Sunday, 26 May 2013

Grizzled Skippers at Penhale Sands

  We visited Penhale Sands this morning to look for Grizzled Skippers. As the sun warmed the ground they started to become more active and some were feeding on Ground Ivy flowers. Closer inspection of each individual revealed that with the Grizzled Skippers there were also some of the rare abberation form "taras". This differs to the normal Grizzled by having more elongated white markings on the upper fore wings.

  We saw at least four individuals of the "tarus" form and even within this abberation the markings seemed to vary slightly. 

  The first photograph is of a standard Grizzled Skipper and the photographs that follow are of the "tarus" form showing the different markings.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Haldon Hill Butterfly Walk and a return to Yarner Woods

  Today John and I took another trip into Devon, this time visiting the Butterfly walk at Haldon Hill.

  Several butterfly species were seen, including Orange Tip, Brimstone and Green-veined White. The Pearl-bordered Fritillaries were also on the wing and were looking very fresh. as was the single Dingy Skipper that we found.

  We also saw our first damselfly for the year, a male Large Red.

  Of birdie interest, the Tree Pipits were singing and displaying, and the lovely melodic song of the Mistle Thrush rang out across the forest. They were many Siskins flying over and we also saw two Yellowhammers.

Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Dingy Skipper
Dingy Skipper
  We decided to pay another visit to Yarner Woods on the way home. Since our last visit a fortnight ago the trees were almost in full leaf. We spent a couple of hours in the tranquility of the woods watching and listening to the Pied Flycatchers and Wood Warblers. A lovely way to spend an afternoon.

Sunlight through Mountain Ash leaves.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Helston Boating Lake in the Rain

  John received a text message from Steve Rogers this morning to tell him that he had found a male Garganey on Helston Boating Lake. Five minutes later we were in the car and on our way! That's twitching for you!

  We found the Garganey out in the middle of the water and keeping its distance from the path that surrounds the lake. It was quite nervous and would seek shelter around the island occasionally coming out to accompany the Mallards as they swam around the lake looking for anyone with food! Unfortunately, whilst the Mallards would come very close the Garganey would stay further out.

  We watched the Garganey for a good hour, before it decided it was brave enough to make its way to the side of the lake where some Mallards were preening. To our amazement it then got out of the water, stood on the bank and started to preen!

  The photographs I have shown below of the Garganey are heavily cropped but they are records shots of a duck that is usually quite hard to see, let alone photograph.

Garganey in the rain!
  We also went to see the Whooper Swan who now seems quite at home with the Mute Swans. It is more confident now and was putting some of the Mute Swans in their place with the odd peck!

 On the way back to the car I took the photograph below of a Coot, which I have converted to black and white.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Yarner Woods

 As it was my birthday today I was treated to a trip to Yarner Woods to see the spring migrants. The weather was beautiful and when we arrived the wood was full of bird song.

 One of my favourite songs is that of the Wood Warbler and it was not long before we had good views of a male singing and displaying from tree to tree. It was not until I looked at my photographs that I noticed that this bird had coloured rings on each leg!

 Further up the path we came across our first Pied Flycatchers. They were busy singing for a mate although we only saw two females during our walk through the wood.

 Next to the car park is a small pond which is home to some Mandarin ducks. I only saw one male but he was quite shy and did not stay out in the open for long.

 The warm weather brought out a few species of butterfly. We saw lots of Brimstones, together with a Speckled Wood, Orange Tip and Holly Blue. 

 A female Redstart made a brief appearance but perhaps the highlight of the day was the sighting of a female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. She was high up the trees and was calling to her mate. 

 John has made a short video of our day at Yarner Wood showing some of the species that we saw.