth below is a Lilac Beauty. The Lilac Beauty is a stunning moth and unlike any other with the front edges of the wings folded over. A lovely couple of additions.
Once again heavy rain had put a stop to getting out and about on my days off, but the forecast of 'no rain' but grey skies was adequate on one day to try for some images and listing at Bev's. And as I can never have it all my own way, the wind had picked up somewhat. What is it with the wind? it seems to of been windy for bloody months or is it just in my head, anyhow it definitely wasn't a day for insect photography so I hoped for some bird images despite the high water levels again. There were still numerous Damselflies and Black tailed skimmers but no sooner had I located one the wind lifted them half a mile away!!
I did manage to grab a shot of a Gatekeeper butterfly which was pleasingly added to the site list.
Oh my GOD! the sun started to try and break through, did it realise that I was out and about, surely not, time to bag some shots. A overhead Buzzard was followed by views of Kestrel and Sparrowhawk, but no sign of any Hobbies. The resident pair of Oystercatchers were still showing well minus any young, if they had started nesting on site then the high water levels surely lost them some time back, and since then it has only risen.
They were still mating though with the female letting the male know her willingness, I don't think I will I will be seeing any offspring from them this year though.
I could see the pair of Great crested grebes swimming around, the nest was actually being sat on by a Coot with a single youngster close by, I started to think that for at least the third attempt the grebes had once again lost the eggs with the high water.
But I was to see a joyful sight next, of a bunch of Humbugs riding safely on the back of mum. As she strutted around the lake showing all and sundry her fine family, they kept jostling around for the best views. I counted 3 on her back but when she lowered them into the water I might of made a 4th one but it was a distant view, great news all the same.
Young birds seemed to be the order of the day after that, with Moorhen,Coot,and a few families of Tufted duck showing around the lake, a single Little egret used one of the few shallow edges to fish from. I noticed a lot more sightings of Little grebe too so hopefully they had young tucked away in the waterside vegetation.
The distinctive call and a flash of blue then had me trying for the Kingfishers, I had seen the male flying around the lake on previous occasions but had not gotten any images of them perched up since earlier in the year. So I tucked myself up under a elderberry bush, which was at a height that screened my head and covered the top of the lens and waited. The wind continued to blow but kept the branch cover down which was handy as the male and female started to show, perched up with fish intact. The cover was working and they were none the wiser of my presence,although I had quite a reach with the big lens.
Over the next hour I watched in delight as they presented themselves on a couple of visits before the grey clouds began to thicken and I then realised the sun had indeed finally spotted me out and about, but it was too late, I had bagged some nice shots and I could now head home under a cloud.
A 'rarity' being that the bloody weather let me venture to Bev's for a morning walk!
It seemed ages since the last visit, with the wind and wet weather never being on my side when not working the forecast of a grey but dry morning was enough for me to get out. And true to the report it was dull and grey and the wind was a tad breezy coming off the lake but I finally got my first visit for July. And to be greeted by a new bird species straight away was a terrific start.
Although right across the other side of the main lake, the sight of a Barn owl hunting was unmistakable, and it was flying over the grassland adjacent to the river on Bev's land, so new tick there!
I made my way around the lake to hope that it stayed in the area for some closer images, but on rounding the lake I watched it fly further afield onto the common, probably back to roost as it was getting lighter (if you can call it that,more later than brighter).
The water levels were still high, but a great sight to see were the Great crested grebes still with their nest, hopefully the water was not encroaching from underneath and I will soon be seeing the young riding around on the backs of the parent birds. With plenty of song coming from the numerous Whitethroats and Sedge warblers but not any opportunities for photographing them I headed around to start looking for insects to list and photograph whilst on my way to try for the male Kingfisher.
The sky had brightened somewhat but I had to opt for some flash photography if I wanted to capture any insect images, as they were all hidden amongst the vegetation and had no great desire to venture out yet. The male Damselflies were still numerous and I only saw two female types and they proved too elusive to capture on camera.
With plenty of Blue tailed and Common Blue Damselflies around I was hoping of seeing a different species but it was not to be, but the dull weather enabled me to approach a little closer for some images.
The above two images are Common Blue Damselflies and the image below is a Blue tailed Damselfly.
Image above is a Common Blue Damselfly, and below a common sight this year what with all the wet weather. Numbers of snails and slugs are on the up and very numerous this year, much to the disgust of my wife Sarah, who has had numerous plants eaten before they even flower, despite slug and snail raids every night at home.
The morning was proving to be very good in photographing insects on site and with bird photography at its quietest a welcoming activity. This fly below, 'Chrysops Relictus', is a member of the Horse-Fly family. What struck me was the sheer brilliance in the eye colour, stunning.
Above is a Spotted Crane Fly, plenty of these around at the moment, and below is a Scorpion Fly, you can see the upturned tail like a scorpions, but what I noticed most was the long down curved nose as it seems!
Below is another example of a brightly coloured eye, this time on a Flesh Fly. Notice the large feet that resemble pads.
Despite the forecast of no rain, I was caught out in a brief shower, this kept everything where it was so I continued searching, next on the list and two great additions were a single Small Skipper, above, and a Lesser Yellow Underwing,below. I was more than happy to obtain shots of these two and with a catalogue of new images I headed back to the car.
My route back took me adjacent to the long grasses and vegetation growing around the waterlogged margins of the lake, and it was here that a large number of Black-tailed Skimmers were resting up or were flying around. It was the biggest concentration of these dragonflies I had witnessed, with a few individuals feeding over the main lake the rest were sheltered in the grasses and vegetation, and with a careful approach I got a few shots, and whilst viewing them I noticed a few had darker abdomens, these were older females unlike the fresher yellow and black female pictured below.