Archive for the ‘Natural History’ Category

Was videoing the feeder at Bough Beech and managed to extract this set of stills of a Blue Tit landing on the feeder

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Last week whilst I was doing the weekly survey I came across a moth resting in amongst the flowers in the garden. Now I confess I don’t know a lot about Moths but thanks to the help of a facebook group it was soon identified as a Silver Y Moth (Autographa Gamma). A common Moth it is named after the y-shaped mark on its wing.

 

Bald Eagle

Posted: May 28, 2018 in Birds, Natural History, USA
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Brings back memories of the only one I have ever seen in the wild during a trip to Minneapolis and the wonderful national park situated in the river valley on the city edge. What a magnificent bird!

40 An America Bald Eagle that I found along the banks of the Susquehanna River back in August of 2016. I have not gotten close enough to one this year to get any usable shots.

via Bald Eagle #40 — talainsphotographyblog

A rough sea

Posted: May 22, 2018 in Landscape, Natural History, Norfolk, UK
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During the recent trip to Norfolk, Keitha and I experienced a day with 60 mph winds and driving rain. We avoided the coast that day, but the following morning we went down to the front and although the winds had dropped the sea was still rough.

 

 

It makes you wonder what it was like there on the day of the gale?

It is always great to find out about new places where you haven’t been before. We have spent a number of holidays in SW Wales though not for some years now, but I have never been to Caldy Island. Finding such places is a lovely surprise as we had on the way back from Weymouth earlier this year when quite by chance we found Blashford Lakes in Hampshire which turned out to be an absolutely fantastic wildlife spot.

If you like wildlife in and around Europe then I recommend that you follow  https://naturewatchingineurope.wordpress.com/

https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d11778.508855175078!2d-4.705899478970437!3d51.63920895778777!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x486ecb00c56d525d%3A0xf9233eb99eb1f2d6!2sCaldey%20Island!5e0!3m2!1sen!2suk!4v1526591082152

Caldey Island isn’t the first place you’d think about when looking for nature-watching sites in Pembrokeshire, but it does have some advantages over the other islands. First, it is easy to get to, with boats every half hour or so from Tenby Harbour, starting around 10am, every day except Sunday. Second, if you are not […]

via Caldey Island — Nature-Watching in Europe

This reminds me of a very good holiday we had in Menorca some years ago. I am sure it is more developed now but it is good to know that the wildlife is still worth visiting.

Martin Tayler's bird blog & nature photos

Menorca has the only resident population of Egyptian vultures in Europe (around 100 pairs) and so it would have been disappointing not to see them. We walked along the gorge from Santa Galdana on the south coast with wild flowers adorning the route to a backdrop of dramatic limestone cliffs and birdsong all around. We had sightings of booted eagle and black kites on our way and were well rewarded with good views of Egyptian vultures at the end of the gorge.

DSC05305DSC05287DSC05293DSC05321DSC05359Egyptian vultures

DSC05049Booted eagle

DSC05628Black kite

On the return journey we also saw a kestrel, more views of booted eagles and kites and even a pair of little egrets. The most stunning aspect of this walk was the birdsong; we had no difficulty in recognising Cetti’s warbler but were grateful to some birders who pointed out nightingales and Siberian chiffchaff. The nightingales were everywhere and filled the valley…

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A hot and sunny bank holiday Monday, the hottest day of the year so far, saw Sue and I heading south from London to the RSPB reserve at Pulborough Brooks on the River Arun. This is one of the country’s premier places to hear the Nightingale. This small bird with its attractive rich song is becoming increasingly rare.

However, our first excitement was to happen before we got to the reserve when a Western Osprey flew across the road at speed, being pursued by Carrion Crows which wanted it out of their territory.

Osprey KC

Osprey in flight (Keith Cutting, Rutland 2017)

On arrival at the reserve, we made our way to the courtyard area, which is one of the best areas on the reserve and we were not disappointed as soon we were listening to a male belting out his song from an area of bushes. Some people, though not us, were fortunate enough to see him through the undergrowth but they usually remain well hidden from sight.

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Nightingale. Photo by Kev Chapman (https://www.flickr.com/photos/25553993@N02/)

Moving on we arrived at a hide overlooking the river valley but it was fairly quiet with only a few waterbirds and waders plus some Highland cattle trying to keep cool.

 

Whilst walking along the track we came across a group of people watching the trackside bank, where a Weasel was hunting, totally ignoring the people watching it. It explored every hole in the bank it could find and eventually found a mouse nest. We saw the adult mouse explode from the hole and run away and then we continued to watch as the Weasel carried the young mice from the nest back to its own hole and presumably its own young.

Our final highlight of the day was to watch two young Tawny Owls roosting in a tree. They can’t fly yet so can only move by jumping and climbing but this has not, apparently, stopped them moving from tree to tree.

Then, with the heat beginning to tell, we headed back to the centre and a nice cold drink before making our way home with some great memories.

