Tuesday, 22 April 2014

First Damsel of the season.

During a brief patch walk at Epsom Common this morning I spotted my first damsel of the season, a female Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) and took the opportunity to test out my recently acquired upgraded lens (EF70-300mm f44-5.L IS) . All these shot are cropped.

The black legs and broad yellow antehumeral stripes (red on a male) help to distinguish the Large Red from the similar Small Red Damselfly.

Back at home the lilac behind the shed is just starting to come into flower, the buds dripping with moisture after yesterdays rain.

Garden Bird Update: Compared to last year there has been very little activity around the bird feeders. Very few sightings of any House Sparrows so we suspect that their nest site on another property has been abandoned or destroyed. A pair of Goldfinches regularly fly in but don't hang around for a photo call. From our recent observations it now appears that two of the three nest boxes are being used by Blue Tits ... Anita has heard youngsters calling in one box located in the tall birch tree and I saw another adult entering the very old box on the back wall of the shed. No pictures yet.  FAB.

Linking to Nature Notes.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Patchwalk - Horton CP.

Horton Country Park is very close to my home and forms part of my 5k x 5k local recording area. It extends over 400 acres with a mixture of habitats; Golf Course, an Equestrian Centre, numerous horse paddocks, grass meadows, mixed woodland and is very popular with dog walkers and cyclists.

Just about a week ago I took a stroll late morning to see what was around with fortunately not too many other visitors who might disturb the wildlife.

A Chiffchaff flitted about the trees bordering the track around the paddocks occasionally issuing its 'hweet' call.

A male Blackbird enjoying a paddle and drink from one of the track side puddles left from the winter rains.

As I turned into one of the mixed woodland areas a male Blackcap stopped singing and popped out to see who was entering its territory. Blue and Great Tits, Dunnock, Wren, Blackbird, Nuthatch and Jay were also present in the woods where the Bluebells were in full flower (much earlier than last year).

On the edge of the wood I heard two Woodies territory drumming against each other and then one male Great Spotted Woodpecker decided to change location so I just managed a couple of pics before it flew off to directly challenge the other intruder deep within the wood.
Other species seen or heard included Song Thrush, Magpie, Starling, Crow, Jackdaw, Pheasant, Green Woodpecker, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Long-tailed Tit and Pied Wagtail plus Brimstone, Comma, Orange Tip and Peacock butterflies. All in all not a bad list for the time of day.  FAB.

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Orange Tip.

Warmer weather over the past few weeks has produced far more sightings of butterflies compared to the same period last year when it was wet and cold. One little charmer that wanders the countryside, along hedgerows and through our gardens is the Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines). The males emerge about a week before the females and this male one was visiting Green Alkanet.

Now if you thought the upper-wing colour is distinctive then just check out the elaborate under-wing pattern below.



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