Friday, 25 May 2018

Farlington Marshes - Winter Birding.

Earlier this year I made three visits to Farlington Marshes, one of my favourite sites on the south coast, to enjoy the spectacle of winter birding.

One of the main attractions being the thousands of Dark-bellied Brent Geese that migrate southwards from their arctic breeding grounds in late September to spend the winter months in and around Langstone Harbour.

The reserve and surrounding harbour attracts large numbers of waders, including Dunlin, Knot, Grey Plover and Oystercatchers (above) plus Ringed Plover, Turnstone and Black-tailed Godwit (below) in their drab grey winter plumage.

Wildfowl increase through the winter months with particularly high numbers of Teal and Northern Pintail (above) plus Shelduck (below).

During these winter visits I have logged 64 species including Avocet, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine, Water Rail, Water Pipit, Short-eared Owl, Bearded Reedling and one of several Spoonbill (below) that irregularly visit this site.

I will be revisiting this area throughout the year and hope to share the diversity of species that can be seen here.  FAB.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Lowland Heath Specialities.

During a butterfly foray on Chobham Common last weekend despite being plagued by inclement weather I managed to get a few images of some of the special species that can be found on this very important lowland heath habitat.

A female Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum).

Small Red Damselfly (Ceriagrion tenellum).

Emerald Damselfly [female] (Lestes sponsa).

Emerald Damselfly [male] (Lestes sponsa).

A male Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens).

Other species seen were Common Blue and Azure Damselflies.

Due to the intermittent rain showers only a few butterfly species clearly seen by me were Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Speckled Wood, Large Skipper and Brimstone plus probably one of the most cryptically camouflaged species, the Grayling.

 Grayling (Hipparchia Semele).

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Flutters on Headley Heath.

On Thursday, together with 15 other enthusiasts, I took part in a butterfly walk at Headley Heath with its mixed habitats of heathland, chalk downland and mixed woodland. During the first hour there was very little 'flutter' activity due to the blustery wind and light rain showers but from mid-day onwards things brightened up and we eventually logged 22 species.

Once again the new macro lens was in action and here are just a few of the species I photographed.

 Chalkhill Blue (male).

Silver-Y Moth.

Small Copper (male).

While there were a few Common Blues on the wing once the sky brightened up it was very pleasing to find a Brown Argus, initially perched with closed wings and then it decided to show its upper wing surfaces.

Just before we stopped to consume packed lunches one person spotted and photographed a White-letter Hairstreak but it promptly flew away. After lunch we staked out the location and eventually relocated this fairly worn individual.

Several Silver-spotted Skippers were seen and I managed a clearer shot than my previous effort earlier in the week at Juniper Bottom.

Unfortunately the woodland failed to produce a sighting of a Purple Emperor BUT we saw plenty of Purple Hairstreaks (see below).

Initial views were individuals flitting around the Oaks, often at very low level and then one tame individual perched on our leader's finger for its photo call!

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