Friday, 5 June 2015

QUARRY WALK 04/06/15

It was a strange site visit yesterday. It started off well with a Little Owl near the entrance of the gravel company. The new drainage ditch also had a Grey Wagtail. Plenty of no showing but vocal Reed Warbler. My best effort is frankly rubbish, back lit and a horrible silhouette cast onto the body. There's plenty of them but they have the advantage with either dense unmanaged habitat or distant. 
I got a good raptor species count including 5 Buzzards, 1 Redkite, 1 female Kestrel, both male and female Sparrowhawk and 4 Hobbies. With blue skies and a beautifully warm day the Hobbies were often high and far away. 
I sat on the mound dividing the two sites when the unmistakable 'monkey chatter' of a female Cuckoo made me jump as it passed overhead within inches and went into a tree it was promptly joined by a male who got it's end away before both flying off towards Summer Leys. This is it incoming, not brilliant but great wing pose
Like I've said it was hard to get images it is what this site is infamous for.
I opted to move off my mound it was one of those "Doug's hindsight" moments to photograph a Common Whitethroat. Just as well I did, I could hear a constant but low droning sound coming from the direction of the farm and getting louder within moments right were I had been sat a HUGE swarm of bees passed by through along the side of the big lake and on towards the direction of Summer Leys. It was easily in the high hundreds. Unlike in those dodgy B-movie's like "Attack of the Killer Bees" it wasn't a ball but a column it was easily 7 foot in length, about 1 foot in height and half a foot in width the volume was scary and had me contemplating taking a dive into the lake. The odd straggler helped me calm down as I realised they were honey bees and not what I had feared hornets or wasps, there's some really big hornet nests on the site.....phew! The Whitethroat is still hiding though


Whilst waiting with 700mm focal length on tap I tried some macro, makes sense lol. This is a "flappy wing Hobby food" yep I have no idea, WHY DO "BUG" WEBSITE MAKE IT HARD TO ID THINGS? I think I've tried every site going but unless you know the scientific name etc it's impossible to nail down the one you got. 
 A juvenile Long-tailed Tit
 And finally in amongst the wildflowers one of the two Sedge Warbler on site. Given the size of the site just two Sedge's is massively disappointing but one better then last year's total!!!

20 comments:

  1. What!..no pics of the bees?..too busy quaking in your boots to hold the camera steady I guess?...lol.

    A brilliant set of images once again Douglas...yeah, I know you're not 100% happy with them but, they all look good to me. Those LTT babies look so cute, don't they?

    Looks like some of those little birds are going to be busy if those Cuckoos have got it right?

    Nice 'macro' of the 'bug'...it's a Damselfly, a female Banded Demoiselle ...[;o)



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    1. I'm going to sound daft but I didn't want to make a noise in case I angered the bees :-) and the camera was on the floor as I prepared to take a swim. The Ltt's were brilliant came so close I struggled with the rail this one just stopped and stared, thanks for the id the BC do not only a great app but good id guide, dragons/damselflies=rubbish guide I gave up in the end

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  2. It's Lestes sponsa, Emerald Damsel Fly. There are one or two to choose from. I'll leave that to Trevor.
    Hornets aren't generally aggressive, they can sting but are happy to have their picture taken. The wasps are a bit stroppy this year. I think it is the cold and wet.
    Great shots as usual.

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  3. PS. I think it is a female. The banded Demoiselle can look similar but has a mucky splodge on it's wings.

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    1. Funnily I have not see any wasps yet this year, these were bees, next time I'm on site I'll take a pic you of one of the hornets nest it's massive. These were honey bees someone told me hive keeper's rent out their hives to farmers to help pollinate crops I'm not sure if this is true. Thanks for the id interestingly I've now have two id's both Trevor and yourself know your stuff so now you can see what I was saying about the id websites and clueless people like myself, the website I used was too technical and never explained what was meant etc ie very poor

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    2. Douglas..Adrian. I was in two minds at first for the Damselfly ID but after studying the photo again I think I'll stick with my initial thought...a female Banded Demoiselle. They're tricky as they tend to 'change' colour thro' green to gold depending on the light. There are two things that are swaying it for me...the closed wings - Emerald Damselflies sit with their wings spread 99% of the time. Wing spots - I can just make out the white wing spots, on the Emerald they are pale brown to black.
      Only the male Banded Demoiselle has the dark wing markings.
      Sorry Adrian, I don't mean to contradict...if only Douglas' Damselfly photos were as good as his bird photos, then we wouldn't have a problem...lol...[;o)

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    3. That's it blame the bird photographer I'm used to it anyway lol.....mental note 'must try harder' something else I'm used to hearing :-)

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    4. Forgot to say have you had a glance at David James' Wildlife Diary on my blog list on the left hand side of my blog. I think you'll enjoy it Trevor

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    5. Trevor and Douglas, I just guessed and guessed with very little knowledge to back things up. For it to be an Emerald then I think it's eyes should be red. I will go with Trevor as he is far more betterer at sorting one from another.
      Hornets will sit on your hand like Bumblebees they are not malicious wee creatures.

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    6. PS. it's such a wonderful shot of the cuckoo I could shove your camera where the monkey keeps it's nuts. Here we are banging on about a bloody fly when we miss the star of the post.

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    7. I'm still searching for a 'perfect' shot of the Cuckoo I'm just happy to see the pair of them to be honest, thanks Trevor & Adrian for your help.

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    8. I agree with Trevor, for a number of reasons, not least of which is Lestes sponsa has clearly defined dark pterostigma on the wings, whereas Calopteryx splendens has pale speudopterostigma which can be seen in this very nice image.

      Doug, if you want a good Dragonfly guide, get a copy of "Field Guide to the Dragonflies of Britain and Europe" by Dijkstra from British Wildlife Publishing - excellent !!

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    9. Thanks Richard. I'll have a look for the book. I need a good fieldguide/book.

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  4. Hi Douglas What a fantastic day's birding. i cannot believe you saw 5 different species of birds of prey in a day, that was wonderful and then the Cuckoos WOW! Love the Warbler shots. No you have not missed the UN helicopter post, I will not be making that untilthe next time I go back to Blessingbourne house even through I do have the photos now. I think 2 weeks of Blessingbourne for bloggers is enough at present!!

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    1. Thanks Margaret it was a really good birding day I just lacked photo opportunities which isn't an issue for me, sometimes I don't mind just sitting back an observing. I'm disappointed not to hear about the UN helicopter lol. I will wait and see I do like the looks of the house and the posts about it, it had a fascinating history

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  5. As always Doug you make the best of what is available and as usual with a perceptive narrative, great stuff !

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    1. I'm going to work on the Sedge it's nesting in some gorgeous wildflowers but really tricky to spot it's so well camouflaged, have a good weekend John

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  6. Dead jealous, Cuckoo's and Hobbies in the same session!!! Brilliantly done Doug.......

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    1. It's turning into a slightly interesting summer at the site, the Little Owl was a bonus and was tipped off to a yet to be confirmed Barn Owl

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  7. I'd like to echo Paul's comments, Doug. REALLY impressive !!

    Best wishes - - - - Richard

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