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Monday, 22 August 2011

In search of the Common Blue...

Things haven't quite worked out as intended... but that seems par for the course at the moment, so I ended up on a spare piece of land at Knott End, I say Knott End because I'm not sure where Knott End starts and finishes or where Preesall begins. Either way it is a piece of land that use be called the 'Carrot Field' for obvious reasons but is now part new housing, the rest not yet developed.

Last year I had come across a Common Blue on the promenade embankment and went looking for some more this year only to draw a blank... except at what is left of the Carrot Field embankment. At first sight there is nothing to be seen. But perseverance and checking on the wind direction and first one then two appear before you. I rattled off a number of shots but the proximity and lack of depth of field meant most are out of focus – so here's a few that aren't quite so bad. Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Field Grasshopper and Small Copper. If you look carefully I may have caught two Common Blue in the Act of breeding... unless something else going on?

Over the embankment on the foreshore were a number of Gulls, just a bit too far away and not my strong point! There were a number of Knot, Dunlin and Grey Plover. I have to confess I did not spot at the time, but hiding within were two Sandwich Terns... at least one of them is a Sandwich, the other I'm not sure about. So what's new!

And apologies if the site is taking a while to upload.. I have no idea why! (Photos 14 August)

Friday, 12 August 2011

A bit Ruff

Well I don't know about you but these last three days of non-stop rain are taking it's toll. Get out the Ark, I don't think it has finished for sometime yet. Alistair Cook is boring me to sleep but give the lad full credit for a great innings.

I thought I'd begin by trying to brighten things up a bit. Thanks to PW I called in at Lane Ends, but again I'd chosen the wrong day, it was blowing a hoolie and while I hoped to photo some Small Coppers, not a thing in sight. I lie as there were, what I thought was a Kestrel and a Peregrine, scrapping by the tree line but I think were two Sparrowhawks on the eastern edge of Lane Ends, one sat on a fencepost for a few minutes before disappearing on the hoolie. Anyway, to try and brighten things up here's a photo of the 'wildflowers' which I had also called in to see.

A few days earlier over at Newton Marsh our old friend Typhoon ZJ699, the two-seater trainer was buzzing about on a brighter day. I also managed to photo a few butterflies and again in an attempt to brighten things up, here are a couple of images of the many hundreds of Gatekeepers that have suddenly appeared.

However, today – I think the image of the juvenile Swallow says it all...

Thanks to MJ I had been wondering if anything had blown in on the wind and this weather and MJ confirmed a 'different' wader on Newton Marsh some way out. I nearly did a Tony Hancock first thing ('an armfull?'... showing my age) and as there was no queue I was in and out in no time, so I popped in at Newton Marsh. Grey, miserable and nowt to be seen. I drove up the road and far too many wagons so I called back at the marsh, and there by the waters edge was a wader. I spent a few minutes with it, while it pottered about before being chased off by a Coot, then another and then a third before disappearing into the marsh. It was/is a juvenile Ruff, not only my first for Newton Marsh, a first overall. Thanks Martin.

the wildflowers at Land Ends certainly add a splash of colour – credit to the local authority for once... more please
Typhoon ZJ699... an old friend (tango charlie angels 11)

'yellow' is always cheerful

told you... cheerful
batten down the hatches Mr Christian

juvenile Ruff... note raindrops on its back

juvenile Ruff

juvenile Ruff... I think the low water has killed off a lot of the pondlife

juvenile Ruff... and the Godwits ate all the snails

Apologies for the quality of the images, on the limit for light... it was grey and 'orrible, that 'mizzle' and as I gaze out of the window it is still 'mizzle'.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Newton Marsh – the rest

As per the last post, some more images from Newton Marsh. There were fly-overs by 30 odd Canada Geese and 50 plus Greylags; I believe both the resident flocks of the south Fylde often seen around Fairhaven and along the River Ribble. There were quite a few of the 'smaller birds' including juveniles with flocks of finches (Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch) and Sparrows (House and surprisingly Tree) flitting from one place to another, feeding on the grass verges where seed heads had developed. I came across two Whitethroat and managed to catch one with a caterpillar... despatched on one of the concrete fence posts! I made it across the Fylde and on the 'promenade' at Knott End/Preesall came across a Common Blue, something I had specifically gone for, as I managed a few photos last few year. Few and far between though before disappearing – nothing to report 'bird-wise'. (taken 31 July) I've noticed the process I am using is leaving a few of these images a bit 'iffy'... need to review how to upload reasonable decent sharp images. Hmmmnnnn....

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Newton Marsh, Swallows and Sands

I made a relatively early start at Newton Marsh with a view to going across the Fylde to Fluke Hall et al. Newton Marsh was very quiet, only to be expected at this time of year and there didn't seem to be even a little mouse moving... so time to head off, especially as it was just beginning to rain. One last check of the marsh and all of a sudden a number of Swallows descended onto the boundary fence along with a few Sand Martins. Plenty of juveniles and youngsters amongst them so I hung around for a while. There didn't seem to be too much insect life about at that time, wet and miserable yet one or two adults called in and fed the odd youngster. Before I know where I was it was mid-morning.

ve harv vaes orf escaping...   don't tell him your name Pike!  The Colditz boundary at Newton Marsh... two fences and electrified!

enough wire?

no not waiting to be fed....
...on yer bike mate

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

More flying things (insects)

I don't know if you remember the summer, you know those few days in July when the sun came out...

I suppose in some ways my garden is a 'wildlife' garden, most plants and trees are there for a purpose, usually based around wildlife but you might not know to look at it  just a mess! I have a triffid in the front garden, I don't know what it is called, well I don't remember, same thing, and it grows from a rhizome and has red flower spikes at this time of the year... it is a magnet for flying insects. 

Each year I try and study what is flying around and I simply haven't got a clue. Some of the obvious things I can identify... whereas others, no idea. Anyone with a modicum of knowledge may well know immediately but I don't fall into that category. So I have spent a bit of time, when the sun was out, trying to photograph what was around with a view to identification. I still haven't got a clue. Some of the 'bees' I'm not even sure are bees but  imposters – if anyone can help me out I'd be pleased to hear from you. Otherwise it will be further research, which may take a few weeks at the moment.

There have been very few butterflies about this year, a particular lack of Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Red Admirals so I wanted to record my first sightings... only trouble is this was about three weeks ago, I'll check the date... 21st July.

white-tipped abdomen, note 'yellow'

white-tipped abdomen

white-tipped abdomen
included because I quite liked the flower in focus and 'be' out of focus... 'art photo'!
red-tipped abdomen

red-tipped abdomen
red-tipped abdomen

Small Tortoiseshell

Large White

Holly Blue

I quite like this photo of a Holly Blue... another 'art photo'.

Perhaps I should add; I don't know my wasps from my hornets from whatever, and it is the drone flies, 'volucella bombylans' in particular that do a good impersonation of a bumble bee, those with white-tipped abdomens and some with red that make me hesitant.

I also get dyslexic and call items the wrong thing, even though I know what it is, so please advise and correct me where I make a horlicks of it.