Wednesday, 30 June 2010

A day in the Warwickshire countryside

Narrow bordered 5-spot Burnett

Cinnibar Moth

Marbled White

Bee Orchid

Pyramidal Orchid

Wednesday 39th June 2010
I met up with Steve Cawthray just south of Warwick for a day exploring South/central Warwickshire. The intention was to try and find Turtle Dove, as they appear to have become extinct as a breeding species in large areas of North Warwickshire. A circuitous route eventually brought our Quarry with two birds singing almost continuously. We explored a number of likely spots vainly listening out for Quail but the fields were very quiet. The strong sunshine may well have been a factor but apart from a few Yellowhammers and the odd Skylark there were few 'farmland' birds to be seen. Other wildlfe though was abundant with several Butterfly species on the wing and a few Ochids in flower.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Flaming June

Eastern Rock Grayling

Long tailed Blue

Latticed Brown

Well camouflaged Moth

Close up, probably Willow Beauty

Spot the insect ! This fascinating insect is a Mediterranean slant-faced Grasshopper, although this one has quite different markings to the ones in Turkey.

Sling tailed Agama

Monday 28th June 2010

Spent the last couple of days in the Tame valley looking at Damselflies and Fish mainly which seem unaffected by the heat. The Black headed Gulls continue to prosper, sadly at the expense of the former Common Tern colony. An elusive Mandarin duck is still commuting between the various pools on the Water Park and there have been sightings of Mediterranean gull but as yet both species remain unticked as far as I'm concerned. Counted 114 Mute Swans from the hide at Coton but be warned long trousers are essential as the vegetation and bugs threaten the unwary birder.
Had 2 interesting visitors to the front garden last evening. A pair of Red legged Partridge wandered about unconcerned by passing traffic. I tried to take a few Blog shots through the window in the gathering gloom. I wrestled with the controls of my Canon to get the perfect shot through the front window only to find there was no card in the camera. Now when was the last time that happened?

Apologies for dragging out more Cyprus stuff but it may more interesting to some than views of Swans on Coton pools or Blanket weed on Cliff pool.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

More images from Cyprus

Preying Mantis devouring Grasshopper

The Akamas

Little Owl

Long tailed Blue, Mandria

Migration is tough

Large Whip Snake, Akamas

Mallow Skipper, Mandria

Bath White, Mandria

Thursday 24th June 2010
Making some way in identifying the wildlife of Cyprus but progress has been slowed as the World Cup gets more interesting. Enjoyed Italy v Slovakia. Tried to get into a bit of birding at Brandon Marsh but not alot to get excited about although did see Hobby, and the usual warblers.
Saw 43 species in Cyprus. Possible late migrants included: Bee-eater x3, near Neo Chorio, Night Heron x7 coming in to roost at Asprokremnos pools, Green Sandpiper, Dhiorisos river. Other birds seen included: Black necked Grebe, Black headed Bunting, Cretzschmar's Bunting, Ortolan, Cyprus warbler, Olivaceous warbler, Spectacled warbler, Cattle Egret, Red rumped Swallow, Woodchat Shrike, Masked Shrike, Roller, Long legged Buzzard, Little Owl, Black Francolin and Cyprus Pied Wheatear. Rollers were particularly numerous with up to 10 birds at some sites and several family parties of Masked Shrikes and Chukar were seen in the Akamas. Warblers were harder to find on our various walks. The biggest challenge though was trying to photograph as many, often fast moving species of Butterflies, particularly those on open ground.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Cyprus - 2010

The Hermit - fairly common and widespread

Jersey Tiger - found on Ivy in Pine woodland

Lang's short tailed Blue

Fan tailed Warbler - common

Tuesday 22nd June 2010

After a non-birding holiday to Cyprus its difficult to get back into blogging mode with such wonderful weather here and so much that needs doing in the garden. I didnt include the world cup because so far it hasnt raised any enthusiasm. Mainly because its been hyped to death by the various media. However, despite it not being a birding trip Jan and I spent alot of time walking in the countryside particularly in the Akamas hills in North west Cyprus. Housing development continues to eat away at the natural beauty of the island but there are still large areas of largely unspoilt countryside to explore.
We found a few birds, butterflies, reptiles and even moths to enjoy and try to photograph. Problem is then trying to identify everything, so it may be some time before I can add all the interesting creatures we found, on the blog.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Grey Plover and Red Kite in Warks.

