Friday, 20 July 2018

Hairstreaks, Fritillaries and other excellent insects: a day in Suffolk

Linda and Sue had organised a day out birding for the four of us: in the event the stars of the show turned out to be insects rather than birds!

A latish start saw us arriving at Theberton Woods around 10.30: we were just in time to see a Purple Emperor flitting over the clearing, but it never came close enough for a photograph. Lots of dragonflies did, however: Southern Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Brown Hawker and Emperor being the pick. A few Purple Hairstreaks put in an occasional appearance: we were to obtain better views later on.

As midday was approaching, we decided on a move to Minsmere, enjoying a relaxed lunch before walking down the Sandy Path to the sea. Not unexpectedly, on the way we added Jewelled Wasp, Bee Wolf and Six-belted Clearwing to the day's tally. Lots of Little Gulls and Kittiwakes on East Scrape, as well as an adult Yellow-legged Gull and several species of returning waders.

Next move was to Dunwich Forest, where a false start down the wrong trail gave us splendid views of White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary, as well as literally hundreds of the more-expected species of butterfly. Having found the right Elm bushes, a little patience eventually rewarded us with excellent views of a White-letter Hairstreak.

Supper in the 'Red Lion' in Dunwich before returning home - what a terrific day out in great company!


Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Red Squirrels!

I just realised that I forgot to post any photos of the two delightful young Red Squirrels that Linda and I saw on the last day of our Northumberland holiday. The hide - in the woods at Wallington, near Morpeth - is terrific and allows wonderful views of these charming little creatures, as well as many excellent woodland birds.

Spoonbill Summer!

At the moment there are Spoonbills everywhere in Norfolk: in many locations they are breeding - who would have dreamt it twenty years ago? Little Egrets are even more common: many people barely raise their binoculars, but I love them!

Yesterday at Cley there were seven Spoonies  in front of the centre hides, as well as a delightful little Green Sandpiper: hardly a day at the coast is unrewarded by birds that used to be great rarities...
Be gentle with me! Might the gull be a Caspian?

Toilet moths!

As is customary for two old geezers like Brian and myself, a visit to the toilet at Titchwell took precedence over the Yellowlegs yesterday. Now whether they'd left the light on all night, or maybe just the door, but there were (as far as I could tell) around thirty different species of moth, totalling a couple of hundred individuals adorning the walls and ceiling. Needless to say, I was alone when I whipped out my camera and took a few hasty shots in poor light. I reckon someone will find something unusual in there one day: Titchwellicus khazeri, perhaps?

Lesser Yellowlegs - the movie!

This being such an obliging bird, it seemed silly not to take a bit of video!

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Lesser Yellowlegs: what a little beauty!

Some rare or unusual birds are just... well, ordinary: but not today's Lesser Yellowlegs at Titchwell: it was gorgeous! Brian and I left early and were in Island Hide by 8.00am: the 'legs was just a few metres in front of us! It remained there (apart from a brief fly-around) until we left at 10.30, allowing some decent photos, even for we miserable Pentax users! The only frustration was the fact it was often in silhouette, so the yellowness of the legs wasn't always apparent.

A trio of Spotted Redshank remained near the path, as well as lots of Godwits (both species as well as a few Nene Washes breeders!) A few Little Gulls were somewhat upstaged by the numerous family groups of Mediterranean Gulls: really interesting to see the recently-fledged youngsters.

After coffee we moved on to Cley: I'll post up the images from there later!