Archive for the 'Dragonflies' Category

30
Dec
18

2018 – the best bits

2018 for me set off being a somewhat muted year but rapidly escalated into something as special as it gets. Finding someone special to share my life was a revelation that I didn’t expect. The downside of that is a whole planet separates us. 2019 will be spent putting that right.

One discovery for me in 2018 has been the state of Victoria in Australia. The pull of this part of such a remote continent has been extreme. It’s undulating landscape, amiable weather, compelling wildlife and of course one special inhabitant have made this the most special place I’ve ever been. Australia is just the best. My two months here within 2018 have been the most outstanding part of my personal year. Within that two months Tania has taken me to some fabulous places. Mountains, remote bushland, deep dark eucalypt forests, small islands and open wide beaches. However, one place stands out in my mind as it holds birds that have been a part of my life for so long in the UK. Rare birds. Birds that blew to the UK as waifs and strays. Birds such as Red necked Stints and Sharp tailed Sandpipers. In Victoria, Werribee has a water treatment plant holding these birds in mind boggling numbers. Numbers I could only have dreamed about. Who would have thought a sewage plant would have topped my years best bits… but it has. It even topped the Beluga in the Thames!

But what of my professional year. There have been some great times. Scilly once again was terrific, so was Wales, the Farnes were at their best and the Scottish tours were formidable. Picking the best? … well that’s easy. The 2018 Mammal Tour of the UK. Without doubt the best tour I’ve ever done. Some fabulous wildlife; Minke Whales and Dolphins of three species you could have touched. Red Squirrels, Pine Martens and Badgers at arms length. However, to single out one moment of the tour I would have to go to a small beach at the fishing port of Wick on the Scottish East coast. Reading books from being a child through to adulthood enables everyone to conjure up dreams. Bucket lists. Events to experience. Things to see, places to go. I crossed off number one on my own bucket list on that small beach last May. My guests and I experienced the sight of a Walrus in British waters. OK it’s not the cuddliest looking animal you’ll ever come across. But hell … what an animal!

Roll on 2019. Happy New Year.

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21
Sep
18

Spreadwings

A message from friend Simon had me searching the trees around the local retting pond the other week. He’d seen an emerged Willow Emerald Damselfly. Equipped with camera I picked a likely spot and waited. It wasn’t long before one made a stunted reed stem its perch. Odd to think this beautiful species has colonised the south east of the UK in only the last 10 years.

19
Jul
18

Dragons and Butterflies

It’s always difficult to be sure that the weather will be suitable for insects when I book a tour so far in advance. However pick the right time, the right place and even a little sunshine will bring benefits. This years day tour for Norfolk Hawkers and Swallowtails went well with good views of both species being obtained.

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

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

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.
19
Jul
17

Jurassic Coast

Earlier this month I took a hike to the south coast with some guests for a tour in Dorset. A series of nature walks gave us some great Nightjar views, a Fox with cubs, some rare orchids, a family of Polecats put on a fatal performance; we had some wonderful seabirds and mammals and that elusive reptile the Sand Lizard gave us a few sightings. A few photos follow. Sadly I shan’t be running this tour next year but it will make an appearance in the future I’m sure.

Dartford Warbler

Garden Warbler

Marbled White

Musk Orchid

Pyramidal Orchid

Rosel’s Bush Cricket

Wall Lizard

Great Green Bush Cricket

Stonechat

Black Darter

Bog Ashphodel

Common Tern

Keeled Skimmer

Rose Chafer

Sundew

Wolf Spider

Brown Long eared Bat

Harlequin Ladybird

Ruddy Darter

Small Red Damselfly




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