Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Cley for Spooners and Demoiselle's

Spoonbill Cley Marshes NWT

Managed to get out with the family yesterday for a drive east along the coast road to Cley, to visit the NWT reserve and to see the flock of Spoonbills that has been feeding on the scrape there for a couple of weeks now. There were 15 birds present yesterday and they spent most of the time doing what Spoonbills do best, sleeping. However a light aircraft did spook some of the birds and this bird flew overhead, not the best of shots, but not to bad given I had a camera in one hand a and a three month old baby in the other.

Banded Demoiselle, Cley Marshes NWT

Standing on a small bridge over the clear channel that separates the reserve from the coast road we were able to do some Dragonfly watching. The beautiful azure blue Emperor Dragonfly never stayed still long enough for me to grab a shot, but this Banded Demoiselle did land briefly enabling me to take this 'record shot' of what to my mind is one of our most beautiful Odo's.

We even found time to have lunch in the new NWT Visitor Centre, great view but slow service and not the most generous of portions. The ride in the lift up from the car park to the Visitor Centre was good fun. Really rather disappointing that in this new eco friendly building there was no baby changing room.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Norfolk Butterfly Tick

White Admiral, Holkham Pines, Norfolk.

Sometimes it pays to pay attention when a friend tells of a conversation with a complete stranger. My friend Rob was telling me last week about a birder he bumped into, who asked whether the White Admiral's were showing at Holkham Pines this year. This was the first that Rob had heard about this rather splendid insects presence here and he did wonder whether the bloke had got his butterfly id right even though "He did seem to know what he was talking about".

Today with a sunny afternoon free, I popped along to the spot described to Rob and after a few minutes of watching large numbers of Whites flying around, I caught a glimpse of a White Admiral. Even a brief view was enough to tell me what I was looking at, the whole way it held its wings stiff and in a shallow upside down V was very distinctive compared to the floppy handkerchief flight of the Whites. I wasn't able to spend long at the site, but did manage to grab a few celebratory record shots including this one.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Return of the Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell, garden in Titchwell, Norfolk.

Already this year we have seen a miraculous butterfly event the invasion of the UK bu millions of Painted Lady butterflies. This weekend an almost equally miraculous event happened the return of the Small Tortoiseshell. This butterfly has declined by 80% in recent years the victim of a small parasitic fly [Sturmia bella] that has spread north in recent years on the back of our warming climate.

So it was good to see large numbers of freshly emerged Small Tortoiseshell's at all of the three sites I visited this weekend; a back garden on the coast road, a nature reserve and a country lane. The picture is of an individual feeding on Lavender in a back garden in Titchwell.