Grey Plover, Cliff pool, Kingsbury

Grey Plover

Red Kite, Merevale Estate nr. Atherstone

Red Kite

Grey Plover

Grey Plover

Monday 7th June 2010
Highlights of today's local birding were the Grey Plover, still on Cliff pool, a cup of Coffee at the Cedars Cafe and a Red Kite seen from the car over Merevale Hall near Atherstone. If you're wondering how I managed to get a photo - Skill/pure skill.
The walk from Cliff to Fishers Mill produced a Willow tit, Mirror Carp and many Silver ground Carpet moths. A large number of Swifts were feeding over Coton pool but Legion wood, Grendon, Shustoke and Bentley Wood were all very quiet.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Ticking Marmora's warbler

Thursday 3rd June 2010

News that a Marmora's warbler had been found in Wales caused the usual mild hysteria. Plans would have to changed, arrangements made, a cool head was needed. Like my wife, Jan said 'why dont you just go'? Far too simple. I started to complicate the issue. I rang Tony Shepherd who I'd dipped the Sizewell bird with years earlier. 'I'm in Great Yarmouth but I'm on my way, meet me' etc. Great, I was sorted. Decision made. Trouble was it would mean a delay of several hours before we could get going. I paced the garden, stooping occasionally to excavate a Dandelion from the lawn. The mobile rings- Mark Maddox, did I want a lift to Wales? Leaving now. I rang Tony to explain, 'you go I've been held up on the A14.' he said. Tony knows the score.
It was a fairly straightfoward run down to Blaenavon, we could see our destination, the masts on top of a mountain, as we approached. Getting up the mountain was more of a challenge. We decide to ascend using the South face route. A little known and little used trail but very picturesque. As the potholes got bigger and the trees became more aggressive we passed the cars of unfortunate birders whose clutches had burnt out or whose suspensions had collapsed. At a point where the track was no more we decided that we had mis interpreted pager directions and headed back to eventually find the right lane. The slight delay didnt matter, as we pulled up we were directed to look at a single Holly bush in front of us. By the time I'd got my scope sorted it was showing, at least part of it was showing. It wasn't too long though before the bird was in full view. You Beauty. After a couple of minutes the Marmora's warbler dropped down out of sight. Time to have a chat to a few friends and take in the stunning scenery. A beautiful part of the country I'd never been to before. Other birds about included Stonechat, Whinchat and Hobby.
We headed back for a well earned pint at the Church End Brewery but not before locating a Little Owl just outside Over Whitacre. Many thanks to Mark and Richard Dawkins for an excellent day.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Fishy business

Fish sp, River Tame, Coton

Garden warbler

Garden warbler

Garden warbler

Wednesday 2nd June 2010

My personal tally for Warks birds this year rocketed to 154 today with Spotted Flycatcher added to the list, just need to find Turtle Dove and then we can relax until late summer when return passage begins, we hope.
So its time to diversify. Leave the birds alone to get on with what they do and find other things to photograph. Trouble is you can only photograph Damselflies so many times. Of course if a Red backed Shrike pops up in the County I'll be there, camera and all. So whats a new challenge for the summer? Fish photography, could start a new trend here. Took some stunning shots today, even a flight shot which took some doing. Actually it wasnt really a 'flight' shot as such but the fishy equivalent. That is a fish rising to take an insect from the surface. The only trouble is I haven't a clue what the fish is. So if there are any fish anoraks out there I'd be interested to know.
Seems to be a good year for warblers in the Tame valley with Lesser Whitethroat and Garden warblers heard and seen at a number of locations today. Coton pool should be renamed Swan lake with over 100 birds counted from the hide.