Saturday, 2 July 2016

From birds to butterflies

AS the seasons roll on, and in spite of the poor weather, the natural cycle of rearing young and insect emergence is unstoppable.  At this time of the year butterflies and dragonfly spotting takes over from the birding side of nature watching as the birds fall quiet.  They're still there, but busy themselves with feeding their young and keeping a low profile in many cases.  But these alternative quarries are just as exciting and often as spectacular.  The rare white admiral butterfly provides a tropical feel to rides lined with honeysuckle and bramble, as it haughtily floats between canopy and under-story, whilst the prolific meadows team with brown butterflies, and darting damselflies and dragonflies.

Ringlets squabbling in midair
White Admiral

3 marsh harriers

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Late spring in Somerset

THE Levels were heaving with life yesterday; everywhere you looked there were birds searching for food for their young, flitting amongst the lush foliage heavy with blossom or amidst the emerging greenery of the reed beds. Warblers sang heartily from every perch and insects filled the air - we were even dive bombed by a great diving beetle a one point.

However photographing these birds was not so easy - here are the record shots mainly from the day.  The lovely photo of the cuckoo nearby got away as I had the wrong settings on my camera - ugh!

Thank you to the birder on SWT Westhay who alerted me to the male bearded tit before I managed to spot it.

Bearded tit (reedling)

Reed buntings calling from willow branches helped create a unique wetland soundscape.

We headed for a second reserve but pulled over as the area felt perfect for cuckoos and my intuition was rewarded almost immediately with this calling male.

A quick visit to RSPB Ham Wall, yielded this bittern amongst other delights, although I did not realise that there was a rare heron to be seen - oh well maybe Ill just have to go back!

Friday, 3 June 2016

Smooth newts from our garden pond

For Dad: 09/08/26-27/05/16 - who supported my love of natural history from when I was young to the present day.  Thanks Dad. RIP.