 

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Osprey [sp] (Pandion haliaetus)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Tawny Owl [sp] (Strix aluco)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Willow Warbler [sp] (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Common Nightingale [sp] (Luscinia megarhynchos)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)

Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Green-veined White [sp] (Artogeia napi)
Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

The weather today could not be more different from that which we experienced yesterday. The wind had dropped, it was dry and the sun was shining! The bad weather of the day before had grounded a lot of migrants and even before we set out there were reports of a number of Pied Flycatchers being seen along the Norfolk coast. So first stop this morning was at Weybourne church to see if we could locate one. There was plenty evidence of the commoner warblers and songbirds, but no sign of Pied Flycatcher.

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Weybourne Church

Our next stop was at Salthouse Marsh. Most of the coastal area of North Norfolk is now protected land, in the custody of one conservation organisation or another. Salthouse Marsh, like the adjoining Cley Marsh, is in the custody of the Norfolk wildlife trust. Here there was further evidence of spring migration parties of Barn Swallows, House Martins and 2 Northern Wheatears.

Salthouse Marsh and Goldfinch

Walking along the coast we crossed over into Cley Marsh. Forewarned by another birder, we kept a lookout for a Whinchat which had been seen around the entrance to the hide and sure enough we located it perched on a fence post.

Whinchat

Entering the hide, we soon located a Little-ringed Plover on the water’s edge. A Red Kite was a welcome fly over whilst we were here. The population in North Norfolk of this species is growing and they are now becoming a regular sighting.

Moving on eastward, we came to the main part of the reserve where parties of Red Knot and Sand Martin were further evidence of spring migration.

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Cley Marsh

With the afternoon pressing on, we decided to finish by exploring a new habitat that we so far hadn’t explored on this trip. Keith had noticed an area of woodland on the edge of Cromer and so we concluded the day with a walk through East Wood, which forms part of the grounds of Cromer House. It was productive as we added a number of species including Willow Warbler, Eurasian Nuthatch, Eurasian Treecreeper, Jay and Green Woodpecker.

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East Wood, Cromer

We celebrated the conclusion of our Norfolk trip, which despite the weather had been very successful, with a dinner of fish and chips, what else, at an eatery overlooking the sea, where we watched the sun setting over the coast and our excursion to this lovely part of the country.

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Little Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius dubius)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Red Knot [sp] (Calidris canutus)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Rock Dove [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Skylark [sp] (Alauda arvensis)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Willow Warbler [sp] (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Eurasian Treecreeper [sp] (Certhia familiaris)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)
Northern Wheatear [sp] (Oenanthe oenanthe)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)
Common Linnet [sp] (Linaria cannabina)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

On our arrival in Norwich, we made our way to the Cathedral Close to look and see if we could see the nesting Peregrines. The nest is on a platform located on a window-ledge on the spire (marked with a red dot on photo).

We couldn’t see the bird on the nest as she was keeping well down but eventually located her mate perched on a ledge further up the spire (marked with a blue dot on photo).

The pair have two chicks, one hatched 3rd of May and the second on the 4th May. The live web-cam of the nest can be seen at  http://upp.hawkandowl.org/norwich-peregrines/norwich-cathedral-peregrine-live-web-cam-2018/

 

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At least it was dry when we started out this morning, although this didn’t last long. Our destination today was the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Cley Marshes. As we arrived a Great White Egret flew across the road. After a break for a coffee in the visitor centre, we made our way out onto the reserve, A Bearded Reedling was heard in the reed-bed along with Cetti’s, Sedge and Reed Warblers. A Sedge Warbler gave excellent views and whilst following it when it flew we found a Northern Wheatear sitting on top of a bush.

 

Sedge Warbler

On the marsh, there were good numbers of Avocets and Black-tailed Godwits along with a few Redshank and a couple of Ringed Plover. A Marsh Harrier quartered the reed-bed and a couple of Common Buzzards were seen over the nearby hills.

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Marsh Harrier

On our way back to the centre we had a brief view of a Bearded Reedling and a group of barn Swallows low over the marsh feeding. In the afternoon we set off across the marsh towards the coast. On the way, we saw Mute Swan and Greylag Geese along with Mallard, Gadwall, Redshank and Oystercatcher. The gale was blowing in off the North Sea and no birds were seen on the Sea. A couple of Kittiwakes and an unidentified tern passed along the coast before we made our way back to Cley Village.

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On our way back to our base in Cromer, we stopped off at Sheringham, where we had tea in the buffet at the North Norfolk Railway.

 

                                 Locomotive in steam and Station Refreshment room,                                 Sheringham Station, North Norfolk railway

Afterwards, we walked down to the seafront to search for Ruddy Turnstone. A group of 5 were found sheltering behind the seawall. The gale has grown in strength and as soon as we had photographed the birds we beat a retreat back into the town to catch a bus back to Cromer.

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Ruddy Turnstone

 

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Egret [sp] (Ardea alba)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius hiaticula)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Ruddy Turnstone [sp] (Arenaria interpres)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-legged Kittiwake [sp] (Rissa tridactyla)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Bearded Reedling [sp] (Panurus biarmicus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Northern Wheatear [sp] (Oenanthe oenanthe)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)