Thursday, 31 July 2008

Smudge the amazing trapeze artist!

Meet Smudge......we've called her that as she has a smudgy mark on her chin. We think she's a young sparrow but.........she has an amazing trick.....

first she perches on this particular twig

but she can't quite reach the opening to the feeder so......

.....she bends right over and.......

whoooooops......she zips around and does a whole loop the loop getting a sunflower heart in her beak on the way!
What a clever little sprog! We watched her doing this about 20 times while having a coffee break the other day. Good entertainment! (-:

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Somerset Levels

Early Sunday morning, before it got too hot, I spent a couple of hours down on the Somerset Levels. This is an area of Somerset that is very flat and is criss-crossed with channels of water called rhynes. This is a form of water management that has been in existence for centuries. There is also a history of willow cutting in this area called 'pollarding' for willow baskets and fence hurdles. The area has great character and I love it!

You can just about see a rabbit on the path leading to the hide at Meare Heath.
This Sedge Warbler was very inquisitve and we spent 10 minutes checking eachother out.
The Red Admirals were out in force and were enjoying the Common Valerian.

I came across my namesake on one of the broadwalks, though this isn't the best photo (heavily cropped)...
A Mute Swan posing on one of the rhynes was too good to resist.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

A muggy buggy day!

I spent yesterday afternoon in the garden at home after my morning stint over at the local nature reserve. It got pretty hot and muggy which brought out the bugs and our cat!

There were a couple of really lovely hoverflies which I managed to identify (hopefully) correctly.

This Ladybird is, I'm pretty sure a normal one and not one of those harlequin ones which are becoming such a pest over here. I've since found out that this is indeed a Harlequin ladybird! One that got away.

This lovely Bumble Bee was making the most of the Agapanthus flower.

Last but not least, I don't know what this bug is called, but I liked its big red boggle eyes and dainty toes!

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Rodden Nature Reserve

Twas a beautiful summers morning, perfect for a visit to my local Rodden Nature Reserve. This is the reserve where I help with survey work and maintenence. It is literally just up the road from my home. Today, it was heaving with butterflies. Mostly Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers and Skippers.
It's amazing how focused you can be when you have a target to aim for. Just about 20 yards in front of me I spotted a Marbled White. The first one I've ever seen on this reserve. I was so
single-minded in wanting to get a photo of this butterfly that I walked right through a whole bunch of stinging nettles without noticing.....almost! I find that if you don't touch where they have stung you, it wears off much quicker! Really!

Apart from butterflies, there were also plenty of bugs to be found. Most of these I couldn't identify but they are lovely all the same. Here are a couple of Hoverflies or Bees, not sure which.....

This bug I have called The Heart Bug because of the white heart on it's back. I tried to look up what this is called, but couldn't find it. Any clue to ID from anyone would be much appreciated.

I couldn't resist taking this photo. I love the (almost) symmetry of the leaves and this bulrush.

It was pretty quiet birdwise, but I did manage to snap this Grey Heron and Little Egret. It was a lovely couple of hours over there.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Lotsa Hosta and other stuff.

I was enjoying the hostas this morning while sitting in the garden with a coffee so thought I'd take photos of the different vareigations..........well, I only have three hostas, so not so much lotsa hosta as three! (-:
While enjoying the hostas, I'm close enough to enjoy the pond too. As I was watching, a Southern Hawker started to do some ovipositing on the rocks around the edge of the pond. All of a sudden there was a splosh as a frog leapt out of the pond to try and catch the Hawker. He missed, hence the sheepish expression!

Sometimes I just like to lie on the bench and look up at the sky, it's nice and restful. As I was watching a party of Swifts screaming overhead I noticed this lovely cloud formation, so.....decided get the camera and click........

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Saturday 20th - part 2 - One butterfly wonder

After my trip this morning to Chew Valley Lake I decided this afternoon to visit an area of woodland just down the road from me near Longleat. I have seen Silver-washed Fritillaries here in summers past and I wasn't disappointed today.

Both male and female butterflies showed themselves well as they fed on bramble flowers.
The male is told by the black streaks in the upper wing. What a gorgeous splash of colour they made amongst the deep green of a summer glade!

Saturday 20th - part 1 - One bird wonder

This was a day of two parts. The first part was this morning when I went with a birding friend to Chew Valley Lake. This is a reservoir which holds water for the whole Bristol area. It was pretty quiet there for two main reasons. One, it's high Summer (supposed to be). This is not the best time of year for birding and two, there was a pretty chilly and brisk NW wind blowing.

In spite of this we had a nice time walking around parts of the reservoir and I managed to take some photos of some Black-headed Gulls of which there were quite a few. The juveniles were looking particularly smart.

One gull even thought it could walk on water! (-:

This adult was just showing signs of losing it's black (brown) head for the winter.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Last of the season

I went out this morning to do my final bird survey of this season. Postlebury Wood is about 10 minutes drive from my home in Frome. It is an area of Woodland and lots of cows!!! I'm not too keen on cows unless I'm on the other side of the fence! Here, there were no fences! Most of the time, they just look up at you as your passing, but sometimes they want to come and investigate. Today, as I was trying to find a way out of the field before they became too close for comfort, I sank up to my shins in oozy mud (the cows fault again) and fell into some brambles! I spent the next 5 minutes picking bramble thorns out of my arms. It all went pretty smoothly after that however! (-:

Birdwise, it was pretty quiet, but I was please to see a pair of Ravens. It was also nice to observe a family of Chiffchaffs. I think next year, I shall try and choose some tetrads that dont involve cow pasture though!
Later at home I photographed a couple of moths that I didn't recognise. One I've since found in one of my insect books. It is either a Grey or Dark Dagger. Apparently the only sure way to tell these two species apart is to check out the genitalia, but I don't think I'm going there...........
If anyone can help me out with this other species, I'd be very grateful.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008


I noticed these two bugs in my garden yesterday which I have been unable to identify. I think one is a Ladybird larvae, but it's much more colourful than those shown in books. Any help with these two would be much appreciated.While I was out taking the bug photos, a Goldfinch landed on the phone line to pose.