Friday, 7 August 2009

One up, one down and one in the middle.

At long last the safari gets a shot of a bird! Out on the park with Frank on a warm sunny afternoon all that could be heard was the hammering, banging and crashing of a builder working nearby. There seemed to be a strange echo coming from the copse. After a bout of careful listening it became obvious that the tap, tap, tap we were hearing wasn’t an echo but the distinctive sound of a Great Spotted Woodpecker chiselling away for grubs on a branch of one of the dead Elm trees. Moving quietly round the edge of the copse and into the clearing in the middle we spotted her high up on a slender branch and, best of all, in a reasonable position to blast a few shots off. Result…probably my best pics of GS Pecker so far, hardly earth-shattering clarity but I’m pleased enough with them.
The warmth also meant that the grassland was full of butterflies, mostly Meadow Browns and a good number of Common Blues. A very fresh looking Small Skipper was seen, looking like it had only recently emerged. The first week of August is quite a late date for this species emerging and must make this individual one of the last hatchers for the season.
Further down, from deep within the grass, we could hear the buzzing and chirruping of Grasshoppers. Hard to spot, but as we walked through the long grass they either stopped stridulating or hopped away in front of us only to disappear into the vegetation. Eventually the camera caught up with a rather bonny Field Grasshopper, identified by its hairy underside.With the large numbers of butterflies around a look in the scrubby areas for Gatekeepers was needed as this is a scarce species at this site. We had just received reports of well over 100 at another site on the other side of town from the Rangers; surely there must be some about. Well no actually, all we managed to find was this rather tatty, faded individual. Somewhat disappointing, as we had hoped for at least a double figure count.
Where to next?? Back on the beach in the rockpools tomorrow
In the meantime let us know what you’ve been looking high and low for in your outback.


Monika said...

What a stunning woodpecker!!

Warren Baker said...

Congrats on the Great spot photo's Dave. I look forward to the Lesser now!