Archive for the 'Butterflies' Category

28
Feb
18

Australian Round-up

If you fancy taking a break from the winter weather we’re experiencing here in the UK you can pay a visit to the ‘latest’ section of the Wildcatch Photography site. A number of photos from my recent Australian trip have been posted. They are sure to warm you through as you sip your hot chocolate. I hope you enjoy them. http://wildcatchphotography.zenfolio.com/p34814967

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24
Feb
18

Breckland Round-up

Although I only advertised one trip to Breckland this month, I ended up doing several due to demand.

I thought I’d give a bit of a round-up for all my customers.

Some of the classics gave excellent views; Goshawk were not difficult at all again this year and Woodlark could often be heard singing before we left the car! Lesser spotted Woodpecker were more difficult – unusually when we saw them they were silent and when we could hear them they were so far in dense woodland we couldn’t see them. Firecrests were there but not yet as active as they can be. Hawfinch didn’t show on all occassions and were in relatively small numbers compared with last year. I wonder why that is when numbers are seemingly everywhere else in the county after a continental influx. Crossbills are in short supply but again we did see them although they are a very nomadic species. A bonus this year is of course was the Parrot Crossbill flock that has been floating around Santon Downham. Starling murmurations were at their peak last week – I couldn’t be sure but I reckon on Sunday last we watched close to 500,000 birds coming in to roost right at the side of us. The sight, sound … and smell of them will live long in the memory. All good value birds with a few Otters, Hares, Roe Deer and Reeve’s Muntjac all putting in an appearance. Rabbit numbers seem to have decreased everywhere of late. RHD2, the new viral strain from the continent, has obviously taken a hold. I do hope this does not have an effect on the Stone Curlew population which thrive on the rabbit grazed short swards of our heaths.

Anyways, all that aside, I thought I’d show another photo of the Parrot Crossbills … just because I like them so much!

Next years tour to Breckland is already on the website – Book Early! https://www.wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk/tours/special-day-tours

05
Nov
17

Bugs Life

“Three-quarters of flying insects in nature reserves across Germany have vanished in 25 years, with serious implications for all life on Earth, scientists say – the Guardian 18th October 2017.

Well … no shit Sherlock! As if we needed telling. As if you can spray chemicals at every bug on the planet and expect numbers not to decrease. Or am I in that ‘I told you so’ scenario already?

No doubt even if everyone who understood how the building blocks of life interlock screamed and shouted this from ever rooftop in the kingdom it would still go unheard. Unheard by the zombied masses and unheard by the bickering politicians. Unheard and not understood. Somebody help me understand why we have no foresight as a species to see what’s happening here. HELP!

Convolvulous Hawk Moth photographed in Norfolk

21
Sep
17

Looking for Whales and finding butterflies

It’s not every day you get a message stating there’s a whale 14 miles inland. From photos sent to me it was obviously a Minke Whale – maybe quite a young individual and obviously quite dead; although earlier in the day it had been seen alive. Oh what the hell, I needed a few photos of buildings in King’s Lynn to complement the chapter on whaling in the book I’m writing, so a trip to the other side of the county was on the cards anyway. So I might as well go and have a look at this whale in the Great River Ouse at the same time. Perhaps take a few measurements and maybe try and sex it for the records. To be honest I’ve enough on at the moment but it was an opportunity to have a break.

When I got to Downham Market there was no sign of the damn whale. I confirmed with a local chap exactly where it had been the previous evening. Tell me again … exactly how do you lose a whale?

Overnight there had been a hell of a south westerly blowing, it even woke me up it was that loud. Combined with a high tide the wind had obviously dislodged the animal and it was floating free somewhere. The question was, upstream or downstream? The tide was running in and all floating objects were going upstream. However the strong wind had been pushing downstream overnight as had the tide. I decided to check both. I climbed in the car and ventured forth on rolling fen roads for mile after mile. The thing is, fen roads are built on a peat subsoil that absorbs and loses water through the season; so the ground ends up swelling and shrinking. It rises and falls like a bride’s nightgown. You end up travelling on tarmac something akin to the world’s longest fair ride. Anyways, I checked the length of the river from bridge after bridge between Denver sluice and Kings Lynn – nada, nothing, nil! All I found were a swift, which clipped my ear as it flew southwards against the still strong wind, and a Common Seal which was almost as lost as the whale. It stared at me with one of those sorrowful big eyed looks and I’m sure it shrugged its shoulders and raised its eyebrows at one point.

