Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Huncote Damsels

Not much time for blogging just lately, but here's a quick one. I nipped over to Huncote Embankment on Saturday morning whilst Alex was at his karate session in Enderby. I went there specifically to spend an hour at the pool which can be good for dragonflies and damselflies, and as it was warm with good strong sunny spells I thought it should be a good chance to catch up with a common damsel that I've never knowingly bothered to identify (I've never been much of an odonata watcher!).

Turned out well, as I immediately scored with my target ......

Red-eyed Damselfly

Lots of activity whilst I was there, with at least two Emperor Dragonflies patrolling, several Four-spotted Chasers, loads of Common Blue Damsleflies, a few Banded Demoiselle and a Large Red Damselfly plus ....

Good numbers of Azure Damselfly, another one I only recently bothered to identify

and a couple of Blue-tailed Damselfly

A Grass Snake took me by surprise as it lazily swam underneath the viewing platform and across the pool, but sadly by the time I had camera back out and ready it was too distant for a good shot ....

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Some recent random stuff

No time for any write-ups I'm afraid - so please just fill yer boots with a few photos instead ....

Cassida vibex

Hornet Moth

Scarce Footman

Chrysotoxum cautum

Sallow Kitten

Cryptocephalus moraei

Rhagio scolopaceus

Apotomis turbidana

Luperus longicornis

Thursday, 5 June 2014

New Inverts

Here's a selection of recently ticked inverts from the highlands, though I will start with my favourite (new macro moths are always a highlight for me) ..

Saxon, Aviemore 28/05/2014

Elaphrus riparius, Nethy Bridge 26/05/2014

Sericomyia lappona, Abernethy 28/05/2014

Stenodema holsata, Abernethy 28/05/2014

Donacia obscura, Abernethy 30/05/2014

Monday, 2 June 2014

Botanical Jaunt

Freshly back from Scotland, and with the day looking pretty good weatherwise, I was keen to get out for a bit more R&R on Sunday before going back to work today. I'd read a blog post on Saturday about a small reserve not too far from Ketton Quarry, over the border into Cambs. - Barnack Hills and Holes. An orchid tick was on the cards, and the reserve sounded pretty good generally so I headed out there. Have to say it is a brilliant reserve - I was a bit focussed on the flora and didn't take any general shots of the site but I will definitely be going back another day. A good aspect of the reserve is that there are areas roped off and marked out to ensure that the key flowering species are reasonably protected by keeping people on the main tracks.

Main priority was this ...

Man Orchid

A cracking orchid, quite a few spikes found both inside and out of the roped off areas though not as numerous as the Fragrant Orchids on show ...

Fragrant Orchid

The other good flower at this site was pretty much over - lots of seedheads visible and the place must look brilliant at the peak flowering time ...

Pasque Flower seedhead

There were a handful of flowers just about hanging on, but having spent a fair while looking for them I then completely screwed up the photo as I had left the camera on wrong settings. So here's an out of focus effort - I'll be going back there next year for a proper look!

On the way back into VC55 I stopped off at another reserve, one that I've been meaning to visit for some time, Bedford Purlieus. What I wasn't expecting was to bump into another good orchid, though not a new one for me.

Fly Orchid

I found nine spikes in all, though there could well be a few more hidden away. I subsequently found out that this is known from the reserve though it sounds like they are quite often missed. Also there was an altogether more common orchid ..

Common Spotted Orchid

Another great reserve that I'll be going back to. Aside from the orchids and Pasque Flower, I swept and potted a few inverts from both sites and also grabbed a few more floral photos so a few bits to go at after I've sorted out the highlands stuff.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Highland Fling

Back home last night after a week away on a family holiday based in Aviemore. We a brilliant time up there, all the better for having some great weather - even some hot sunshine on a couple of days whilst it was raining everyday in Leics. For the most part it was family holiday first, finding new things second - the only exception being that I was absolutely intent on getting up Cairn Gorm and finally seeing the 'snow grouse'. I'm pleased to say that it was a sucessful venture with both Ptarmigan and Mountain Hare seen whilst up on the slopes by the whole family - through bins. Sadly neither ventured into camera-range. I did manage to point the camera at a few birds for record shots though. Lots of family and scenery photos to work through, plus some plants and stuff to ID later so more Highland updates to follow, but for now here's Cairn Gorm.

Stunning views from the top

The stone 'cairn' at the peak of Cairn Gorm

Cracking male Snow Bunting - a family party was milling about right at the top

Makes the wintering birds we normally see look a bit dull

This pair of Ring Ouzel were collecting food for their brood

Lots of cocky Red Grouse on the mountain too, lower down than the Ptarmigan

Me, Josh and Alex 1245m up after conquering the mountain! When we started out there was a bit of cloud cover around the peak, half way up it was pretty nippy, but by the time we were at the peak (after some lunch at the Ptarmigan restaurant) it was sunny and warm enough for Alex to ditch his coat.