Monday, 27 June 2016

Hampshire - Turtle Doves and more!

I went to Hampshire on Saturday. What more can I say...


Turtle Dove
Turtle Dove
Turtle Dove
Turtle Dove
Yellowhammer
Yellowhammer
Yellowhammer
Dark Green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja)
Dark Green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja)
Dark Green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja)
Tree Pipit
Tree Pipit
Tree Pipit
Six-spot Burnet (Zygaena filipendulae)
Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus)
Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)



Pyramidal Orchid
Common Spotted Orchid
Crambus perlella
Chrysoteuchia culmella


Happy birding! Max.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Caspian Tern - Lincolnshire

Caspian Tern is a species which I have failed to catch up with in the UK... Well, I'd never actually tried, so when two birds recently turned up in Lincolnshire I couldn't resist the temptation to twitch.


The Caspian Tern is a species with a scattered global distribution, occurring on most continents. Per county, Norfolk has hosted the overall most British records of this species (48) closely followed by Suffolk (44). The two birds which have recently been in the UK (at least one still is), one of which is ringed (origin currently unknown as far as I know), have both been seen together at Gibraltar Point (Lincs.) with one bird occasionally commuting to Middlemarsh Farm (Lincs.) and the ringed bird currently residing at Breydon Water (Norfolk). Where they spend the rest of their time remains a mystery...


Saturday 18th June saw me arriving at Gibraltar Point NNR mid-afternoon, where at least one of the two birds had been seen in the morning. Arriving in the hide there was initially no sign of either Caspian Terns, but after a tense wait of around half an hour, one of the birds (the unringed individual) flew in at 15:08 and landed on the scrape for all to enjoy. I watched it here for about forty minutes, where it sat happily on Tennyson's Sands, before I departed. A beast of a bird, and one I am glad I have seen.



Happy birding! Max.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Badgers!

For a while now I have wanted to photograph Badgers...

I have seen them before on multiple occasions but never been able to obtain a decent photo.
Last night this dream became a reality when I was very kindly invited by some friends to photograph a family party of Badgers which regularly appear in their garden. This was a great success with around six Badgers coming in to the garden during the evening.





I enjoyed very close, face to face, views with these extraordinary animals - monochrome magic. A truly memorable wildlife encounter.



For good measure, a Fox also showed well!







Happy birding! Max.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Great Knot... In Norfolk...

Good evening...

With news breaking of a summer plumaged Great Knot at Titchwell early afternoon yesterday, I just hoped it would still be there today! In July 2014, a similar individual turned up at Breydon Water in Norfolk, which I was unfortunately unable to go for. I still felt the pain of missing this bird so had to twitch the next one with turned up in Britain.


The Titchwell bird was still present all afternoon yesterday and once again showed up early morning today. I arrived at Titchwell late morning and after a frantic sprint from the car park to the beach, was staring at the Great Knot through my scope. It was such a relief to finally add this globally threatened species of wader to my list.






Great Knots, which are an endangered species due to habitat destruction, breed in north east Asia and winter in Australasia. This individual, which was mixed in with around 3000 Red Knots today, represents the fifth record for Britain.





I watched the bird for about 1 1/2 hours on the beach before it flew to the freshmarsh and gave slightly closer views to the assembled twitchers. A really stunning bird, especially in summer plumage!

Knot a bad day at all!



Happy birding! Max.

Heath Fritillaries... Again...

Yesterday morning I once again visited my local population of Heath Fritillaries in Essex. They are just such stunning little butterflies that I couldn't resist getting more photos of them! Some of my favourite images can be seen below.




I revisited the site this evening (16 June 2016) with the aim of getting a decent underwing photo of one and after quite a lot of effort I was successful. In nature photography it's so satisfying and worthwhile when you get the photo you've wanted after hours of trying!


A superb way to round off a fantastic day after seeing Britain's fifth Great Knot in Norfolk!



Happy birding! Max.

Marsh Warbler in Suffolk

Early afternoon on Saturday 11 June I visited Hen Reedbeds, near Reydon in Suffolk, to hopefully catch up with the Marsh Warbler that had recently taken up residence there. As I arrived at the miniature crowd at 13:20 I was informed that the Marsh Warbler was currently on show. I was quickly on to the bird and obtained a few record shots from an all too brief and distant view. I stayed around for the next hour but there were no further sightings until later in the day and apparently it showed very well the next morning. Not a great view but better than dipping!

A phonescoped photo

The 'heaviness' of the bird and darker colour tone which can be just about seen in these photos rules Reed Warbler out

500mm. lens and 1.4x converter, uncropped

Happy birding! Max.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Heath Fritillaries in Essex

Hello all,

I am fortunate enough to live fairly near to a small population of Heath Fritillary butterflies in Essex, so took the opportunity to search for them this afternoon. They are on the wing from early June until mid/late July so it's a good time to be looking for them. I was delighted to find a few of these little stunners on my walk and below are a few photos of them!






Happy birding! Max.