Thursday, 22 July 2010

Flora and fauna at RNR

I apologise for the delay in this post. It should've gone out earlier this week, but didn't.
Dragonflies and damselflies dominated the couple of short walks around the Reserve, but that didn't mean that there was nothing else about. Here are some of the other bits and pieces I saw.

My current header of this busy Ladybird on a grass stalk.

Two of my favourite wild flowers around the Reserve are the creamy white Meadowsweet and Purple Loosetrife.
Moorhens have been breeding on the Reserve, I couldn't capture any young ones on these walks, but this Adult posed briefly before slipping out of sight into the vegetation.

One of the days I visited, there seemed to be an explosion of Ringlet Butterflies. This is one of the few butterflies that will fly even in a light shower, quite an advantage in our damp climate here in the southwest!

I should know what this is, but I can't recall it right now, maybe flowering rush? Any other suggestions out there?

This beautiful day flying moth is the Scarlet Tiger Moth. Here it is at rest.....

.....and a different individual feeding on thistle flowers.

The forewings have a lovely metallic sheen and the underwings (just about showing here) are a brilliant red.

Another mystery flower, all I know is that it in an umbilifer. Again, any suggestions gratefully received (maybe difficult without the leaves)!

An unidentified grasshopper. I shall call him Gerald! (-:

Another butterfly that was much in evidence was the Small Skipper. Below are various individuals.

Having said earlier that the southwest has a tendency to wet weather, we have had quite a run of dry weather so far this spring/summer. This is not good news for Moles and I found this one on the path. After a brief examination, I could find nothing outwardly wrong with it.

Another day flying moth, this is the 5 spot Burnet Moth again feeding on Thistle.
For this last shot I decided to 'do a Chris' and get down on my belly to get a bugs eye view of the world!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Dragonfest at RNR

A couple of short visits to my local nature reserve recently gave me the opportunity to photograph some of the Dragonflies and Damselflies there. Many thanks to Steve Covey for his help with the ID of one particular species. He has an excellent website for Wiltshires Dragonflies and a link to his blog from this website.
Below is a fresh looking female Broad-bodied Chaser. This medium sized Dragonfly is usually seen over shallow, sunny ponds and lake margins during early summer. Our reserve certainly fits the bill habitat wise.
The male is a beautiful pale blue with a broad body that gives it it's name.
Here is a female Common Darter, a small, restless dragonfly which regularly perches among bankside vegetation. In mild autumns it can still be seen in flight as late as November and occasionally December!
A male Emperor dragonfly. These large Dragonflies are unmistakable with their bright green thorax and sky blue abdomen with black markings. They patrol their chosen area aggressively and rarely settle (in my limited experience!)
I don't know which species the blue damselfly is, but I think the other damselfly is a female banded Demoiselle that is adopting the position (abdomen up) in defence of her perch.
I should've asked Steve about this Damselfly below as well. The colour of the body suggests a male Demoiselle, but there is no darkness in the wing which suggests it is a female. Help!
Here is a close up of the head and thorax.
I'm ok with the name of this one. A male Azure Damselfly. This is a very common Damselfly which has a distribution that stretches from southern Scandinavia to North Africa!
The more I get into learning about these creatures the more I realise how much there is to know! This female Blue-tailed Damselfly is of the form rufescens which means that it commences life with the reddish pink thorax. Within a few days this changes to a yellowish/brown.
Lastly, here is the female White-legged Damselfly. Again, this appears to be a newly emerged one. As it matures it develops from a creamy white into a light green with more pronounced markings. I'm just realising that I need MUCH more spare time to be able to really get into these amazing creatures!
Another close up to finish this Dragonfest!
The next post from Rodden Nature Reserve will show other flora and fauna that I saw on these all too brief visits.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Hot and cool in the garden

I took the camera round the garden the other day (it didn't take long). We have a small plot of about 90 foot long by 15 foot wide, tapering down to 5 foot at the end. In this small space is Chris's workshop and his piles of wood ready to be turned into works of art. Anyway, what's left of the garden after that, gets stuffed with flowers and vegetables and here are some of the plants that are showing well at the moment. I graded them from hot colours through to lovely cool blues.
A lovely wine red Hydrangea (the colour is a bit deeper than shown here).
Some fiery hot Calendulas.
A nice mix of Poppies.
I have a soft spot for Primulas even though they seem to struggle in my garden.
This soft yellow one below has the most gorgeous, delicate scent. I think it is Primula Florindae.
Both Chris and I love Ferns and we're building up a nice collection gradually.
One of my Hostas escaped the snails this year!
This is an Allium, but I can't remember which one, maybe Frank could help me out?
Another of my favourites is Salvias, this one is East Freisland I think.
This Clematis was sold as a clump forming variety last year! This year it seems to want to escape its clumpy personality. I don't mind really, it looks good rambling over the rocks around the pond.
This is our first try of growing Sweat Peas. Lovely cool shades!

Another Hydrangea, this one a cool blue.
It's also a double flower. Lovely!
Well, I couldn't get out in the garden without my under-gardener helping out. She doesn't do much work, but likes to find a comfy spot to lounge around and delegate!

Her seat is actually a log of Holly that Chris will be cutting up shortly to use for inlay work.
You'll have to find somewhere else next time Pops!

Monday, 5 July 2010

New Forest weekend - Acres Down and home

Having spent the morning at Needs Ore Point, we headed inland to a well known place to see Honey Buzzards (a rare summer visitor to Britain). First things first though, was finding a shady spot to have lunch!
We needed a good view overlooking the New Forest in order to search for Honey Buzzards and Acres Down is one of the more well known spots to come for this purpose. It was hot out in the open, but luckily for us, there was a blissful breeze to encourage us. After about an hour of scrutinising small dots in the distance trying to make one of them into our target species, we were rewarded with a reasonably close scope view of one. This was a life bird for a couple of our group, always a good way to end a club weekend! (-:
Again, this area of the New Forest seemed to be filled with Birch, though there is plenty of Oak and Holly as well as Pine too.
A particularly striking growth on this large Birch tree, caused by some sort of irritant.
The Pine cones were full of deep rich colouring.

A lovely pure white wild Rose flower.
Large Skipper enjoying the sunshine.

And finally, just to show you that it's not just ponies that roam wild in this part of the country (the speed limit throughout the New Forest is 40mph)
Just before this weekend, I thought that it was going to be too hot to be a successful birding weekend. I was proved more than wrong!