Archive for Jun, 2014

29
Jun
14

A spot of dirty twitching

I broke. I couldn’t resist. The feeding of a compulsion I suppose … but it was only just the other side of London… honest. It takes a lot to get me twitching outside Norfolk these days but the lure of a Short toed Eagle in East Sussex was just too much; an irresistible avian lure.

To me fair I was blown away by the beauty of the area around Ashdown forest. The Eagle was just the icing on the cake; and how sweet that icing was. As it flew over the heath amid the rolling hills that spawned the famous A A Milne bear I watched as it hovered and wheeled above an assembled crowd. It never came overly close but its size was apparent and obvious. It was on show for the best part of an hour. Could you ever tire of watching such a majestic creature? … I couldn’t.

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Short toed Eagle

27
Jun
14

Hold on …

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This young stoat was being held back by his mother as we walked passed them yesterday evening. These small endearing mustelids are persecuted, even on our reserves, so she was reluctant to let him out from their hiding place until we had gone by.

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Stoats_Z5A2813

25
Jun
14

Here be Dragons

There’s something about Red Kites I just love. I remember the very first time I saw one. They weren’t as prolific as they are now. Taking a holiday into Wales to see one was the only real chance I would have. It took my breath away. High above Tregaron bog, it was carrying a snake. I could make out the outline of a forked tail and the still live whipping tail of the reptile; the whole thing reminiscent of a flying dragon.

We watched around a hundred and fifty to two hundred Kites on our recent tour to Wales (details here). No dragons but some wonderful photographic opportunities.

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Red Kite

23
Jun
14

I spotted a Flycatcher

When we went to North Yorkshire recently there were very few Redstarts and loads, and I mean loads of Pied Flycatchers. In Wales earlier this month we saw very few Pied Fly’s but loads of Redstarts. Odd. Maybe a snapshot doesn’t paint the whole picture. One bird we did see in the Oak Vallies in Wales was the Spotted Flycatcher. Family parties were almost everywhere. So nice to see what is now becoming a scare bird in East Anglian doing so well in the west.

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Spotted Flycatche

21
Jun
14

A tale of a grey day

Grey Wagtails are almost absent in Norfolk; not common at all. To find one you stand the best chance on a fast flowing river or a mill race… or a sewage farm. This male was nesting under a bridge in North Norfolk. Completely oblivious to the hullabaloo and commotion going on above.

Grey Wagtail

19
Jun
14

The perils of wearing shorts!

So you think I’ve got knobbly knees? You should see the ones on the Thick-kneed Flower Beetle we saw the other day. With a Latin name of ‘noblis‘ what else would you expect.

Thick-kneed Flower Beetle

17
Jun
14

Is Falcon Cottage Haunted?

The weather forecast said little chance of rain over the weekend so I set the moth trap. Amid the dew of the following morning I sorted through the contents and found a rather endearing chap. A male Ghost Moth. Not uncommon but something I haven’t come across here at Falcon Cottage before.

Ghost Moth

15
Jun
14

Streaking in front

Several of my guests have sent in photos of pipits lately asking me to confirm the identity. Invariably they have been Meadow Pipits. Tree Pipit appears to be a confusion species. A check of ‘Collins’ bird guide will give a summary of the main difference in features but the following photograph I took of a Tree Pipit on a birding tour recently gives a good illustration of the main difference. Take a look at the streaking on the breast compared with the flank. The streaking on the breast is ‘drawn’ with a B6 pencil whereas the flank streaking is more like what a H6 pencil would produce. The streaking on Meadow Pipit is of a uniform thickness throughout.

Tree Pipit

13
Jun
14

A Chasing Chaser

Downy Emerald Dragonflies are not common in Norfolk so when they hatch and the opportunity of a nice sunny day comes along I thought I’d pop along and take a look at a private site I had been told about. Apparently a few days earlier they had been resting on brambles and Iris close enough to photograph. The first time I went they were there sure enough, but never close. I went along the following morning when the sun was lighting up the brambles to see if that made a difference.

 

A few Four Spot Chasers were now on the wing and one had taken up territory around the brambles. He was doing exactly what he was supposed to do and ‘chasing’ anything out of his patch. One or two ‘Downies’ were trying desperately to perch but were thwarted by the antics of the chaser. I never did get a shot of one sitting up nicely … I had to make do with a flight shot.

Downy Emerald

 

11
Jun
14

Heart Leap

A few days ago we came back from the very successful tour to Wales. The 2015 tour is now open for bookings. Wood Warblers, Redstarts, Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Chough, Peregrine and of course Red Kites were all part of the cast but it was perhaps the Bottlenose Dolphins that were the biggest stars. As we stood looking out to sea a pod performed offshore leaping and somersaulting their way into everyone’s hearts.

 

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Bottlenose Dolphin2 Bottlenosed Dolphin Bottlenose Dolphin3




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