Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Summertime bird lull

The Safari has been up to the nature field with Wifey and Monty in the evenings. By that time of the day most of the enormous numbers of butterflies have gone ot roost even Monty and his pals charging through the grass only manage to disturb small numbers of Small Skippers and Meadow Browns. The birds too are mostly inconspicuous except for the gulls flying over, the Woodpigeons flying about and the House Sparrows roosting noisily in the big Blackthorn thicket.
There's ususally something to point the camera at though.
And if you like beetles there must be trillions of these Red Soldier Beetles.
Ass the evening draws on small numbers of Swifts congregate loosely overhead catching the last of the rising insects. They are usually too high for the 300mm though.
Monty likes a game of rough n tumble with his doggy friends and if there's no-one about his ball will have to do.

A sunny Sunday afternoon in the garden was reallly too quiet for insects, hardly a hoverfly to be seen - where are they all??? At CR's just over the road apparently he's had Wool Carder Bees and Hummingbird Hawk Moths in recent days. We've really struggled to find subjects to point the camera at although there's always a few Lucilia Greenbottles around the bins which gave us a chance to experiment with the extension tubes.
Other than those we almost had to resort to arty pics of the flowers!
At last we found a hoverfly but it was the only one we saw all afternoon apart from a tiny black one that was being buffeted around in the wind too much for any chance of a pic.
While trying to get pics of the hoverfly a small bee was seen among its larger Red Tailed Bumble Bee brethren. Some kind of solitary bee, possibly Halictus rubicundus again.
Then 'Catch of the day' arrived. A bright yellow 'wasp' flew past and landed. Unfortunately it landed in deep shade and the camera was set up for sunny flower tops. We managed one dodgy shot and a couple of totally useless ones as it disappeared down a gap in the timbers around the pond with its prey. One of the Ectemnius species of wasps - but which one? Is that why there's no hoverflies???
It's always good to see the little flies that dance on the Water Lily leaves in the pond. They are Poecilobothrus nobilitatus.
Psyching itself up
Stretch and ready....
Going for it!
Trying to chase off a rival - the females don't have the white tips to the wings
On Monday we were office-bound but parking the car by a demolition site the rough grassy mound held an interesting variety of wildflowers and a couple of Meadow Brown butterflies, some solitary bees as well as the chirping calls of numerous grasshoppers, a great way to start a day sat in front of the 'puter.
Yesterday early morning saw us scoping Patch 2 with LGB for half an hour. We found our first Golden Plover (P2 #53) of the autumn but missed the Kestrel half a mile or or more out to sea. Otherwise it was quiet out there with just a few Sandwich Terns going back and forth seemingly struggling to find any fish although one did catch a decent sized Sand Eel right in front of us. Thinking we'd improve our Year Bird Challenge pic of a Sandwich Tern we got the camera out and they promptly disappeared leaving us the first returning Common Gull of the autumn to photograph badly instead.
Later in the morning we played host to the local nursery kids and took them down on the beach to see what they could find. We didn't have long with them but long enough to get a few prize specimens in the bucket for them to have a look at.
At lunchtime we were joined by DW from a local beach care group and together we had a bit of a beachcomb collecting some more specimens for the afternoon's children.
All good stuff!
In the evening we had a group Rainbows visit the pond who found all the ususal stuff and then pulled out a dragonfly in real trouble. A strong wind had blown up in the afternoon and this poor creature must have been blown into the water while it was drying its wings. Duly rescued we put it in the last of the sunshine to dry out and then moved it to a sheltered spot where he morning sun would warm it -provided it didn't get blown away in the overnight gales.
Where to next? A day off work and a trip to the Southside on family duties but with the opportunity to do get some pics for our Year Bird Challenge.
In the meantime let us know who's on the way back in your outback.

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