For my troubles I got a good chastising from an Anglian Water worker for parking in a gateway but even that was preferable to the bull which headed at a not inconsiderable pace in my direction causing me to beat a hasty retreat. Next time I see a sign saying ‘Bull with Cows in Field’ I might take more notice.

However, as I was packing up and heading for my photographic foray in Kings Lynn I spotted something small in the grass. It wasn’t a whale. It was a blue butterfly. A Common Blue. Not that unusual sure, but a very contrasty Common Blue. A late one too.

Forever looking for whales and finding butterflies.

 

15
Aug
17

Charming Choughs and Delightful Dolphins

As one of my guests put it this weekend: “Charming Choughs and Delightful Dolphins”. She was referring to the Wild Weekend in Wales tour we were on. We got to see both Choughs and Bottlenose Dolphins. Among everything else we saw for me it has to be the Red Kites that topped the list. They are so enigmatic and powerful. To see 250+ of these birds wheeling in a kettle above us is just one of the UK’s wildlife spectacles. Next year’s tour is up on the website and open for bookings.

09
Aug
17

Foodsource

On the Butterfly Tour last week we encountered a tree full of Purple Hairsteaks. Now anyone familiar with these butterflies will know that watching them usually requires a considerable amount of ‘neck craning’. More frequently that not they are in the very tops of trees. Not so this tree-full. They were more than obliging; coming down to bask in the sheltered sunshine on an Ash tree.

Now, I’m reliably told Purple Hairstreaks don’t as a matter of course visit Ash. They are more associated with Oak and indeed there were Oaks nearby. However apparently they will visit Ash to take the sugary honeydew secreted by Aphids. Aphids being particularly fond of Ash. Well I searched that tree carefully and I couldn’t find a single aphid. Although I did see the hairstreaks sipping the sap from the tree at leaf buds.

We encountered 23 species of butterfly during the day; perhaps a little below what we could have expected had the cloud not set in during the afternoon. Next years day is up for grabs if you wish to come along make a booking https://www.wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk/tours/special-day-tours/

07
Aug
17

Kelling Heath and the Chalk Reef

If you have visited North Norfolk to bird watch or you live locally you need to be aware of something. DONG Energy (a Danish Company) have given planning notice of an offshore windfarm development called the Hornsea Project Three.
 
In a nutshell the offshore 342 wind turbines, 19 or so offshore platforms,12 transformer substations and up to 3 accommodation platforms will be located 121km northeast of the Norfolk coast and 160km east of the Yorkshire coast. They will be connected to the shore by up to six undersea cables running in a south-westerly direction from the windfarm to the proposed landfall at Weybourne in North Norfolk via a possible booster station based out at sea. From here it is proposed the cables will be buried in up to 6 trenches, running in a south/south-westerly direction for approximately 55 km and will connect to the national grid between Swardeston and Stoke Holy Cross in South Norfolk. the development area will be up to 200m wide along it’s length.
 
The construction of booster stations along the route may also be required.
There will be construction of temporary haul roads and temporary access tracks, both alongside and separate from the cable route used for the purpose of enabling the underground works
Notice has been given of the required temporary stopping up, alteration or diversion of any street and the permanent and/or temporary compulsory acquisition of land.
A couple of maps are available here Hornsea Project Three_Onshore_Statutory_Consultation_Plan_July 2017 Hornsea Project Three_Project Overview_Phase 2_Statutory_Consultation_Pl.._ showing the seabed route which importantly bisects the offshore chalk reef and also the proposed alternative route across Kelling Heath.
 
Birds such as Dartford Warbler and Woodlark will probably be effected. Adders and butterflies such as Silver studded blue may also be effected. It’s up to you, me and the rest of us to object if we find these plans unacceptable. You have until 20th September to make representation to DONG Energy, by email to HornseaProjectThree@dongenergy.co.uk or by post to Hornsea Project Three offshore wind farm, DONG Energy, 5 Howick Place, London, SW1P 1WG.
I have been sent details in my capacity as an interested party using the county for wildlife tours for my comments.
 
My thoughts: The government has stated that by 2040 there will be a major move away from petrol and diesel vehicles to electric cars and are investing heavily in battery technology to make this happen. This is good. We have to move away from the use of fossil fuels to countermand global warming effects. Power supplies must be developed to enable this change. We have several choices; wind and wave electricity production are two of those choices. So love them or hate them windfarms are part of the resolution. However North Norfolk does not feel like the place development of this kind should take place. I feel we could use the area around Paston to land the cables thereby keeping the heavy industry within Norfolk contained in one place and make the transport of energy to the grid without cutting across an internationally important chalk reef and a nationally important heathland area.



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