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.