Saturday, March 30, 2019

Old Blue-eyes are back!

its a sunny day in early spring and that means - Adders. So off to Fingringhoe Wick.

I stomped around for a while not seen much apart from a fair selection of early-season butterflies, saw a man who sent me down a particular path, went down that path and had a look at a particularly promising south-facing leaf-litter strewn bank, saw nothing and stomped off. I rudely interrupted a couple on account of their large camera and asked if they'd seen any, whereupon they took me right back to that promising bank I'd just been looking at and pointed out two adders lying camouflaged in the leaves round the base of a bush!

We soon had a crowd of people looking at these splendid creatures. It was a complete range of people, all enthralled to see these creatures basking in the sun, even if well hidden. Several times there was a "no ... no .. can't see it, no ...yes! wow!!"

Another one was seen closer to the path, and I eventually got eye-ball to eyeball with it. Here's my "record shots"

And since when have Adder's eyes been blue? I guess a lid of some description being pulled down.

whilst concentrating on these, various bird noises were slowly percolating through my common bird filter. It took a while to realise I'd just heard a summer visitor, so a Sand Martin went through unseen,  and then a Blackcap started up. It's all happening.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Here comes summer - and bees -

Insects are beginning to appear, so an increasingly significant part of my wild-life interest is kicking into gear.

Posts will become a bit different from now over the summer I expect. Most wildlife blogs have pictures of wildlife that the author has confidently identified. I have no idea what I'm photographing in many cases, so I will be posting photos and then trying to identify them as time goes by.

Here's a few from Wall Wood, Hatfield Forest today.

This thing is tiny. Less than a centimetre. I think its a species of mini mining bee. Looks very dapper, and with reddish body and those legs should be easy. Suggestions gratefully received.

here it is on a primula/oxlip for size with more detail,.

on surer ground here. Dark-edged Bee Fly.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Counting waders

1,2,3,4,5. 6,7,8,9,10. 11,12,13,14,15. 16,17,18,19,20. 21,22,23,24,25. 26,27,28,29,30.35,40,45,50.55,60,65,70,80,90,100.110,120,130,150. 160,170,..200. 250,300,350,400,450,500.600,700,800,900,1000. 1100,1200,1300,1400,1500.1600,1700,1800,2000. 2500, 3000,3500,4000,4500.

and 200 on the spit, and 13 next door to them. So that's 4713 in total.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Farewell to the Impenetrable Forest

I wrote about the Impenetrable Forest here in 2016. It was a small field left to go wild. Over the years a few hawthorn bushes sprang up, then shot up, until it became a dense copse of ten-foot high trees and bushes. A brook runs along the lower northern edge with reeds, so there is some variation. It is good primarily for Warblers, with currently the patch stronghold of Garden Warbler and Willow Warbler, but also Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, and Chiffchaff seen regularly. In previous years Sedge Warbler and even Grasshopper Warbler have sang from here. In winter it is good for tits, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Song Thrush, Redwing, as well as other more regular birds. It is good too for bees and butterflies, with a couple off years ago large numbers of Vestal Cuckoo Bee. Quite an amazing gathering of wildlife, with high density and in spring quite a racket.

But no more. Today I passed the field and saw bushes stacked up, heavy tracks of trucks, and a digger. I went on and chatted to the farmer. He used to grow wheat and barley on it but couldn't get the harvester up the road anymore, so had neglected it. He is putting it back to grass to grow for hay, which he can easily harvest.

It was always an anachronism. Quite odd. It is unreasonable in the south east of England to expect land to be just left, and we should be grateful it is still being used for agriculture. At least now I may be able to see the birds I can hear.

Time to bid a fond farewell to the old birds, and extend a welcome to the new ones.

Hello Old Friend

What a year its been for notable birds. It started off with Canvasback at Abberton, then Northern Waterthrush at Maldon, then Surf Scoter at...