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Sunday 31 May 2015

Goring but not boring!

Dragonfly freaks will need no reminding that the railway bridge at Goring-on-Thames is reputedly the spot for Club-tailed Dragonflies! Since my step-daughter lives just a few miles away, it was easy to persuade Linda (and her Mum!) that she could drop me off there while she went to visit her three grandchildren!

As is often the case with Odonata, timing is everything: and mine was out! A dozen CTDs have been photographed here over the previous fortnight, but on my visit - despite calm sunny conditions - I didn't find a single dragonfly of any species! There were, however, literally thousands of Banded Demoiselles on the wing...

A very thorough search of the bankside nettles downstream of the bridge turned up a few damselflies: I reckon the vast majority were Blue-tailed Damselflies, but I did see a couple that might have been White-legged......

Other interest was provided by lots of Kites and Buzzards, as well as a large chunky falcon and a few Chiffchaffs!

Friday 29 May 2015

Duxford Kite!

A quick trip to Maidenhead always produces loads of Red Kites: today we've seen a couple of dozen without trying. But the first was unexpected, since it did something I've personally never seen: it swooped down onto the A505 just west of IWM Duxford  and landed briefly on a rabbit carcase!
We stopped to try for a photo, but, startled by my opening the car door, it took off and flew away westwards!

I wonder how long it'll be before Kites become as familiar a site in Norfolk as they are in Bucks?

The first photo is the Duxford kite, the next few are from Mum-in-Law's back garden!


Wednesday 27 May 2015

Barking Bittern, Hobbies and an Odonata tick that wasn't!

Linda and I took a run down to Lakenheath with Brian & Norman to see if we could at least hear the Little Bittern: we did! It barked / croaked ten yards in front of us for several hours without revealing itself: interesting to hear, though!

Cuckoos were everywhere (we must've counted at least a dozen), while Hobbies were down to about the same number from around twenty five last week.

Other interesting stuff included a Red Kite, a fly-over Bittern, a Crane and a damselfly which an enthusiast tried to convince me was a White-legged. I told him I doubted these were on the Suffolk list, but he was most insistent. Looking at the photos when I arrived home suggested the damsel in question was a female Azure, but if any of you know any better, do e-mail me!

(Thanks to James Lowen & Geoff Allen for advice on Damsel I/d!)

After lunch we moved to Weeting Heath, where the Stone Curlews were playing hard to get!  A pair of Spotted Flycatchers were much more obliging, as were a pair of Treecreepers that had made their nest behind the NWT sign!

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Version three!

The trials and tribulations of authorship!
My editor hated version two: so - and this is the last one I'm doing - here's the final proof of the cover! (With the previous two just for fun!)

Monday 25 May 2015

Next book!

The new book should be available in July: it takes in Jaynesian psychology, string theory, quantum mechanics, relativity and lots of freaky accounts by credible witnesses!

Turtle territory!

A few people have pm'd to ask if our garden is over-run and unkempt, in order to attract wildlife: this couldn't be further from the truth!

Linda & I both enjoy gardening, and spend a fair bit of time on ours. I think the regular feeding is what brings the birds in.


Sunday 24 May 2015

Car Boot Bargain

A visit to the A140 Car Boot this morning produced good views of an attractively-marked Buzzard this morning. Linda and I first heard it mewing in the belt of trees to the north of the Park & Ride: after a few minutes it took off and circled away towards Lakenham.

Friday 22 May 2015

Garden invasion!

Despite the presence of Black Stork, Black Kite and Little Bittern in the county, I had a deadline to meet, so I stayed home and managed to complete the first draft of my next book and send it to the editor / designer. (It's called 'Uninvited Companions': I don't suppose you'll have any problems working out that it isn't about gull identification!)

There's always something worth pointing a camera at in the garden at the moment: both male Turtles dropped in from time to time, as did a dozen or more squabbling Starlings with just a single adult to keep them in order!

At the moment we regularly have five species of Columbidae in the garden: Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Feral Pigeon, Stock Dove and Turtle Dove! Linda is also catering for two male Pheasants and their harems, and a pair of Red-legged Partridges (and the odd rat!)