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Showing posts from July, 2013

A mega Wader this Summer?

Personally, I think the next few weeks looks good for a rare, even mega, Wader here in Norfolk. The warm weather has allowed pools, lagoons and scrapes to look particularly inviting to any flyover flocks. At Surlingham, the water levels are the lowest I have ever seen them, almost too low. Pictures below. However, we are now due some stormy weather and a continuation of South-westerlies. Rain tends to ground, or at least push around, any Waders in an area. I would love to stumble across a Pectoral Sandpiper, and both Cantley and Buckenham have a decent record with this species. A straightforward Semi-P, or summer plumage Stilt Sand, and I'm dreaming. So, it was with these thoughts that I made my first visit to Cantley beet pools this morning. Selected counts as follows:

Green Sandpiper 12
Common Sandpiper 1
Ruff 9
Redshank 1
Lapwing 18

Also here, a Common Tern passed though  and I was noisily harassed by a gang of Black-headed Gulls who decided I was a clear threat to their chicks…

Away in Spain and home for more Bat surveying.

From the 19th to 21st of July I was at a friend's wedding in Spain, not far from Madrid so other than the airport I enjoyed rural surroundings, the constant buzz of insects and village plazas for my short time there. This was in no way a wildlife watching trip, but naturally my eyes were peeled and I picked up a few good bits. Birds of prey were enjoying the hot thermals, although I could only get a positive ID on a Red-footed Falcon. I had what I think was a Spanish Imperial Eagle, surrounded by many smaller Raptors, high in the sky over farmland. Much easier to ID were Great White and Little Egret, White Stork and Bee Eater. Despite the intense heat and late nights of beer and fine dining I did manage a walk out into farmland. A Shrike on wires was perhaps a Red-backed, and a Clouded Yellow flew right past me, a new species altogether. On doing some research it would seem this was probably a Berger's Clouded Yellow. I also encountered a Marbled Skipper, another new Butterfly…

More Butterflies and the odd Bat for a blog.

Re-visited a site near Bergh Apton on Sunday, rich in Butterlfy and Insect life. Literally 100's of Meadow Brown and Ringlet were seen, the next numerous species probably Small Tortoiseshell. Red Admiral numbered just 2, Large Skipper 2 and Small/Essex Skipper c10. My first Gatekeepers of the year, 2, and 3 White species completed a super haul. The Cinnabar and 6-Spot Burnet were the day flying Moths were also encountered. 2 Brown Hawker patrolled the nettle beds, and a large Hawker went unidentified. Some choice pictures below.

Looking back to the 25th of June, a NBSG survey at Rainthorpe Hall near Taswood Lakes proved very productive and also marked a change in the weather for the warmer. The Hall itself is a quite stunning relic, well maintained and a privilege it was to walk the grounds. Before dark, a Barn Owl flew in front of the car and a Tawny Owl called. At least 3 Fox were seen as dusk fell and finally, James, you were spot on- I saw a Glow Worm! Once the Bats were out w…

Weather to watch Insects

After a week of bright but at times unsettled and stormy weather, it seems much of Britain has been struck by a mini heatwave. This is of course excellent weather for watching Butterflies and Dragonflies go about their business. Before recounting the last 2 days, of note at Church Marsh was a Common Tern upriver on the evening of the 3rd, new for the year. Yesterday Debs and I spent the heat of the day at Wheatfen. We ended up with a cracking species list. Scarce Chaser were relatively common both in dykes and over the reeds. Black-tailed Skimmer, Norfolk Hawker, 4 Spotted Chaser and probable Broad-bodied Chaser were our other big Odonata. Onto Damselflies, and we saw Large Red, Azure, Common Blue, Banded Demoiselle and Blue-tailed. Butterflies were also on fantastic form. We were lucky to receive a fly-past from a single Swallowtail. Large Skipper was new for the year, and Small Tortoiseshell were seemingly everywhere. Really pleased to see them doing well. 
Today, woken by the new C…

Canoeing with birds.

After much talk and until now little action (other than the purchase of a dry bag), on Saturday 29th myself and 2 of my best men set off on a weekend canoe and kayak trip down the river Nene. Our starting point was the 'harmless' market own of Oundle and our destination the town of Yarewell and campsite for the night. Conditions were breezy (turning to windy on the Sunday as we headed back up river)  but bright and often warm. It was a privilege to be so close to the wild residents of the river, and for that reason alone a long term aim remains to get myself a kayak or canoe and bird the shit out of the inaccessible broads.  Turning up a rare duck or two, access difficult, I'm there.
Anyway, our journey. We were accompanied by the omnipresent Red Kite. I never tired of seeing this superb Raptor, although Oundle resident Allan has them on his garden list! Common Buzzard and Kestrel were also plentiful. Best bird and contender for moment of the paddle came near Tansor, when …