Thursday, 27 August 2015

John's family are sorry to inform you that John died unexpectedly last week.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Nice eye contact ...

With this flyover Grey Heron.

With birds in flight, before publishing, I always look at the focus on the claws, beak and eye. In this case I'm pretty happy with the image.

Herons are great subjects for in flight photography because of their slow, ponderous wing beats and relatively slow speed through the air.

It was nice to get the wing beat on the up exposing the flanks of the bird.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

No boarder controls for this immigrant.

And what a stunning migrant from Africa and Europe this visitor is.

The Painted Lady visits our shores annually in variable numbers from April onwards and is a very colourful and welcome addition to our native species.

On migration these Butterflies have been Radar tracked at altitudes of 3000 feet with ground speeds of 30 mph.

It will have two or three broods between June and October before return migration in October.

As always Teasels, a very popular food source for many species, make a very photogenic backdrop to the image.  

Monday, 17 August 2015

When I grow up ......

...... I'll be a fully fledged Blue Tit.

This little chap made me smile with his little patch of blue on his head. Sometimes its the most common of birds that present the highlight of an otherwise quiet birding session.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Harvest time is upon us as is this years crop of Sparrowhawks

I spent a very pleasant hour watching three fledgling Sparrowhawks and the parent birds on the Aldwincle side of the reserve late afternoon yesterday. 

Contact calling frequently from a small coppice between the village church and the reserve boundary they could be seen taking to the air to greet their returning parents and I was able to witness a number of food passes.
From time to time the fledgelings would disperse to nearby perching trees but never for too long before resuming their presence at the main roost.

A most enjoyable experience.


Saturday, 15 August 2015

A privilege to photograph.

As the crow flies Titchmarsh LNR is not too far away from Duxford and we are quite often graced with sightings of WW II veteran aircraft.

In this case a Spitfire TR Mk IX ML407 ( Civil registration G-LFIX ) known as the '' Grace '' Spitfire due to its ownership.

A two seat trainer she completed a few loop-the-loops and barrel rolls over the reserve before heading off, what an evocative tone that Merlin engine has. 

                                                                  Top of the loop

Painted in the camouflage of the Royal New Zealand Air Force with whom she spent some time during the war she was also used by the Polish and French Free Air Forces amongst others during an illustrious career.

I  understand that globally there are fifty five airworthy Spitfires, many static examples and encouragingly many more actively being renovated or in storage awaiting renovation.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

An identification challenge from a recent visit to Fowlmere.

Had us scratching our heads and consulting the guide books.

It had most of the characteristics of a Ruddy Shelduck but it wasn't, grey head ? ...... Hmmmm.

               This is a pair of Ruddy Shelducks that I photograped at Slipton last year

The staff at the visitor center held the answer ..... its a South African ( Cape ) Ruddy Shelduck and an escapee from a wildfowl collection.

Still, an interesting experience !.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

..... followed by a Dragonfly day .....

........ OK, here goes, talk about putting a questionable, bordering on non-existent reputation for Dragonfly identification on the line.

But you have to learn when venturing into unknown waters.

All comments, corrections and wisdom greatly appreciated.

NB ..... it comes as no surprise that my technical advisors could be head to audibly sigh, throw their hands up in disgust  and put me right ..... the cavalry came to the rescue !

Thanks to John Murray and Graham Barker.

                                    Male Southern Hawker ? - NB actually a female.
           Ruddy Darter .... or maybe Common ? - NB actually a male Ruddy Darter,
                                               - well I got it half right.

                                        No idea - NB its a Female Common Darter.

                          As photographs however I am quite pleased with the images.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

A Butterfly day at Wood Walton Fen last Sunday ..........

....... started with a Brimstone, one of the earliest Butterflies to be on the wing in springtime                                           and still going strong mid-August ..... 

                                 .......... quickly followed by a Gatekeeper ...........

                                        .......... and a  Meadow Brown.

A video of our day out was filmed by Graham Barker ..... link below.

Monday, 10 August 2015

A challenge to the Botanists amongst you !

On Sunday I was at Wood Walton Fen near Cambridge and came across the following.

I thought that it was a seed pod of sorts but I didn’t want to to remove it for analysis, it was one of several in a bunch, each about four-five  inches in length  approx. three feet above ground level in amongst mixed thistles and grasses and rough vegetation by the side of a ditch.

At first sight they looked a bit like young cucumbers.

Any ideas !

My thanks again to the ever helpful Dr Peter Llewellyn, who responded with a minimum of delay.

'' Hello John, try Yellow Flag (Iris pseudacorus) fruit under Google images and see if that is like the thing you saw.

Regards, Peter L. ''

Spot on Peter, many thanks once again.

Did any one get it right ?.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Still around ....

....... but not perhaps for much longer.

It never fails to amaze me when I think that the life cycle of these little chaps requires them to migrate such long distances.

I look forward to their arrival every year and always miss them as soon as they depart, they add such energy and activity to the reed beds.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Fresh as a daisy !

One of this years crop, this Willow Warbler was a real little poser, preening out in the open and enjoying some very warm weather.

Its nice to see birds having '' a wash and brush up '' but in my experience the resultant images do not really capture the activity well.

Or maybe its just me !.