Tuesday, 29 June 2010

New Forest Birding Weekend - Day 1 part 1

This last weekend I went on a Bristol Ornithological Club trip to the New Forest in the county of Hampshire. The New Forest is about 1.5 hours south east of where I live and is mostly a mix of heathland and ancient Woodland. There were 12 of us on the weekend and here are some of the group striding out to start our first days birding.
As mentioned in previous posts, there are hundreds if not thousands of semi wild ponies wandering free throughout the Forest area. These are owned animals and are rounded up each year to be branded.
At this time of year there were plenty of foals about and it was hard to resist taking loads of photos!
There were plenty of these boggy peaty areas which proved wonderful for Dragonflies and Damsels.
I don't often see Cotton Grass, but whenever I do, I always find it photogenic!
One of the charismatic Dragonflies around these boggy areas was the Four-spotted Chaser. This one looks to be an immature and was my first sighting of this species. I love the touch of gold in the wings.
I could easily have spent hours here if I'd been on my own and I would have needed to in order to get really decent photos as these creatures are just sooooo restless!
Another new tick for me was this Keeled Skimmer (I obviously need to get out in the summer more!) (-:
Another inhabitant of the bogs was this lovely green frog. I'm not good on frog ID and so would appreciate any suggestions as to which one this is?
The Forest ponies also get attracted to the open water and these three dropped by for a drink while we were there. They seem to take no notice of humans, but I'm not sure what they'd do if they were approached. We just let them be and enjoyed them from a reasonable distance.
Yet another new species for me (I was having a good insect day) was the Silver-studded Blue Butterfly. This species is a rarity in Britain and is very localised to particular habitats. Here in Hampshire, it favours the short Heathland and feeds on various species of Heather, Gorse and Bird's-foot Trefoil.
The male is distinguished from other Blues by it's clear white fringing and wide black border on the upperwings.
The underwing is distinctive too with a broad band of orange next to the black eyespots. It doesn't show up well on this photo, but there are also blue 'studs' on the hindwing which give the butterfly it's name.
The next post will be in the shade of the New Forest woods.


Chris said...

Wow what a superb walk you got and so many nice pictures. I love the two last one but the whole set is nice... if you have too much sun you can send some over here, we did not see it for 3 weeks!!

Eve said...

Your photos are spectacular Jenny! That beautiful sunshine really helps! LOVE all the critters. The ponies are just beautiful, dragonflies perfectly photographed.
Wow! Thanks Jenny!

Anonymous said...

Lovely post Jen.
A Silver-studded Blue and a Keeled Skimmer on the same day. {:((
Yes Ponies wandering free, especially on the roads.

Rural Rambler said...

Jen lucky you to get out on the weekend and do what you love and lucky us that you shared. I am enjoying the shots of the Forest ponies. From the looks of things it looks like they are having a good life. I will have to ask you about them later, I didn't realize someone owned them. I thought they were wild I suppose. My favorite here are your beautiful shots of the Silver-studded Blue Butterfly. I love the white fringie border on the wings. Such a beautiful color of blue-very pretty. Another great header Jen!

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

You had me when you said "heathland and ancient Woodland," Jenny. What an amazing adventure. The ponies were definitely a Plus - I love ponies and horses. AND, missy, I'm completely envious of your dragonfly photos. Just look at the bokeh in those first two - dreamy! The little blue butterfly is superb and I cannot wait for the next installment!

Jenny said...

Hi Chris, well for a change, we've had pretty good weather and I wish I could send some your way. I hope it brightens up for you soon!

Hi Evie, I could've/should've taken more sweet foal photos. Plenty of opportunities! There was a big Emperor Dragonfly flying a circuit around that boggy area, but he just wouldn't stop at all. I should have tried for some aerial shots I guess. Nothing ventured......

Hi Roy, yes I was lucky, what with the 4 spotted too. It was a insect fest that day!

Hi Pix, well, actually I'm pretty ignorant on the ins and outs of the Forest Ponies, but I'll google it and see what comes up. Glad you like the Silver-studded Blue photos. I was chuffed to see them let alone photograph them!

Hi Debs, well I'll have to look bokeh up in the dictionary!!! (-: I assume you mean the round bubbles in the background! I love talking techno!!!(-: It was a great weekend and I'm jolly glad I have something to blog about after a wee drought!

Mary said...

What a great place to walk! That foal is just beautiful! I have trouble with walks like this because I want to stop constantly and take too many photos :-) Love the dragonflies...neat to see what different ones you have over there. YOu got great shots of them. The blue butterflies are wonderful, too. I can never get them to open their wings for me. That cottongrass is really different! I've never seen it before, but would like to see some. They certainly named it well.

Kelly said...

Wow! You have such beautiful images in this post. The little blue butterflies are so pretty, and I love all the horses. Wonderful detail on the dragonflies as well!