Tuesday, 20 June 2017


Considering I don't really 'do' moths, its been a pretty interesting period lately! Firstly I had a female Eyed Hawkmoth doing a pretty good impression of a leaf in my garden on the 9th June!

Finding my Dactylorhiza orchids just as appealing as they are to me!

Didn't even think of trying to tickle the eyes into view? Oh well...

Finding my Dactylorhiza orchids just as appealing as they are to me!

Then today, Tom Lowe kindly tipped me off - he had trapped a Poplar and two Elephant the previous evening. Would I like to photograph them? WOULD I, not half??

Here's the Poplar Hawkmoth, sporting a little wear / damage sadly...

The Elephant Hawkmoths were pristine and I decided to create a bit of a studio, courtesy of some black card, a couple of sticks and the 100mm macro lens!

Time for one or two unusual angles?

Particularly lovin' the head on views :-)

A slippery slope but I haven't quite got smitten to start trapping (yet!) Let's hope some more turn up this summer? Oh and thanks a million Tom!!

And if you never checked out the Scilly 'beast' from October 2016? Here's an impressive Death's Head Hawkmoth courtesy of Mick and Will Scott's trap...

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Prees - Quail and Channel Wagtail!

Howard Prince and Rob Dowley have been putting some hours in lately checking the Prees area for Quail and scored with one calling and showing Saturday night. I spent a couple of hours in the morning to no avail but decided to return in the evening... 

Against a backdrop of Skylarks, Yellowhammer and general birdsong (plus passing cars) it wasn't easy but my luck came good at 8.15 when a Quail started calling across the wheat field. After calling four times in 5 minutes, it was not heard again. I'd seen a likely candidate drop in the field out of the corner of my eye seconds earlier (and it had switched fields from the previous eve).

Even better was to come... With one or two Yellow Wagtails in the area and one carrying food, something drew me to a brighter male flying over! It landed about 100m away and through the viewfinder I could clearly see a 'powder blue' head, first for this year but sadly a 'nothing' hybrid between M. flava and flavissima - Channel Wagtail. It perched up briefly a little nearer...

The paleness of the head and pure white throat rule out Blue-headed Wagtail...

Smarter than both parents and soon lost as it flew over the road, a little stunner!

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Venus Pool - Common Tern

A rather 'late' Common Tern dropped in at Venus Pool today (thanks for the heads up Tim!) and was clearly going nowhere in a hurry as it rested on one of the middle islands for much of the afternoon.

Aside from just resting, it had a drink...

Paddled about a bit!

The occasional short flight...

And sometimes came a little closer!

Just one chance against the blue sky!

Still there when I left at 4.15 and still short flight hopping...

Terns and one or two passage birds aside, it's been a miserable wader time at VP due to 'reservoir' conditions throughout Spring... I'm the eternal optimist however and it will hopefully be a more productive Autumn from the new hide extension :-) !

Friday, 9 June 2017

Venus Pool - Little Grebes cute time...

Once the (very brief) Lesser Pecker display had taken place, what else was there for me to do during my unproductive Osprey vigil? I had to turn my attention to the locals... Coots fighting, Herons fighting but the Little Grebes in front of the hide, remained resolutely cute !

Leave me in peace?

"Can you catch us a fish"? "Can I climb on your back"?

This attempt ended in failure!


If at first you don't succeed...

No room for two on here, despite the protestations!

Just try and resist going ahhhhhhhh?

'Not so cute' time coming next... It's yet another fishy photostory!

Venus Pool - Little Grebe vs Stickleback

This ought to be a fair contest? I know Sticklebacks are small but so are Little Grebes! So, pitching a 'large as they come' Stickleback against a Little Grebe chick provides an uncertain outcome...

Setting the scene...

It's a busy life for the parents ferrying fish, from the microscopic through to medium size.

And whoever gets there first takes the spoils!

But wait a minute, this is surely too big for the little un?

Down to you...

No way? surely it's time to rethink this?

It's not going to fit is it?

Gulp... it is!

Down the hatch...

And the winner is.. the gutsy Little Grebe!

Venus Pool - Lesser Peckers!

I was hoping for the Osprey which has been hanging around the area for a while and managed to keep my eyes open checking out the nearby bushes from the memorial hide. Watching a Garden Warbler singing, I suddenly became aware of a Woodpecker dropping in close by... that looks small... crikey, small enough to be only one thing! A male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker :-)

And it was carrying food!

Imagine my surprise when this youngster flew in - another male...

They both sat there for a few seconds as the food was passed and then flew out of the back!

In the current climate, compared to Osprey, Lesser Pecker is probably the better bird!! They must be breeding nearby which is good news, probably the wood opposite the access road? Second juv in successive years too, a good omen!