Archive for Jul, 2015

30
Jul
15

Cetacean tally

We saw seven species of cetacean in the Azores. It’s always difficult to be sure which animals we saw on more than one occasion but the following sums up numbers of sightings rather than individuals.

20 Sperm Whales over five days

Circa 100 Atlantic Spotted Dolphins over five days

Circa 10 Short beaked Common Dolphins on one day

7 Bottlenose Dolphins over two days

Circa 50 Risso’s Dolphins over three days

Circa 15 Short-finned Pilot Whales on one day

… but, perhaps best of all …

Circa 13 Northern Bottlenose Whales over three days.

Beaked Whales were the main reason why we went to the Azores so this was particularly pleasing.

We narrowly missed out on a pair of Sowerby’s Beaked Whales and we may have had a Bryde’s Whale but all disappeared before we could get to grips. Sure makes the total of 24 hours at sea in a rather bumpy zodiac worthwhile.

Common Dolphin

28
Jul
15

Sitting on the balcony

The end of a good time is always in itself a sad thing but as we sat on the balcony of our last port of call on Faial I couldn’t help feeling what a wonderful, beautiful place we had chosen to spend a little time. From our high point in the village the evening sun was glowing red and cast a peach luminescence on Pico in the distance. As we sat there lenticular round clouds stacked themselves over the dormant volcano in a captivating formation. Below us a quail constantly called for him to ‘wet my lips’; a special quail this ‘conturbans’ is a sub species only found on these islands. Above us the also endemic Azores Noctule bats flew around the hillside.

Almost everything here is slightly different from those with which we are familiar; the Blackbirds, Buzzards, Grey Wagtails, Blackcaps, Chaffinches and even the Wood Pigeons are all endemic sub species. Special birds in a special place.

2015 07 24 Pico Azores Portugal 001 Azores Noctule Quail

26
Jul
15

Ruddy thing

In the garden my first Ruddy Darter of the year. It hung around for about an hour and then moved on.

Ruddy Darter 1

24
Jul
15

One tired parent

This Reed Warbler was exhausted. I felt for him. In between collecting insects for his four fledglings scattered around several bushes in the reed bed he was trying to collect enough food for himself, sing a bit of a song to attract his mate and provide a few enticing insects for her so they could raise a second brood; and you think you’re busy!

Reed Warbler

22
Jul
15

Isoscelese

The iconic Norfolk Insect when on tour the other week. Several of them around the car park and over the reed bed. Just love these wonderful Norfolk Hawkers.

Norfolk Hawker

20
Jul
15

Glass Window

As colourful as a stained glass window; this remnant of an introduction just looks like a butterfly should look. It’s such a shame these Marsh Fritillaries never did make a proper viable population.

Marsh Fritillary

18
Jul
15

A balance of luck

Some you win some you loose.

The passage of Northern Bottlenose Whales through the Azores is a slim window of opportunity; you have perhaps a week, maybe a little more before they move to deeper oceans. They arrive and then they are gone. Analysing past sightings we targeted this week as a likely arrival date.

So after our first day out whale watching were the two flights, the choppy ferry, the lost fleece and an Air Portugal cock up with our (still) lost luggage all worth the bumpy four hour trip out on the zodiac? you bet your bottom dollar it was!

Skimming the waves past a Loggerhead Turtle, Great and Cory’s Shearwaters, Bottlenose Dolphins, Atlantic Spotted Dolphins and Short finned Pilot Whales we happened upon five of the Northern BN Whales. … Oh! and did I mention the crippling views of the biggest bull Sperm Whale you can imagine? Roll on the rest of the week.

2015 07 18 Northern Bottlenose Whale Azores Portugal_Z5A0732 (2)

excuse the photo … it’s a JPEG and unedited.

16
Jul
15

In disguise

You would think it’s a hornet wouldn’t you? Well no it’s not. It’s a moth. A completely harmless Hornet Clearwing. Rarely seen after emergence from their hole in the base of Black Poplars spending the rest of their adult lives in treetops. Amazing nature.

Hornet Clearwing

14
Jul
15

BBBH

Broad bordered Bee Hawkmoth getting its face in there!

Broad bordered Bee Hawkmoth

 

12
Jul
15

Simply Empirical

We did the ‘Purple Emperor Tour’ the other day. The weather as we left Norfolk didn’t look promising and the forecast didn’t look much better. However, persistence sometimes pays off and in the sunnier spells between rain showers we managed to catch up with around 9 of these magnificent butterflies.

Purple Emperor 1 Purple Emperor 2 Purple Emperor 3 Purple Emperor 4 Purple Emperor 5




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