Saturday, 28 May 2011

iSaturday 28th. May 2011

Firstly , another senior moment on yesterday's post has been corrected by Dean/DDD . The longhorn moths are in fact Nemophora degeerella , not as stated . Thanks very much Dean .
Also following on from that post , one of the people I talked to at Stodmarsh about lunchtime , had visited the Heath Fritillary site and then , like me , arrived at Stodmarsh . It now transpires that he has been following this blog for a while now . Good to meet you Mike H , I hope we bump into each other again soon .
Back at Stodmarsh , some other highlights that were heard or seen but not photographed , included a male and female Peregrine hunting high over Harrison Drove hide , one , maybe two Cuckoos , one of which had an unusual call , a Turtle Dove that stayed well concealed in a scrubby area , and at least two Nightingales along the river bank . What was very noticeable by their almost absence , were any Odonata or butterflies , just one Green-veined White and a handful of damsel/dragonflies . The absence of the dragonflies was the probable reason why just three Hobbies were seen , all at a distance . As I said yesterday , the ditches were alive with Warblers , and although I tried all during the visit , it wasn't until just before I left that I manage a couple of shots of the Reed Warbler . The Bramble and Comfrey covered banks of the river produced young of many species feeding or being fed by parents , including Blackcap and Chiffchaff , but by far the most numerous were the young , fluffy Common Whitethroats . Near the viewing ramp , a male Reed Bunting was going through his counting routine , 1 , 2 - 3 , whilst in the nearby ditch , a female had more important things on her mind , filling the ever gaping bill of her young . By the locked hide , I stopped for a while , hoping that a Water Vole might appear , one didn't , but in the water this tiny , at the moment , predator , a Jack Pike , was lying in wait of it's next meal . In all , the visit produced 54 species of birds , which helped make up for the lack of butterflies , damsel and dragonflies . A large threatening cloud encouraged me back towards the car , and on the way found the papus of the Goatsbeard/Jack-goes-to-bed-at-noon .
I decided to head home via the Fritillary site , deciding whether or not to stop depending on the weather . That weather was reasonable as I approached , and on parking the car , found the couple from Nottingham still there photographing . They said that they had had a few sunny intervals , which had encouraged the butterflies to get airborne . I just happened to strike it lucky , as , shortly after taking this shot of two Heath Fritillaries roosting in the overcast conditions , the sun came out , and as if by magic , they opened their wings to warm up . The male is the brighter coloured specimen on the right , the female being slightly drabber . Just before the sun disappeared again , I managed to find a mating pair , and also in the shot , the food plant of this colony , Common Cow-Wheat/Melampyrum pratense , a member of the Lousewort family . The colony in Essex also use this plant , the one on Exmoor use Foxglove/Digitalis purpurea , a member of the Figwort family , whilst in Devon and Cornwall , Ribwort Plantain and Germander Speedwell are used . Very soon after taking this shot , the sky darkened and a heavy shower descended , that was my cue to head home . The couple from Nottingham were still there , but I felt for them as the road reports on the radio told of massive holdups on the M1 in the Nottingham area and to the South , I hope they made it OK .
The surprise find in the garden as were sitting down to eat last evening was a mangy looking Fox , down the bottom , scratching itself ( sorry it wasn't more exciting Warren ) . I only had the 100mm. macro lens on and took this through the patio doors . By the time I got outside , it had jumped our fence into next door , and was just clearing their fence into the next garden .
This morning , it was cooler and windier than yesterday , but I had to go up the Common to check on the Greater Spotted Woodpeckers . As I approached the nest , I could hear an adult 'chipping' in the distance , but no constant call from the hole . Then a single 'chip' from the hole , so I set things up and waited . The male was the first back with food , anf if he looked worried before , then he relly looked worried now , with the youngster almost hanging out of the hole to get it's food . I'm still not sure whether there is 1,2 or 3 young in the nest , my best bet would be 1/2 . Even when the parents are away , the youngster(s) spend a lot of time at the entrance hole , taking in what this big new world is all about . One thing I did notice though , the female fed from down the trunk , encouraging the youngster out of the hole , perhaps a prelude to making it leave the nest , in return for it's food .


Warren Baker said...

Your garden looks a good deal tidier than mine Greenie :-)

Surely those GSW's will fledge soon! Not seen any young ones here yet

Anonymous said...

I had a senior moment too, Greenie. I didn`t realise you were aiming at me the other day when you referred to the colour of the GSW`s head ;-) It was Jan that brought it to my attention.

ShySongbird said...

Well, well! I must be psychic, I had a feeling your surprise garden visitor would be a Fox :)

What a great post again Greenie and lovely photos too. Those fritillaries really are beautiful! Great to see the feeding Reed Buntings.

As for the GSWs, it has been a real treat following them and what lovely pics you got, the ones with the juvenile hanging out of the hole are brilliant!

Mike H said...

Hi Greenie,

Great acount of yesterday at Stodmarsh. Like you I only saw one hairy hawker and no buterflies. Did see 5 hobby once the small amount of sun came out. Have not yet sorted through the fritilaary pics yet but some of my other shots from yesterday can be found here.

Phil said...

Another great post and pics Greenie. Snap with the Longhorns, I found some at New Hythe on friday.
Really like the look of the Fritillaries, I can feel a trip coming on I think.
Time the GSW's left the nest I think, or do they just like having their photo taken?

Ken. said...

Hi Greenie.
That is a great blog account of Stodmarsh, and Blean RSPB reserve.
I intended to go there this week but the windy weather put me off. Can you email me as to roughly where to see the H/Fritillary's. I have been there before.