Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Doesn't feel like summer yet

The Safari had a bit of a quiet day in the garden at Base Camp yesterday. It was warmish but there was a chilly and rather brisk northerly wind blowing too many clouds scudding across the blue.
The few successes we had were our first juvenile Greenfinch of the year being fed by dad. He was a stunner in the morning sun, shone like an emerald he did and also fluttered like a youngster when feeding his little one, surely it's supposed to be the other way round. They didn't stay long enough for us to get the new Tamron out and he wasn't the ringed male we'd like to get a read off either.
The pair of Jackdaws out in a brief early morning visit and weren't sen again all day. Nothing much happened until the irregular male House Sparrow came in mid-afternoon for his two or three seeds - he doesn't stay long enough to scoff any more than this!
The intermittent sunshine and strong gusty wind meant the invertebrates weren't so active although we did see the Ruby Tailed Wasp inspecting the same hole it got tangled up in  the day before so it must have been able to extract itself from the tangle of web. Either that or it's another one doing thee same circuit and inspecting the very same holes. The 'two wasp theory'?
There weren't many opportunities for pics, these are the best we could come up with.
Arty Aqueligia flower - did you spot the aphid?
Blue Tailed Damselfly on a leaf
Blue Tailed Damselfly on a twig
Zebra Spider with prey - still can't get ?him to face the light, this pic he's facing down at a steep angle and we've rotated him to horizontal
The other evening Wifey took us out for a drive over the nearby farmland.
Barley field at dusk
Why did she take us there you might well ask. Well ask away - just beyond the bare patch at the entrance to the field and off a little way to the right a Quail was reported as calling. We stepped out of the car to the jangling keys song of Corn Buntings (162) and walked the few yards to the other birders already in position listening for the distinctive Wet-my-lips call. It wasn't long before we heard it infuriatingly close, infuriatingly because we just knew we weren't going to be able to see it in the depths of the crop. Never mind, Quail (163) is now on the list and what a cracking sound they make too, they must have been so common just 50 or 60 years ago before the mega-mechanisation of farming and all the sprays that go with it, now they are a full blown twitch. A couple of passing cars stopped on the lane to ask what we were looking for. After the last one had driven off we heard the Quail calling from the other side of the road, was it a different one (the two bird theory) or did we miss the original one scarper across the lane while we were distracted - maybe it tunneled its way across! We never did hear it call from the Barley field again so we guess the two bird theory is out of the window.
One of the other birders, another BD, put us on to a covey of at least three Grey Partridges (164) feeding across the far side of next field along. These too are getting harder and harder to come across locally, what a shame they were so common as to be almost ignored in the farmland close to where we grew up as a young naturalist.
Wifey dipped these but did add Corn Bunting, of which she got great views despite the gathering dusk, and she really liked the "Smack-my-lips" of the Quail taking her to 104 for the year.
Today was another warm but very windy day and again nothing much was happening at Base Camp until we got a late afternoon surprise, a Coal Tit came to the feeders, possibly our first ever June record - will have to check. 
1st pic with the Tamron 150-600mm lens - in gloom of the shrubbery but backlit by strong sunshine
It then returned and fed a juvenile tiny bits of suet from the feeder. My word they are cute!
Where to next? We've got LCV and family over to stay for a couple of days - wonder if he can be tempted into a bit of Quailing? And his young lad has an impotant job to do - set the moth trap up.
In the meantime let us know who's hiding in the Barley in your outback.

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