Sunday 29th June 2014

   A return visit to Ashdown Forest, with Andy Jordan, where the Short-toed Eagle was still being seen.

   Strangely much the same pattern repeated itself. We waited in the car park, and the bird was reported from the other area!!! Typical. We waited for quite a while, before deciding to go to the other car park. We stopped a couple of times on the way there, keeping our eyes on the skies. Then i picked the bird up, flying over a ridge, but it was returning to the original car park, so we did too. Only to be told it flew right over, and into the valley......missed it again.

Stonechat (Juvenile)
   We spent the next maybe 4-5 hours just waiting, in the valley for the Eagle. But, not a sniff!!! The Stonechats were still playing, and gave us something to look at and photograph.

Stonechat (Juvenile)

    Many people walked past us and asked "what are you looking for?", then suddenly while i was explaining about the Eagle to a couple, Andy said, "you might wanna get on this mate!" I did, it was a Honey Buzzard.....the light wasn't great on the bird, but it was close enough at one stage to get some half decent shots.....Sadly we never got to see the Eagle again.

Honey Buzzard

Honey Buzzard

Wednesday 25th June 2014

White Admiral
   Visited Lower Woods, Gloucestershire today after work. Again looking for Butterflies. There were lots of Silver-washed Fritillaries, and quite a few White Admirals too. Didn't stay too long, but enough time to get these shots.

White Admiral

Silver-washed Fritillary

Saturday 21st June 2014

    So, all week i have been waiting for the weekend, no change there then, you might think! But, there was a bigger reason this time. The Short-toed Eagle had relocated, and been found, this time at Ashdown Forest, East Sussex. So, thats where i am heading......obviously.

   Well, we got to the car park, and news for the first hour. Then news that it had been seen, at the other of its usual areas. so, thats where we went. A quick walk along the track from the car park, and there were 30+ Birders on the track, so we joined them. There it was sat in a tree, but a long way off. Would anyone decide to try and get closer??? No sadly, but then 2 dog walkers walked along another track, which was about half the distance from the bird. If only others would go there, we could get much better views, and maybe even some photos. The dog walkers went straight passed the Bird, and back onto another track near the car park, the Eagle didn't even flinch!

Short-toed Eagle
   After maybe 20 minutes, the Eagle decided to fly, sadly...and as always, it flew away from the crowd. But, i did manage some very distant flight shots.....

   We went back to the original car park, to be told it had flown over, and into the valley.

   A quick walk into the valley, and there it was....but, sadly again, it quickly flew away and over the wood at the bottom of the valley. Never to be seen anyway!

Short-toed Eagle

   There were very few other birds in the valley, but the bestow them was a very showy family of Stonechats.

Stonechat (Male)
Stonechat (Juvenile)
Stonechat (Juvenile)

Tuesday 17th June 2014

Bee Orchid (var. friburgensis)
   After a tip off from a friend. After work, i went to see another rare variant of Bee Orchid. This time it is var. friburgensis. As this is a very rare form too, i have been sworn to secrecy. I hope you guys can enjoy the photos, and forgive me for not mentioning the site. Yet.....anyway? If this plant takes hold and spreads, maybe one day we can let everybody see it??? Lets hope so.....
   I have put a photo of a 'normal' Bee Orchid here too, for comparison.
Bee Orchid (var. friburgensis)

Bee Orchid ('normal')

  I then got a call, from a friend at work, to say i had left something there.....bugger!!!! So, back to work, luckily i was quite happy with the sightings from earlier. It also gave me a chance to look for another Orchid on the way there, so quite handy???? This time it was Lizard Orchid, just one plant, sure there used to be at least 2 there?

Lizard Orchid
Lizard Orchid

       I hope you like the pix, and understand my reasons for the secrecy.

               Thank you all

Monday 16th June 2014

   Soul 2 Soul today..............Back to life, back to reality........WORK, it always gets in the way!

Sunday 15th June 2014

   After yesterday's 2 targets, there was only one today.....Spectacled Warbler, and it was still there.

Common Redshank
   So, the long walk, with my dodgy knee began. I got there, with not too much pain actually, so was fairly happy. Halfway along the track, i even stopped, and photographed Redshanks, and a Little Tern.

  Maybe i was too relaxed....well that has been known!! But it very rarely stops me getting the things I'm after. Will the Warbler still be there?

Little Tern
  I finished the walk to the Dunes at Burnham Overy, and found maybe 12 people there, where are the others? That was it....during my stay there, there were probably not even 50 Birders that went for the Bird, thought there would have been many more than that. Maybe most of them had been before today, it has been there for a while now?

  As soon as i stopped, and set down my tripod, a small Warbler flew out, and back into, the Sueda. That was it, I'm sure, then it popped up again, and disappeared. It called a few times, then up again. After doing this quite a few times it flew towards me, and landed out of sight, no more than 6 feet away. It then flew over the crowd, into some scrub in the dunes. Over the next couple of hours, the bird showed really well, even well enough for me to get some half decent shots....very happy bunny. This was my second sighting of Spectacled Warbler in the UK, after one quite a few years ago on Dartmoor, Devon. Actually i have never seen them abroad either, even though i have looked!!!! So obviously these are my only shots too.........

Spectacled Warbler (1st Summer Male)
Spectacled Warbler (1st Summer Male)

Spectacled Warbler (1st Summer Male)

  So a question for you, if this Bird had been a Female, and not a Spring Male, would it ever have been found? It was found while it was singing, so probably not....even if the regular patch watchers there, are brilliant Birders, it would have been very easy to miss.....glad they didn't though!
Congrats guys, keep up the good work.

Saturday 14th June 2014

   Bit of a trip away this weekend. Two target species, again NOT Birds though.....Black Hairstreak & Norfolk Hawker.

