Posts Tagged ‘Wildlifetours

07
Jul
19

Dragons in the air and Dragons at our feet

In Dorset at the moment leading the ‘Birds and Wildlife of the Jurassic Coast’ Tour.

This Wall Lizard was caught unawares as it ran out from underneath our feet; posing beautifully for photographs. Other dragons have been flying around us as we walked over the heaths with great views of Keeled Skimmers among many others.

Lots of butterflies, and I mean lots; including Lulworth Skippers. Orchids are having a good year here with Musk Orchid being at the top of our list on the tour for sure. Moths yesterday were seen in droves with good views of both large and small Elephant Hawkmoths, Privet Hawkmoth, Hummingbird Hawkmoths with Scarlet and Jersey Tigers putting in an appearance. Even the sea got in on the act and gave us a pod of 30 Bottlenose Dolphins to celebrate our arrival.

Birds haven’t disappointed either with Dartford Warblers and an evening visit to a local heath giving great views of five Nightjar around us in the air together.

Next years tour is already open for bookings. Full itinerary is available at https://www.wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk/app/download/11123950/Itinerary+-+Birds++Wildlife+of+the+Jurassic+Coast+2020.pdf.

 

17
Jun
13

A quest accomplished

Across the hay meadows of Iona this week we could hear Corncrake. Seeing them however was a different matter.

We had decided last autumn when we were in Canada that a break in Scotland during late spring would be good. I have always wanted to photograph Corncrake and the Scottish Islands are their stronghold. We therefore decided to stay at the south end of Mull so we could take the ferry to the island of Iona if the weather was suitable to try for the Corncrakes. A quest was born.

The problem was the vegetation was far too long. Yes we’d had a cold spring but in the last week or so warm sunshine and showers had brought on the meadows. The vegetation was over head height for a Corncrake. Plenty of crakes calling but very difficult to see let alone photograph.

Iona is an island steeped in religion. It has become a place of pilgrimage for both the religious and the curious. Priest after priest making the walk from the ferry quay to the Abbey stopped and asked
“Have you seen them yet?”
“Yes” was the reply “…but not well enough to photograph”
“I’ve been coming here for 30 years and not seen one yet” said one.
Great. The temptation is always there to go in close and wade into the field. This is a protected species. A bird on the edge of extinction as a breeding bird in the UK and therefore deserving of its schedule 1 status. It must not in any way be disturbed and to be fair who wants to photograph the arse end of a Corncrake as it jettisons to the other side of the island anyway. ‘Just let the bird come to you of its own accord’ I kept telling myself. I patiently waited on the road, peering over a stone wall towards one calling individual which was presumably still unpaired. Head shot after head shot with the bird hidden among buttercups was the norm.

Eventually at the end of the second day trying the bird did indeed come to me and I got a half decent photograph … the quest was accomplished.

The usual view.
Hidden Corncrake

The view eventually.
Corncrake




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