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Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Mad as a wasp...

Wings normally tight to the body 
Large Skipper, male

Scorpion fly

Scorpion fly, female

Scorpion fly, male (upturned tail)

Troglodytes troglodytes

Azure Blue damselfly

ischnura elegans blue f 

Ischnura elegans f rufescens

Ischnura elegans f violacea

10 May – before the bread chuckers

Now, deserted Mute Swan nest, Preston Docks

Regular visitors will know about my 'memory' problems, not just my own physical incapabilities but the use and size of imagery on a blog – so I have experimented and reduced the file size but I'm none too impressed by the image quality... more work in progress methinks alas.

Mad as a wasp because whichever way I turn this year... again I noticed the adult blue tits were not attending the nest box, and after two or three days I knew the young had not fledged so it was worth getting the step ladders out and sure enough five dead fledgings left in the nest – clearly no adults to feed them. Last year exactly the same thing happened only 14 dead fledgings were left. I am sure it is the local cats.

The blackbird nest under my bedroom window has failed with four eggs (completely empty) and I think that is probably magpie (seen thereabouts), the blackbird nest in the back hedge failed with three eggs, I fear cats again (possibly grey squirrel) and the blackbird nest in the Honeysuckle has failed, all I know is it is empty after the female had  been sat for at least 10 days... again I put those failures down to cats. The Long Tailed Tit nest never really got finished, cats seen climbing the tree. A Moorhen had been sat for ten days on six eggs and now there is an empty nest and no sign of any young or adults – probably mink. And to top it all, down at Preston Docks the Mute Swan nest has failed, I had seen three eggs but now it is deserted only one remains. Not a good year! Not a happie chappie.

I was once told, 'domestic' cats killing birds and bringing them home (let alone biting just the heads off my garden toads and frogs) 'it's only nature'... well that would be fine if domestic cats had predators too and were prey, I'll have to try that one on the RSPCA when the Rotweillers are set loose, 'its only nature'.... that's a joke, I don't have any dogs and I wouldn't dream of such a thing; if anything it's man's activities that affect 'the nature way',grey squirrel (introduced from North America), mink (released from captivity), cats (left feral), people chucking bread at nesting Swans... garrruummp!

Meanwhile a few images while out on my local patch. I know northink about insects etc, and am intrigued by the variations in damselflies*. The Large Skipper was a first of the year, despite apperance is a butterfly and the Scorpion flies 'interesting'. A small shoal of chub appeared on the surface on an unusually cold and overcast day, normally it is bright and sunny. And we appear to have wrens on territory every 50 yards or so, must be 6 pair at least in no distance at all... hear them but not often out in the open.

*Not much of a clue, so please feel free to correct me on mis-identification. Thanks.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

More of the last waders



Only a few Knot mixed in the roost

Turnstone on the change of plummage

Apart from resting the sand-blasting meant keeping ones eyes closed

The heavy seas began to bring ashore large numbers of jellyfish 
and as the tide turned these were left stranded and appeared to be a welcome snack

It is easy to lose the sense of scale of these small birds

The last of the seaside waders?

The forecast for Monday was doom and gloom with an Amber weather warning from the Met office – 70mph winds and torrential rain, so what more better time than a visit to Rossall to see if any of the waders were left before departing north! The reality was I was two-thirds of the way there on an errand, the days chores complete; the leaden skies of the morning had passed for clear blue skies without a cloud to be seen and high tide due. Mind you it was blowing a 'hoolie', very strong winds which whipped up the sand, provding a good sand-blasting and merely trying to stand and focus was problematic, let alone trying to protect one's equipment, including the camera!

When I arrived, working my way into place with great stealth and time... yep the old dog walkers came to the rescue! The whole promenade, coastal path and beach but no, they have to come onto the stretch I am photographing, dogs running wild into the few birds huddled as best they could out of the wind. The sand-blasting also meant the waders needed to get out of the atrocious conditions as best they could and flying into the wind was problematic so small groups huddled where they could but the conditions did seem to upset them and from time to time small groups lifted off – so I perched myself on the surfline of the mountainous seas and concentrated on trying to capture the birds in the air.

Mostly Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Sanderling, a dozen Turnstone and Knot were the feature as they were turning into summer plummage and no doubt departing these shores, if they haven't already done so now, a few days later.