   So the quest begins, the drive to Northamptonshire went well, and we arrive at the first destination....Glapthorn Cow Pastures. If you readers have not been here, and are interested in seeing Black Hairstreaks, this is the place...defo!
Black Hairstreak

Black Hairstreak
   Not only are they here, in decent numbers, they come down and feed on the brambles below eye level.....superb.

   Got some fairly decent shots, but am still getting used to the new sigma 180mm Macro lens i bought. So these are not quite as good as they should have my eye anyway.

   But better than last year, just means i have to go back again...cant wait.

   From there, another long drive to Strumpshaw Fen RSPB, Norfolk. Sadly, my luck changed back to crap again. Same as the weather, the wind got up, and the skies went dull grey. Oh well, we are here now, lets have a go. Norfolk Hawker has eluded my camera for a few years now, and so it seemed it would do again. I walked again the banks of the streams, would nothing at all! Then i saw a Dragonfly, about the right size, fly away from me. I waited, but it didn't come back. Then i kicked up another along the bank, this one flew directly away fro me, across the field and away........CRAP!!!!!

   As i got back to the edge of the wood, with my hopes dashed, for some reason i decided to walk along the edge. I then found one flying around a little clearing. It landed, but flew before i got did this a few times. But then it landed in the grass, in the field, brilliant i thought. I slowly walked over towards it, and was about to lift the camera, when a dog ran straight over it....FFFFFFF*****
Obviously it flew off, and this time i gave up, just not my day...well, afternoon anyway!

  Only thing of note at Strumpshaw, was when i remembered the last time i visited, we saw some Bee Orchids near the Visitor centre. There they were again, but one looked oddly pale. It is probably of the var. flavescens. Sadly they are fenced offf to stop them being eaten, and also behind a garden fence. So i couldn't get as close as i would have liked, but this is what i got anyway....

Bee Orchid (probably var. flavescens)

Thursday 12th June 2014

   I think i should either, change the name of this Blog, or start a different one, just for the Summer months! Seems that all i am putting on here recently is Butterflies & Dragonflies......and here we go again.

Scarce Chaser (Male)
   Another after work walk alongside the River Avon, this time from the Keynsham end though. Again masses of Banded Demoiselles, and also more Scarce Chasers, this time adults, all males again though!!

Scarce Chaser (Male)

   On the walk back, i found a patch of long grass, where last year i had White-legged Damselfly. Lets have another look...Ah yes there they are again, very nice..

   There were mature Males, and immatures of both Male & Female, in a patch about 20 foot square, amazing. So i took advantage of it....

White-legged Damselfly (Male)
White-legged Damselfly (Female)

White-legged Damselfly (Immature Male)

    Will get back onto Birds soon I'm sure...........Honest!

Wednesday 11th June 2014

   A very successful trip, to my Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly site, after work.

   The water level was none existent on my last trip down, but some rain over the last couple of days, had filled up the small pool/puddle they have been in. Excellent......

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly (Pair)
Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly (Male)

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly (Male)
Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly (Female)

Sunday 8th June 2014

   Somerset today. First to Haddon Hill, to find Heath Fritilary, sadly the forecast was warm, but with some rain, and for once they got it right.....

   The Heath Fritilaries, i found (only2) were very cool, and so they were not flying around. But, i did manage to catch one, when a bit of sunlight hit it, and it opened it wings, for a few seconds.

Heath Fritilary

Otherwise they both sat very still, wings closed....

Heath Fritilary
  Either way, a beautiful Butterfly...i think you will agree.

Great White Egret
  We over onto Ham Walls RSPB, as you can still see stuff in the rain there. But, luckily it cleared up by the time we got there anyway. We had Bittern, Hobby, and some other stuff which is usually seen there. I bumped into a friend up from Devon, who wanted to see the 2 i mentioned, and Great White Egret, which didn't take long to get for him either, as one flew up from right in front of us, at the first viewing platform.

Common Whitethroat (Male)

 ...sadly the only other bird i photographed was a showy Common Whitethroat, possibly the same one i photographed before?


Thursday 5th June 2014

   A suggestion by a friend, saw me walking along the track by the River Avon, at Swineford. Looking for Scarce Chaser Dragonflies. It didn't take long, and i was surrounded by Banded Demoiselles, they were everywhere.

Banded Demoiselle
Scarce Chaser (Immature Male)
  Then a bigger orange/red coloured Dragonfly flew past.....what was it? I searched a bit then it flew again, this time i followed it, and saw where it landed. It was a Scarce i know what you are thinking....Scarce Chasers are NOT orange/red!!!! But, this was an immature male, so as you can see below, is that colour.....

Scarce Chaser (Immature Male)

   Will come back when they have matured.........

Tuesday 3rd June 2014

   A return trip to Swifts Hill, Gloucestershire, after work, to look again for Frog Orchid, hoping to find one in flower this time! Proved a good choice, but took quite a while. I could not find the one i had before, so kept looking, hard work......did find quite a few Common Fragrant Orchids during the search.

Common Fragrant Orchid
Common Fragrant Orchid

  I had started to think about giving up, when i found some Small Blue butterflies, at the bottom of the hill.
Small Blue (Female)
Small Blue

Small Blue (Male)


Yellow Shell

   No sign of any Lace Border moths, but i did find this Yellow Shell instead...

   I decided to have one more walk up to the top of the hill, to try to find the plant we found last time, but still no luck, but i kept looking, and as i got to a big hollow in the hill, there it was!! Not the same one though, this was a new plant, and it was in flower too. Ah well success at last....
Frog Orchid
Frog Orchid

Frog Orchid
Frog Orchid