Wednesday, April 25, 2018

?? Hill Cuckoo Bee??

doing the daily dog walk in Pishiobury Park I noticed a bee with a red tail crawling slowly through the grass. Lazy bee behaviour can indicate cuckoo bee and on closer inspection it had a shiny thorax and dark wings indicating a Hill Cuckoo Bee Bombus Rupestris, which parasitises the more common Red-Tailed Bee.

I clicked away with the phone camera and had a good look when I got back; on one photo it has a shiny first segment on the rear leg which I think indicates a pollen basket which is not compatible with it being a cuckoo bee. So I'll just leave some pictures here for comment.

nice shiny black and dark wings

shiny abdomen ... and a shiny pollen basket on the rear leg?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Local Spring update

Its been hard going on the patch. A few regular bits and pieces - GreyWagtail, Little Owl, Shoveler, Little Egret, and a trickle of summer visitors with 3 Lesser Whitethroat of particular note. But there has nevertheless been a new bird for the patch - a pair of Mandarin have been seen a couple of times. They have been on the horse field and the male looks slightly overdressed as it waddles round in its finery.

Elsewhere folks have been seeing Ring Ouzels so I went back today to Tharbies, our local patch of high ground, to see if I could find one. It is intensively farmed so lacked the variety of my patch round the Stort. There was no ouzel, but 2 Wheatear in a ploughed field were nice compensation, and 3 Lapwing, 2 Grey Partridge, a few Yellowhammer, Linnets, and Skylarks with single Swallow, male Kestrel, and a distant displaying Buzzard made it worthwhile. A Tawny Mining Bee on the path was my first for the year.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Back by Popular Demand!

After several months my regular reader has finally noticed the absence of new posts and confessed to actually enjoying some of my ramblings. Would I consider restarting the blog? Well, yes, I suppose I would. I guess there may be a small number of folks out there who might think that if only they were free of the 9-5 tedium of work they might actually be able to go and see some decent birds, or birders who trudge their patch in search of decent birds and imagine that other people’s patches are dripping with rarities and migrants, and for both those categories this blog has demonstrated that, in my case at least, that isn’t true. So, for you who wonder if the grass is greener somewhere else, this blog will return to show you that it isn’t.

The final posts prior to the break ended with a Long Dark Night of the Soul following what I will refer to now as “The White-Rumped Sandpiper Incident” and will henceforth never mention again. I guess it is just one of those things that happens as you get older; that slow march of missed opportunities and accumulated faults, such as when you realise that if you were actually going to be good at cricket, you would right now be playing for a good team not just watching it on telly, or that driving test where as soon as you crunch onto that curb whilst reversing round the corner you realise you will never be on of those people who can say " I passed first time. Can't understand why anyone would fail it!" Over time you accumulate a list of mistakes and missed opportunities, and no matter what you do you can’t undo them. In the end, you just have to reach an accommodation with your past, and understand that when you go out birding such things are going to happen and you just have accept that you are not a perfect birder and are just doing your best to make the most of the opportunities each day brings.

So, back to the blog. Winter has been and gone. There were some Hawfinches, some more Hawfinches, then really quite a lot of Hawfinches, and then a few more Hawfinches for no other reason than they were there and may not be there again. But spring is on its way at long last and I’ll look to post the hits and misses. I may even get my camera out. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Commonly Spotted Orchids

We are fortunate in the UK in that the commonest orchids are also amongst the most beautiful. I spent a morning photographing some on the lo...