Despite the grey skies looming I decided to take a stroll around Bev's and see what was about. It was quiet around the lake but I noted a single Sedge Warbler, Reed Bunting and Kingfisher. The crickets were calling in good numbers, mainly Dark Bush Crickets but a few Roesel's were heard. The Goldfinch flock was around a hundred birds and very mobile, four Little egrets still present and I also had two Jays and a single Mistle thrush fly overhead. Butterflies seen were Common Blue,Small White,Red Admiral and Small tortoiseshell. There were loads of dragonfly on the wing which brought in the next species, Hobby. At first I saw one hawking over the lake and reed beds catching its prey only to followed by three more, obviously the family from nearby at the Lodge. I watched them for some time and despite the grey skies I grabbed a few record shots of them hunting.
Pere David's Deer
A chilly Septembers morning and I thought I would try for something different, so accompanied by my Dad we set off for first light at Woburn for some deer images. I did not have many deer images in my collection, wild or as these were in a park, never the less it was still wildlife photography and good practice.
Pere David's Deer
Because of staying to the footpaths as instructed, I knew it could be hit or miss with actually getting good enough images, but on this occasion I was lucky that there had not been much disturbance along the paths and quite a few deer were still close in. The fist species met were Pere David's Deer, originating from China, they were brought to Europe before being wiped out in their native country. They thrived at Woburn and have been sent to zoos throughout the world including back to its home in China.
Pere David's Deer
Chinese Water Deer
We encountered a few Chinese water deer, they are always wary and will often be found hiding in the grasses. The size of their ears and dark eyes really stand out.
The selection of images below, down to the last but one are of, I believe Sika Deer. What a lovely looking deer they are, although they were tucked away in a wooded area, the dappled sun shining through the canopy highlighting their colour and markings. I thought these may be Axis deer but the Axis have 3-pointed antlers and not such a white tail/rump as these, and you can make out the raised hock gland on the hind leg (above).
There were three of these together, and they spent some time sleeping in the patchy sun or posing lovely among the trees.
We encountered just the one Red deer close enough to photograph, but after a short spell grazing he was content to just doze the morning away. Amazing to think how big and muscular these animals are on just a diet of grass and plant matter.
A walk around Bev's on Tuesday 18th Sept turned up nothing out of the norm. The wind was fairly strong so the butterflies were constantly being moved, this Common Blue hung on long enough to be photographed. On the birding front there were 4 Little Egrets present, although very mobile. There were still a few groups of House and Sand Martins feeding over the lake along with a few Swallow. The water level had dropped a little but the only wader seen was a single Green Sandpiper. Most obvious were the numbers of Little Grebe present there, with over 30 on the main lake. Also there are more gulls, Black headed, appearing again.
Second Time Lucky.
On the previous Friday I had left the house in the early hours to travel to Lodmoor RSPB for this Mega of a wader. I had till midday because of travelling back for a night shift so I set up alongside a few birders already there. To cut a long story short 5 hours later and even though the Short billed Dowitcher had been seen I had not seen the bird. Frustrated was putting it lightly as I left for home. I put this down to miss-information for the first couple of hours, the bird had been seen very distantly from the far off housing estate on the hill and was not viewable from the Marsh Trail as said, then when birders were informed to view from the mound near the refuse site, it was hidden up out of sight. Oh bugger never mind, that's birding for you.
And so onwards to Monday 10th and this time I set off again with my dad to try again. After some time and no sign, I went to view from the mound due to its elevated position, and just my luck, no sooner had we got there and started scanning that a whistle went up. Trying to get someones attention, I awaited for news if it had been found, Allen Worgan from North Hampshire came back into view and gave the thumbs up, cheers Allen it was appreciated. We made our way back along the marsh trail and joined the birders who informed us it was hiding behind a grass tuft, eventually it moved out and gave good views before a short flight into a small inlet close in but unfortunately heavily obscured by bushes and grasses. It did move into an area where, looking through and beyond vegetation in front of me, I was able to at least grab some record images. It eventually flew further afield and then moved into the grasses once again, so with the weather getting worse(totally unforecast as usual) we headed home tired but well happy.
I cant remember the last time Sarah and I visited Norfolk together, so we decided to spend a few hours at Titchwell. The tide was close in so we had to walk adjacent to thousands of washed up Razor shells.
There was row after row of these shells, all lined up facing the same direction as if laid by hand, amazing sight to view.
The constantly moving Sanderlings were busily feeding amongst the beds of shells, their plumage changing to the icy winter colours already.
There were a few Ruff close by on the reserve, such an elegant looking wader.
I finished up getting close to a flock of Turnstones on the beach, a couple of birds still had summer colouring, and these seemed to be the leaders of the bunch, squabbling and moving others aside. They were content with my presence there and after careful stalking for half an hour I was in a lovely position for some images. Then the inevitable happened, as always at Titchwell, a lone elderly woman chose to ignore what I was doing with no concern whatsoever and walked straight up to Turnstones circling behind the whole flock until they had flown, and then she walked away, oblivious to my glare and loud clapping of applause at her for her thoughtfulness. Some people eh!!!
With the mothing still proving to be a challenge, I was glad to get a couple of hours in, but the weather was very cold and there did not seem much on the wing. Catch of the night went to the Canary Shouldered Thorn, what a lovely moth they are.
The Silver Y moths were seen on a number of occasions feeding in the garden during the day alongside the butterflies. I was even lucky enough to get a couple of shots of Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell. The Tortoiseshells are very numerous at the moment, the best numbers I can remember to of seen, with 5 at times on the buddleia.
With August gone so quickly there was the chance that things might start turning up at Bev's now that September was here. Despite the dull grey skies I headed out hoping that something would get the camera snapping away. Compared to the last visit, the grasses were silent, not one cricket or grasshopper calling. The lone Grey Heron got up and moved on as soon as I was within eyesight. The only noise coming from the passing Swallows and Martins. I did see two groups of 4 and 5 Swifts pass over, which is surely the last ones I will see this year.
Whilst watching the male Kingfisher flitting around the southern bank edges, I noticed a small warbler flitting around the waterside vegetation. I thought it was probably a Sedge warbler but was I glad I went for another look from a different angle. Moving around the bushes looking for insects was a Reed Warbler, and a very welcome addition to the site list, when the warblers had moved in earlier in the year I thought I might get a Reed' moving through but was unsuccessful. So I patiently waited for it to show itself and get some images, and after a short while I bagged myself some images.