25
Jul
14

A Warm Summers Evening

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In the warm light of the summer evening on Wednesday we watched a Buddleia bush come alive with butterflies. White and Red Admirals, Brimstones, Peacocks, Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers as well as the odd Grayling.

I thought the stars of the show were the Silver Washed Fritillaries; three on one flower was good. That was until a couple of White Letter Hairstreaks came down from the treetops to feed. 

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Silver Washed Fritillary

White letter Hairstreak

23
Jul
14

Laden

We saw this Bee species the other day. It was so laden with pollen it could hardly fly.

Bee sp

21
Jul
14

Eye Eye

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It never ceases to amaze me what flies around in the darkness of the night. A beautiful Eyed Hawk Moth in the moth trap the other day. Exquisitely beautiful.

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Eyed Hawkmoth

 

19
Jul
14

Brilliant just brilliant

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Identified from Downy Emeralds by their yellow frons (nose) we saw several Brilliant Emeralds hawking around a small secluded stream in a deep heathland valley the other week. Anyone who has tried to photograph any one of the Emerald Dragons will know how secretive and elusive they can be; often only perching high within trees. We were just lucky I suppose but towards the end of the day one individual at least was more than obliging.

Several Keeled Skimmers were also in the area as was a nice Emperor, several Four Spot Chasers, Large Red and Azure Damselflies.

I have to thank my friend Dawn for giving directions to the stream where the Brilliant Emeralds were patrolling.

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Brilliant Emerald

Brilliant Emerald 1

 

17
Jul
14

A start on the heath

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It’s like being in a crowded room with everyone talking and amid the cacophony of noise you hear your own name. You pick it out as if it’s the only thing being said. It stands out from the background like a black silhouette on white,

I have been walking the heaths and searching this summer; searching diligently but to no avail, for a daytime roosting Nightjar. I’ve never seen one during daylight other than in flight. Great care has to be exercised not to wander from paths – the last thing in the world we want to do is disturb breeding nightjars or indeed other breeding birds.

I look at every likely log, post and branch I pass to see if that familiar shape leaps out at me. I thought I’d found one the other day as the form of a bird materialised on the end of a log. It took me an instant to recognise it was in fact a young fledgling Redstart. I stepped back to a reasonable distance to see if the parents came into feed as it was obviously quite young. In fact it started to hop about and find food itself. It appeared to be already independent.

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Redstart

Redstart 1

15
Jul
14

Out of context

The identification of a species starts with the habitat it’s in. By itself it is not conclusive… but it’s an indicator. You wouldn’t expect to see a Blue Tit out at sea or a Manx Shearwater sat in a tree. Occasionally, very occasionally tho’ it happens that you need to ignore that first part of the identification process.

It took me a second or two to put a name to this chap making his way through a woodland canopy. You would normally expect a Reed Warbler to be swinging his way through the stems of a Phragmites bed not picking insects from leaves at the top of a Sycamore. So why was he there? I guess the need to feed a family and the draw of an easy meal put him where the food was.

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Reed Warbler

13
Jul
14

Hawking in Norfolk

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One unique dragonfly of the Norfolk Broads is the Norfolk Hawker. We came across quite a few the other day on one of our tours. It took them an age to settle for photographs … but they did … eventually.

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Norfolk Hawker




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