Thursday, 28 May 2015

For a bit of a change I had a day away from my patch, as I had the chance to visit both Stodmarsh Nature Reserve and Westbere.

I went with a new found friend, John, from oop north, whom I had shown round my patch yesterday, thanks for day out John! We set off to Stodamarsh first off, arriving at 06:30hrs, when it was quite cool and cloudy at first, but it brightened up a bit by 09:00hrs. The highlight here was seeing an OSPREY fly over, as well as watching 2 -3 MARSH HARRIERS about the reed beds, plus a KESTREL was also seen hunting, to make the raptor threesome.

The main course for the day though was to go and find some Dragons and Damsels at Westbere, where we arrived at 11:00hrs in some warmer but mostly cloudy weather, with just a few brief sunny spells. Our target species was the Scarce Chaser, and although one immature was seen by John, I failed to see it  :-(

We did see plenty of other Odonata though, in fact it was Odonata heaven!  here's some of the images that I got today.

 Almost Straight away we were treated to a Hairy Dragonfly eating its lunch, on the menu today was Banded demoiselle!

After it had munched through the head and Thorax, it dropped the wings, and pushed the abdomen into its mouth like log going through a timber mill!

In goes the Abdomen

It took less that a minute for the Hairy Dragon to scoff the Demoiselle

Gratuitous close up  :-)

One more  :-)

I was eager to get some Blue Tailed Damselfly images, a species that isn't common on my patch

I got more than I hoped for when I not only found these males, but also 2 of the 5 variant forms of females...........

............ these two images are of the form Rufescens.

..........this is the form Violacea

Right at the end of the visit we found a couple of Black tailed Skimmers, which we wrongly thought may have been Scarce Chasers, we also saw a freshly emerged Emperor Dragonfly, which I narrowly missed getting a photo of  :-)
EDIT:  Ive been reliably informed that the above is in fact a Scarce Chaser after all! A lifer for me  :-) Thanks Mr Heath  :-)

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

In probably the best weather so far this month, I made an early trip out around Migrant Alley this morning, taking in the Greenhouse Copse and Greenhouse Grounds as I went, the latter gave me a chance to photograph the LITTLE OWL ( albeit distantly) that hunts from one of the Greenhouses on occasions, both the KESTREL pair were also hunting over the grounds.

Out on the sheep pasture there were 25 geese, 11 of those CANADA GEESE, the rest being of course GREYLAGS, while on the adjacent paddocks there was a flock of mixed finches, about 50 strong, these were made up of LINNETS and GOLDFINCHES. A SKYLARK dropped in briefly, but the only flyover whilst I was there was from a few HERRING GULLS.

A trip over to the woods to look for Dragons was had around 09:30hrs, where I found a Four Spotted Chaser, a couple of Beautiful Demoiselles, and a few White-legged, Common Blue and Azure Damselflies, I of course had to photograph the Demoiselles, i'll save them for another post. I checked the lakes in the hope of something nice turning up, it had, but it was the male TUFTED DUCK , nice to have here, but not a tick for the month!

With the weather warming up nicely I decided to visit the run off ditch that runs along the boundary of one of the sheep fields at Migrant Alley, primarily to try and find a male Broad Bodied Chaser, as i've seen them here before, but that was two years ago, luckily the gods were on my side and I found a single male which gave me some photo's, I took lots so i'll have more to post on later blogs  :-)

My first male Broad Bodied Chaser since 2013.

After taking my photo's I headed off home for a much needed drink, but on the way along Ashes Lane I was stopped by a car, the window wound down and in a broad northern accent the driver asked if I was the 'Pittswood Birder'  'I am indeed' I replied. Turns out he was down this neck of the woods from Northumberland,  'house sitting' and after having read my blog wanted to know where he could get some Dragonfly images, so I was back out once again showing him, we found a few species, and he got his fill of photo's, while I found the first fledgling BLUE TITS of the year  :-)  Nice to meet you John  :-)