Tuesday, 22 July 2014

MOULTON QUARRY....martins,butterflies,buzzards,kestrels and a greenie

Well that's the name for the ex-gravel pit I have been visiting of late. A chance encounter with a "follower" and fellow birder from Twitter who was jogging on the site let us know it's proper name, thank you Andy.
The weekend was really spent dodging thunderstorms and hail which didn't give me much chance to get out with the camera, I was supposed to me on a night out in my truck yesterday but got lucky with three cancelled drops in Oxfordshire so I was straight up the site yesterday after work.

The surrounding farm was harvesting the crops which in turn producded a lot of gulls and Buzzards. This shot you might not be able to make out (bottom/left talon) but there is a small mammal in it's talon. I did get a very distant image too of it carrying a rat. Not worth publishing, to far away.
One of the main plants on this site is the Budleia (spelt right?) which in turn produces a lot of butterflies and yesterday the place was SWARMING with them, if you look at Eleanor and Neils blog they were reporting the same thing with their budleia in their garden, as the crow flies their village is about 4-5miles away from where I was. On one budleia bush I had a remarkable 20 Peacocks feeding. And a few small tortoiseshell too, bear in mind it was taken with the 500mm lens but took a record image of them sunning on the earth banks. There was plenty more but trying to get them all lined up in the frame with a 500mm was near impossible.....


 Now I may have the plant species wrong but is this a white version of budleia?
The other thing about the site is the insect life here, I have seen a couple of species of crickets/grasshoppers that I need to photograph but whils sitting around I got with my camera phone this cinabar moth caterpillar.
The sandmartins are getting very active with some of the young flying out of their nests holes now, won't be long now before they leave, best get on with getting some images, still not happy with this lot.

The last one being my favourite out of a bad bunch. It was then the turn of the Kestrel to keep me entertained and frustrated. I was gutted I couldn't sneak up on this without it flying off just a little to far away it also held the high ground.......
 It seemed to have something in it's talon in this image, zooming in I know it is not a mammal or bird, it looks like either an earthworm or slow worm, given it was on the rock pile before hand, probably who knows?

And finally I got a surprise as the Little Owl flushed this out over towards me from the owl's tree, I am so close also to getting my first flight of a Little Owl too, more of that a later date....here's the greenie....


  1. Lots of excellent images there Douglas, time well spent...better than working...lol.
    That site looks to be very species rich with lots of photo opportunities?
    Love the last shot of the GWP....[;o)

  2. Much, much, much better than working oh how I wish I could retire :-)
    It is proving an interesting site, on one hand very industrial looking but underneath the surface so much to enjoy.

  3. I can see why you're so fond of this place, Doug. It's just full of all sorts of wonderful wildlife!

    Another great set of images! Could the Kestrel have a lizard? A couple of years ago I watched a Kestrel devour a lizard in Northumberland.

    If you continue to visit this place the rules say that you're going to have to get yourself a Moulton bicycle! Are you old enough to remember these? Not recommended as their tiny wheels made them lethal on loose surfaces! I've just looked them up on Google and see that they're still made. Perhaps I'd better withdraw my comment!!!

  4. A Moulton bicycle would kill me, plenty of loose gravel surfaces lol.
    I hadn't thought of lizard, not 100% they occur in this part of the county mostly in the northern part like Fineshade, good habitat for them though so something else to look out for, I reckon you could be right looking at some of the other images

  5. This is a stunning place.
    Good on you for lugging the lens about in this weather. It is red hot up here so i dread to think what it's like with you.
    The green Woodpecker is really special.

    1. Thanks Adrian, even though it's been hot (30+) the real pain has been the humidity and subsequent thunderstorms I got caught in one and it was scary as anything with no cover to hide from the storm.

  6. Great post Douglas, what a gem of a place you have found .... it must be like having your own private reserve ! ....... as usual a fine set of images.

    1. Thanks John it is a bit like having my own private nature reserve, no one asking how far I can see with my lens etc :-) though I do see the odd person from time to time also enjoying the site