Thursday, 30 June 2011

Shropshire - Little Owl

With Long-eared Owl continuing to evade the Shropshire list this year and Tawny’s long fledged, I chanced a late evening visit to a local site for Little Owls. I was instantly into a youngster staring back at me

Despite all the downy plumage, quite active and capable of hop/flight around the tree...

it wasn’t long before one of the parents got in on the act too.

They were soon joined by another youngster and the other parent, both of whom seemed more camera shy and it was down to individual rather than family portraits!

Interesting poses from the adult (just look at the difference a little bit of sunshine makes).....

The fading light eventually brought an end to proceedings!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Atcham - White legged Damsels

I’m gradually expanding the range of images available in the Odonata gallery and I had realised I was missing teneral and female White-legged Damselfly! A quick call at the Severn near Atcham soon put that to rights!

Quite a few teneral damsels were on the wing, easily recognised by the orange pink hue of the thorax / abdomen

Mature females have a typically pale green colouration and were certainly in the minority seen today

Plenty of adult and maturing males

I couldn't ignore this male Banded Demoisselle either!

Venus Pool - Spot Flys galore!

I’ve been neglecting VP of late but a report from Helen G of a family of Spotted Flycatcher was certainly worth checking out despite being well into the evening!

As she reported, they were still by the Norfolk ditch and one of the adults was using the fence posts to launch insect forays,

I couldn’t miss the end game for the insects – the three recently fledged youngsters were huddled together on a branch of one of the birch trees

Here comes supper

Family moment

Eventually, a noisy party of Jackdaws came on the scene and fledglings all flew off, relocating to the hedgerow nearby.

A quick check of the pool produced 3 LRPs, 2 Curlew, the usuas and this smart Black-tailed Godwit

Sunday, 26 June 2011

South Shropshire - In the Gutter

No pictures from midweek but the Shropshire list finally got a Tern included with the wonderful sight of at least 12 Common Terns on Chelmarsh Reservoir Wednesday evening. It remains predictably quiet however on the birding front so an insect mission was planned today

Catherton common was my destination but I had a quick call at Longnor bridge where I got the first Beautiful Demoiselles of the year, two males on overhanging branches beneath the bridge

I arrived at Catherton late morning – temperatures in the mid 20s already – wellies were donned and I walked the track to Cramer Gutter

Once I reached the stream, I was instantly into Keeled Skimmers, mostly mature males

With a few immatures....

And some in between!

Females too - an obliging teneral....

The high temperatures certainly didn’t put the mockers on their urge to reproduce!

My main aim was Golden-ringed Dragonfly – I’d seen one briefly fly up the stream and not return. After well over an hour on site I got an opportunity, this stunning fresh male, returned and landed briefly within range! Well happy!

A few Ringlet and Common Blue butterflies were on the wing and I’d seen one or two Fritillary on the wing, I was pretty sure these were Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and this was proved correct when one actually stopped for a record shot of the underwing!

Another rather worn individual!

Hard to resist the stands of Sundew too!

By now the temperature was closing in on 30’C, I’d really had enough and there was one more site to visit – Titterstone Clee