Friday, 20 July 2012


A couple of days ago I decided to see if I could find the Corn Buntings that had been reported as showing well  about ten miles from my house. I arrived at the location, a small car park,  around mid morning. The weather was quite windy and overcast with just a few brief glimpses of the sun (so what's new!!).

I positioned the car so that I had a good view over the car park and almost immediately I saw that a few birds, Yellowhammer, Chaffinch, Meadow Pipit and Linnet  were coming down to bathe in the puddles left by the recent rain. Unfortunately they were frequently spooked by walkers crossing the car park and also by other cars arriving and leaving making photography rather difficult!



It wasn't long before I heard the "little bit of bread and no cheeeese" song of a Yellowhammer coming from the overhead power lines, closely followed by a singing Corn Bunting (another tick for the list!) and after a few minutes a Dunnock started to serenade me from the bushes close by.

Corn Bunting


I also had a fascinating few minutes watching two Magpies (juveniles, I think!) as they explored, constantly chattering to each other,  all around the car park  with one spending some time interacting with a discarded yogurt pot.

So, without leaving the car, I'd had a couple of hours of good birding and had noted sixteen different species, apart from the above I'd also seen Jackdaw and Carrion Crows in the adjacent fields, Starling, Goldfinch and Great Tit in the bushes, a hovering Kestrel, two soaring Buzzards, as well  as overflying  Woodpigeons and Swifts.

The Videos...

This weekend and next week promises to be warm and sunny here (Summer at last!!) and I'm looking forwards to getting out and about in some descend weather for a change. Wherever you are I wish you all a great weekend and upcoming week.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


Yeeeh-haaa  we've had summer.. well one day... last Sunday, it was mostly sunny and warm (if a little windy) and the nearest  we've had to summer in what seems to be a long time...AND NO RAIN!!

I decided to make the most of it and go in search of some butterflies. I went to an area where I've found a good variety of butterflies in previous years, Incombe Hole in Buckinghamshire.

There were a few different species on the wing but nowhere near  the amount , in numbers, as I've seen before.

Small Heath, as usual, were  settling low down in the grass and making photography rather difficult.

Meadow Brown


 Marbled White

 And I'm still trying to get a decent image of a Marbled White!!

Large Skipper...I only saw this one!

A male...note the dark sex-brands in the centre of the wings.

 And the one species I was hoping to see...Dark Green Fritillary. I found about ten of these nectaring on a large patch of thistles.




The dark green colouring on the underside of the wings gives this butterfly it's name.

And I also saw quite a few Ringlet and one each of Red Admiral and Small White. And rather worrying I didn't see a single 'blue' butterfly all day!

And a video...

Friday, 6 July 2012


In the rare sunny spells that we've had over the last few weeks I've had the pleasure of photographing some of the 'stars' as they make their way to the annual gathering that is... The Ugly Bug Ball.

First on the scene is the Master of Ceremonies dressed in top hat and tails....

Beetle - oedemera nobilis

Now, you can't have a Ball without a man in a uniform...

Soldier Beetle - cantharis rustica

Then there's the 'hoverer' who spends their time just hanging around but never stays to get involved!...
Hoverfly - syrphus ribesii

Then you get the couple that are always late..'cause they had something better to do!!...

Spotted Crane-fly - nephrotoma appendiculata

Then there's the one who you can always 'see' right through...

Picture Winged Fly - oxyna parietina

You always get one individual who likes to draw attention to themselves by dressing in a garish outfit...

14-spot Ladybird - propylea 14-punctata

And the aloof couple with their smart clothes and their noses in the air, and he always has that harmless sting in his tail!...

Scorpion Fly - panopa germanica

No matter how the proceedings are going there's always someone who feels a little blue...

Nettle weevil - phyllobius pomaceus

Then there's the airy fairy one who flits about a lot but never seems to go anywhere...

May Fly - ephemera vulgata

The local 'Lady' always puts in an appearance, dressed in the finest of fabrics...

Lacewing - chrysopa perla

There's always someone buzzing around looking for the sweet things in life... 

Honey Bee - apis mellifera

Without fail there will always be a couple of 'bad boys' that try to ruin any good party...

Fly - phaonia angelicae

Flesh Fly - sarcophaga cameria

And finally the social climber who's always trying to make it to the top but no matter how hard you try you can never find out his name!!!...

Do you recognise him?

I hope you found it interesting meeting some of the guests to this years Ball and maybe, if the organisers manage to turn off the sprinklers and fire up that big glitter ball in the sky, I'll soon have the opportunity to photograph a few more!


Wednesday, 4 July 2012


Since it was first spotted, at Startops End Reservoir, last Sunday this stunning adult first summer Sabine's Gull has been putting on an excellent show for the many local birders.

This rare visitor to our inland waterways is assumed to have been blown off course, from its more regular haunt far out to sea in the North Atlantic, by the weekend storms that also brought severe damage and flooding to some parts of the UK.

After seeing the reports and excellent photos that were being posted on the internet I decided that, as any future chances of seeing one of these gulls was pretty slim, I should go and have a look.

So, early yesterday morning , under dark and gloomy skies (with the weatherman predicting rain again...what else?) I set off on the 30min. journey to Startops and almost to the second off arriving in the car park and turning off the car ignition...the heavens opened!!  After a twenty minute wait the rain eased to a light drizzle and I decided to brave it and have a look to see if the 'star' was still about.....and I'm glad I did for almost the first thing that I saw on climbing the steps to the top of the embankment was a stunning white, grey and black bird putting on a fabulous show as it gracefully and effortlessly flew back and forth along the water's edge, regularly plunging into the water to collect a morsel  of food and at times coming so close that I felt as though I could have reached out and touched it.

I spend over three hours totally engrossed in watching  and photographing this beautiful bird that I didn't notice that the rain had stopped!

Although the rain and the gloom were not perfect for taking photographs (I took lots!!) I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and was glad that I had made the effort to go and have a look!

The photographs....

And the video....