Monday, 23 June 2014

Monday 23rd. June 2014

A picture catch up on the last few days .
This Wood Mouse ballooned as it gorged on the sunflower seeds in the back garden .
This Song Thrush was going mad in a neighbour's garden when we returned from shopping .
Unfortunately , a pair of Magpies were searching for it's nest and found it , removing all four chicks .
A visit to Hutchinsons Bank found this female Humming-bird Hawk Moth , busily egg laying on Hedge Bedstraw / Galium mollugo .
A look at the batch of Peacock eggs as I was leaving , found many already hatched .
After a sweaty few days for Keith , on Saturday morning , a visit to Ashdown Forest found 'Short-toed Eddie' still in residence , albeit at distance , across the valley from Gills Lap car park .
The local Magpies tried to move him on .
In his own time , he lifted off majestically ,
And was soon in 'hunting mode' . Keith and others actually watched it land and take a probable Adder , before taking off again and swallowing it in flight , like slurping down spaghetti .
Even one of the local Ravens looked diminutive against 'Eddie' and didn't worry him .
Having had our fill , we headed for Old Lodge Reserve to search for Odonata . On our way along the
top track it was good to see good numbers of Common Redstart with young , although the adults
were never far away , keeping a watchful eye . Woodlark and Tree Pipit were also seen , but not the
hoped for Spotted Flycatcher . Juvenile Stonechats were also seen , waiting to be fed .
The ponds on the way down to the stream in the valley produced male Keeled Skimmer ,
Four-spotted Chaser , pictured , Azure , Common and Large Red Damselflies , along with Broad-bodied Chaser and Emperor Dragonfly , including an egg laying female , but not the hoped for Small Red Damselfly . The stream proved to be the best area as a Brilliant Emerald was holding the attention of photographers gathered , as it charged up and down , being attacked by the other species .
It returned a couple of times to a Heather perch on the bank I was on , and without falling in , managed to get a couple of shots . A Golden-ringed Dragonfly also appeared at intervals , but wasn't prepared to be photographed , disappearing almost as quickly as arriving . A male Beautiful
Demoiselle did everything possible to encourage a female to mate , but all she wanted to do was to sit in the sunshine .
Common Darters were found , freshly emerged on the way back up the slope , but not the  hoped for Black Darter . Our final stop of the visit was over the other side of the Forest to look for Silver-studded Blue , which we failed to find .
But we were treated to a Grass Snake swimming across one of the ponds ,
Several more Emperor Dragonfly , finally getting a male in flight in the viewfinder ,
and a Golden-ringed Dragonfly that we watched hunting around a Gorse patch , finally catching what looked like a bee , and settling to eat it's meal . Our final treat was a pair of Turtle Dove that Keith located calling , deep in Willow ,  giving a brief glimpse before flying off .
This morning , in a short sunny spell before lunch , and on the strength of a call from the other Keith last evening , I spent an hour in the area between Burnt Gorse and the Orchid Bank looking for the Silver-washed Fritillary that he has seen yesterday . I ended up with 3 sightings , with two males together in the same glade that he had seen one in . A bonus was another first for the year , a White Admiral , nectaring on Bramble , just as the clouds rolled in , and the WA headed for the trees beyond .


Warren Baker said...

Went to try and see the Eagle yesterday Greenie, but failed to find it :-(

A good few days wildlifing for you by the looks of it!

I have photo's of a welsh Golden Ringed Dragonfly eating a bee, I'll post the images up when I have edited them - I only took about 150 GRD photo's!

Marc Heath said...

A great account Greenie, loving those dragonfly shots though.

Phil said...

Good stuff Greenie. Might have to return to Ashdown and try for the Brilliant Emerald.

Ken. said...

Good to see you caught up with Eddie the Eagle, record pics too. Really nice variety of wildlife photo's from there. Like the cheeky Wood Mouse.