Sunday, 30 July 2017

Amur Falcon

7th July 2017

After hearing of the Amur Falcon at Polgigga in West Cornwall on the Thursday evening, I made the easy decision to get up early on the Friday morning ( thankfully a day off ) and drive down to hopefully get to see it. This is only the second record for Britain and the first for Cornwall, and obviously a lifer for me. The Amur Falcon breeds in S.E.Siberia and N.China before migrating to winter in S.Africa., so how it found itself in West Cornwall I don't know. On arrival I was relieved to be told the bird was still present in the area , though had flown from its roosting site, I teamed up with a couple of birders I knew from 'up my end of the county' and thankfully the Falcon was relocated hunting around nearby fields and hedgerows, quite distant at first but then giving some very close flybys before at around eleven o'clock gaining height and disappearing into the distance. I took a few  distant record shots and a couple as it flew overhead, but at the end of the day was just glad to have seen it as those who arrived any later went home disappointed.
Amur Falcon, first distant view through the heat haze.

Amur Falcon

Amur Falcon take off


Overhead and away.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Woodchat Shrike

2nd July 2017.

This male Woodchat Shrike ( Lanius senator ) took up residence for a couple of days at Boscastle on the North Cornwall coast, a rare vagrant to Cornwall and even more so up here in the north of the county .I managed a few record shots but didn't try to get to close to it while it was busy feeding.
Male Woodchat Shrike

Bringing up a pellet

Wednesday, 26 July 2017


27th June 2017.

Joyce and I drove up across Dartmoor , as usual I had an ulterior motive which was to search for the High Brown Fritillary Butterfly at  Aish Tor , the weather wasn't great, and although we saw one or two Fritillarys on the wing and one landed briefly on Bramble Flower, without seeing the underwing it was impossible to separate them from the Dark Green Fritillary which also breed here. However I did find a young Dartford Warbler which was a bonus and on the way home we stopped at St Raphaels Church at Hexworthy where a Spotted Flycatcher was using the bell tower as a perch.
High Brown or Dark Green Fritillary??

Young Dartford Warbler

Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher

Monday, 24 July 2017

Four species in one tree

24th June 2017.

Bit of an unusual shot taken at Yarner wood on Dartmoor, with four species all lined up in the top of a tree. Linnet, Yellowhammer, Redpoll and Stonechat, although I must admit I didn't notice the Linnet at the time of looking through the viewfinder.
Four species in one tree.

Friday, 21 July 2017


18th June 2017.

Lethytep, situated at Penaldlake near Lanreath in S.E Cornwall opened up its beautiful grounds once again , in aid of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust. Set in fifty two acres of meadows, lakes and woodland this sheltered valley has been lovingly managed by Philip and Faith Hambly as wildlife habitats and is the home to many species. This time of year is especially good for insects, and the lakes were alive with Dragons and Damsels, and plenty of  Butterflies on the wing. Always a nice day here, and good to bump into friends from the CWT photo group.
Black Tailed Skimmer

Black Tailed Skimmer

Blue (Tailed?) Damsels paired.

A Long Jawed Orb Spider with a Damselfly meal.

Lunch time.

Dock Bug

Meadow Brown.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Pond Life

17th June 2017.

The sun has come out and brought with it the Dragons and Damsels to my pond, the Broad Bodied Chasers are usually the first to put in an appearance, these  have the habit of returning to the same perch, so I have a good chance of photographing them, the male here had the Water Lilies in The background, so I used an aperture of f20 to try and include them to convey a sense of place. The Emperor is our largest resident Dragonfly and another regular on my pond, usually seen patrolling the area in search of a meal. Azure Damselflies are common here, although I still have a little difficulty in separating them from Common Blues without a close view.
Male Broad Bodied Chaser and Water Lilies

A male Emperor taking a rest on a Foxglove

Azure Damselflies mating.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Breney Common

15th June 2017.

A super little nature reserve near Bodmin in Cornwall, an area of wetland, heath and scrub. I spent a morning here recently looking for the Marsh Fritillary Butterflies, no joy with these , but there were a few Small Bordered Fritillary on the wing, a widespread species in Cornwall, still always nice to see. Also quite a few Dragons and Damsels encountered, only managed photos of the Large Red Damselfly, a very common species , separated from the Small Red Damselfly by its black legs as opposed to the Smalls red legs.
Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary

Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary.

Large Red Damselfly.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Reed Bunting

21st June 2017.

I found this pair of Reed Buntings feeding young at nearby Roadford Lake. A bird we often overlook but a real cracker.
Male Reed Bunting

Female Reed Bunting

Male Reed Bunting

Swallows drinking

16th June 2017.
An attempt to try and photograph the Swallows as they come into my pond for a drink, all a bit trial and error but getting there.
Swallow coming into the pond



Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Bastreet-Bodmin Moor.

4th June 2017
A day out with the Launceston Wildlife group on Bodmin Moor, looking for Marsh Fritillary Butterflies and whatever else we may stumble across. The weather wasn't great but managed to find a small number of the Fritillaries low in the grass. Also quite a lot of Heath Spotted Orchid which were just coming into flower. Not really a photography day but took a few record shots anyway. A pity I didn't have my big lens and converter with me as a Cuckoo was sat on a post being mobbed by Pipits and Stonechats, which may have made a great shot but still nice to see.
Marsh Fritillary

Marsh Fritillary
Heath Spotted Orchid.

Heath Spotted Orchid

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Roadford Lake

31st May & 13th June 2017.
Spent a couple of evenings at nearby Roadford Lake recently in some nice evening sunlight. The Orchids were still flowering and the first of the Common Blue Butterflies were on the wing...and hardly anyone else around...great.
Orchid..not sure which species.Marsh?


Common Blue

Common Blue (& that how you spell it ?)

Backlit Common Blue

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Somerset Levels

29th May 2017
A day out on the Somerset levels, hoping to find some good species to photograph, the weather was against us with some very heavy showers, but we timed our visits to the hides well and managed to stay dry. Highlights were  a female Red footed Falcon ( a lifer in Britain for me though very distant)and a male Little Bittern ( which I saw briefly but didn't manage a photo). Other notable birds were Great White Egret, Great Bittern, and Garganey.
Female Red Footed Falcon (if you look Closely!)

Great White Egret

Great White Egret

Marsh Harrier

Drake Garganey

Pair of Cormorants in the rain

This young Great Crested Grebe struggled with its large fish supper

But managed to get it down in the enf

Great Crested Grebe in a downpour.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Master builders at work.

21st May 2017.

Lots of building work going on in the village, with the Swallows and House Martins busy collecting mud for their nest construction. I simply pulled my car up alongside this muddy puddle and photographed them from the open window using a beanbag to rest my lens on..
Swallow collecting mud.

Swallow collecting mud.

House Martin collecting mud.