The photos full size on the computer screen are OK but I've noticed do not work quite so well small, so you may wish to double-click an image to enlarge it. I had understood the files were compressed when I uploaded them but that does not seem to be the case – hence me using up my image storage allocation – therefore these images have been turned into low resolution images, quite how successful they are remains to be seen. I hope I have manged to capture the spirit of the day and these fab waders... how many species can you spot?

(On the way home, late in the evening I called at Newton Marsh to see the male Garganey, accompanied by 3 male Shoveler, 3 Shelduck and 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Redshank, as well as the Mallard, Coot and Moorhen etc)

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Patience please

While I do not have a lot of news or new posts, while I sort out my memory allowance and remove some images to make space for new ones, please bear with me. In the meantime may I suggest you visit a new blog by Martin Jump. As it is a new blog Martin is finding his feet and adding new images all the time but I am sure you find something of interest and some quality photography. Hopefully new posts from me coming soon!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Message for Bloggers and my reader – there is a limit

Dear Reader
You may have seen my comments regarding a number of problems I have had recently adding to this site. As you will know, I am no 'techie'. The reality has now dawned and been confirmed. Apparently Blogger is owned by Google. I have heard of Picassa but never bothered with it, only when you start a blog, such as this Google create a Picassa site for you where all your images are stored. I didn't know this. I also didn't know that this Picassa site has a limit of 1gb for images. Therefore once you hit your 1gb limit, you can add no more or have to purchase more space. Or, I am hoping, delete some older images thereby releasing some space but this will be limited. Therefore I am intending to try and remove some older existing images so I can continue adding new images to this blog. However this explains my previous issues and difficulties. It may also be an issue for some of you out there too, so thought I'd explain here, now.

Unfortunately what it does, is defeat one of my objectives for running this blog and that was entirely personal and selfish, in that I was hoping it would allow me to 'store and retrieve' memories.... certain days when I was in certain places and birds and images from days gone by. My memory being what it is (or not as the case may be), I thought this blog might assist. It transpires that is not necessarily the case and entirely my own fault. I will need to find a more appropriate medium to achieve those objectives. I hope to contine with the blog but older posts and images may disappear. It also means I will have to be more selective in the images I do post. Either that or put my hand in my pocket, but I have short arms! Hurrruummmpppphhhh.

Ta ta

Saturday, 14 May 2011

E bah Gum Common Sandpiper

I mentioned in my earlier post (Eh bah Gum Dipper) I crossed the border into Yorkshire and found myself on a popular stretch of the River Wharfe... where more Ray Mears impressions allowed me to watch a pair of Common Sandpipers... the results follow. 

 Once again apologies, only part complete but the server is rejecting images so I'll save at this stage and try again later... Update after numerous attempts this will have to do. Hope it's 'interesting'.
A favourite perching post

Not always easy to see... explains the colour of these birds perhaps

Included for size comparison, not much bigger then a Pied Wagtail

Again not easy to see and size comparison, much smaller than a gull
One of a pair... but don't ask me which one

Constantly on the move, both banks and up and down the river
Allez up – hatching flies
Catching hatching flies – or not as the case may be!
to finally come a bit closer

Interesting feet... and then the heaven's opened, he/she wasn't bothered but I was wet through... again
This Mandarin duck came as a bit of a surprise on the River Wharfe
Let alone two Mandarin ducks!
Sand Martins were in evidence, impossible to photograph in the light
So nothing more than 'example'
They would suddenly appear in number and disappear equally as quickly

E bah gum Dipper

A long story not worth recountering found me over the border in Yorkshire on a popular stretch of the River Wharfe where my hopes were fulfilled with the appearance of a Dipper, unfortunately not quite in range. My Ray Mears impressions found me tucked into the bank, even I couldn't find myself and once again the sound of the shutter saw the Dipper disappear just as it came into range. Nevermind I spent some time watching it with great pleasure and as you know it spends more time under the water than above... it was fascinating watching... I could add lots of images of it's back and under water but I don't think it will add a great deal and I hope these images capture the spirit and movement of the Dipper.

There's were a few other items of note which I hope will be of interest and I'll post those separately later.

Dipper nearly under water

And very briefly out

Before further submersion

On the move

A quick check 

To finally emerge
My first Swifts of the year, as many as 12 in one group (that is the sky in the background – the best it got!)