Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Somerset Levels visit

THE Somerset Levels - so good that even Springwatch goes there.  And YES we did see the first nesting site of the first great white egret in the UK - thanks to the Natural England and the RSPB - and YES I have joined now!

Actually we saw the GWE and where the nest was (apparently), but nothing of the nest itself.  We had a nice chat to the armed guards too.

However we did get a good "Bag" generally: hobbies, cuckoos, lots of warblers, bittern (sighting and booming), little egrets, other water birds, lots of dragonflies and damselflies, some stunning orchids (southern marsh) and a small adder.

Anyway here they are:

Male Four-spotted chaser
Emerald damselfly
Southern-marsh orchid
Male Emperor dragonfly
Azure damselfly
Southern-marsh orchid
An oak apple - we thought that it was especially large

Monday, 28 May 2012

May sunshine in hawthorn lands

LAST week I went off in search of a favourite view to photograph, but the light was all wrong - lovely thought the sun was!  So instead I crossed the road, vaulted over a style and went off exploring into a new valley for the first time.

I found a hidden limestone landscape, very near to the fast and noisy A46.  The evening sunshine lit up the hedges, meadows and steep grasslands a treat.

As is so often the case in this area, where the ground is steep the grasslands have escaped the ravages of fertilisers, pesticides and the plough, and still support many wild flowers, including the cowslips and early purple orchids.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Early-purple Orchids

SATURDAY morning was the first chance that I have had for a few weeks to get out and hunt down some spring woodland flora.  Most of the specialist woodland species have now gone over, but the early-purple orchids were at their best.  There was a stand of them with dozens of spikes - quite stunning.  It was good to practice taking photos in relatively low light - lesson one being "a tripod is a must", whoops!

So here are my favourites:

Other woodland plants:

Yellow archangel
Bumblebee on bugle

Friday, 11 May 2012

Birds in Scotland (plus a few animals)

IN bonny Scotland there was a good spattering of wildlife, as mentioned in my previous blog.  The otter was definitely the highlight in the bay of Lockinver, but I there were also some great birdies.  Now I do not have a camera with a 400mm lens, so my 200mm lens was at its limit and the birds had to be pretty close!

Male stonechat
Golden plover (one of a pair)
The otter...honest!

Red-Breasted Merganser
Oyster catcher


Eider ducks

Sweet wee lambs

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Wildlife webcams

I've copied the following webcam links from my website
as they are just getting good at this time of year and well worth a look.

I particularly like the sea-birds and the two peregrine webcams - enjoy!:


  • Nottingham Trent University peregrine falcon webcam - make sure that you double click on the webcam image to see the nest.
  • My Forest Home - a great site with a number of garden wildlife webcams.
  • The RSPB webcams provide snapshots of a number of their bird feeders.
  • Nature Watch - Webcams setup in nest boxes, a bird bath, mealworm feeder and seed feeder, recording all of the action from a regular household garden in Essex.
  • Andrew Coopers site has a number of webcams watching badgers, birds and even a water but all on his Church Farm.

Somerset Levels birding

Not many photos on this blog, but here's a list of what I saw and heard on the Somerset Levels yesterday.  Weather was cold, blustery and overcast most of the time (thanks weather gods!) but the birding was good... (sorry Steve!):
  • Numerous hobbies swooping low over the water
  • 2 bitterns in flight and lots booming
  • Marsh Harrier quartering over the reeds
  • Water-rails screeching
  • Whitethroats, willows, chiff-chaffs, blackcaps, and lots of garden warblers singing
  • Whinchat
  • Redshanks, lapwing and bt godwits
  • Gt white egret and cattle egrets
  • Lots of young coromants, cygnets and goslings
  • Random ducks
  • Hundreds of swifts and swallows, with the odd martin sp.
  • Cuckoos cuckooing
  • A darting kingfisher
  • Other common water birds and woodland birds.