Sunday, 16 February 2014

Gull Watching in Mount's Bay - Part 2!

  It was nice to wake up to a beautiful crisp morning with the sun shining and a clear blue sky. I guess that it was inevitable that we would end up down west again looking at the gulls in Mount's Bay! 

  With my 70-300mm lens currently at Nikon for repair, I decided to take my 10-24mm lens out today. We spent most of the day at Marazion beach where hundreds of gulls were feeding in the surf. I decided to leave John to the gulls and took some photographs of St Michael's Mount. The picture below was taken in the morning.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Gull watching in Mount's Bay, Penzance.

  We started our morning's gull watching at Marazion. The sea was crashing in on the beach and the wind and kite surfers were doing somersaults over the waves! The wind was very strong and the sand was blasting the side of the car making us very reluctant to get out!

  Along the shore we could see groups of gulls feeding on the surf. After a short while John found a first winter and an adult Glaucous Gull. Their white wings making them stand out from the crowd. We then noticed an adult Little Gull battling its way over the waves. 

  Next we headed to Penzance to see the Surf Scoter which had made friends with an Eider! Our final gull for the morning was the adult Kumlien's Gull that has been in the Mount's Bay area for about a week. We found it flying with other gulls, in a river outlet near the railway station. Luckily there is a footpath which allows you to look over the outlet, and from here we had really nice views of the Kumlien's as it flew around.

  All the pictures below are of the Kumlien's Gull.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Hooded Merganser at Newquay Boating Lake

  Today John and I thought we would have a look for the escaped Hooded Merganser that has made its home on Newquay Boating Lake.

  It did not take long to find the merganser and we when we first arrived it was very active, swimming around the separate lakes and diving frequently. It was even tempted on occasion to join in with the Mallards and Black-headed Gulls when there was free food on offer.

  Eventually it settled down for a preen and a sleep! This then offered the best opportunity for some photographs. I particularly like the reflections in the water, not only of the merganser but also of the trees.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Common Darters in flight

  I photographed these Common Darters at Croft Pascoe on the Lizard. They were flying over the small pools created in the tyre tracks of the heavy forestry machinery that had been working there earlier in the year.

  The Common Darters were flying "in tandem" over the pools and laying eggs.

  I always find photographing dragonflies in flight a challenge and these two photos are the best out of the hundred that I took!  

Monday, 26 August 2013

Dragonfly watching on Bodmin Moor

  Today we visited the pools at Cheesewring Quarry on Bodmin Moor in search of Common Hawker dragonflies. 

  We saw several Common and Southern Hawkers flying around the pools. They were accompanied by several other species, including Black and Common Darters, Large Red Damselfly and a single Beautiful Demoiselle.

  When the sun was out the hawkers flew constantly around the pool, the males fighting with each other with a clattering of wings. The males would also chase any female that dared to fly too close and we saw several pairs of both species sat in the nearby gorse bushes.

  I thought that I would try and photograph the dragonflies in flight. Never an easy subject the photographs below are the best that I managed to take. Whilst I was hoping to photograph the Common Hawkers the best two pictures I took were both of a male Southern Hawker! They were taken with my 105mm macro lens and they have both been cropped. 

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Alners Gorse, Dorset

  On Sunday John and I took a trip to Alner's Gorse reserve in Dorset in the hope of seeing both White-letter and Brown Hairstreaks. When we visited last year we only had binocular views of the White-letters so we were hoping for some closer views.

  We were not disappointed! Luckily for us these little butterflies decided they would frequent the lower flowers of the bramble bushes allowing us to see them very well without binoculars!

  We were also treated to some close views of Brown Hairstreaks feeding on the thistle flowers. 

  We had a very enjoyable day, seeing twenty species of butterfly on the reserve and the photographs below show a few of the species that we saw.

Brown Hairstreak - Male
White-letter Hairstreak
Small Copper
Silver-washed Fritillary - Valezina female
Clouded Yellow
Clouded Yellow taking off from a flower!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Butterflies in the rain!

  John had recently been told about a colony of Purple Hairstreaks in the Luxulyan valley, so we decided to have a look for them today. 

  We found the location and soon saw several Purple Hairstreaks flying around the ash and oak trees. The butterflies did not seem to mind the heavy rain showers and would just walk underneath the leaves to shelter!

  I have always found hairsteaks to be fidgety little creatures and always find it hard to get good photographs! The two pictures below are probably the best of those that I took, the first image being of a male. The second image shows the butterfly nectaring on the sap of the tree. 

I also photographed this bumblebee feeding on the Teasel flowers.

  Afterwards we paid a visit to Cabilla Woods. Unfortunately we did not see many butterflies as it was overcast and we got caught in several heavy showers....again! We did see a few Silver-washed Fritillaries together with Large White, Peacock, Meadow Brown and Brimstone.