Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Jupiter and Full Moon

A lovely conjunction of Jupiter and the full Moon this evening, I'm really pleased I managed to get them both in the same image, quite tricky with the Moon being so much brighter than Jupiter.

I was surprised how well my lens captured the full moon.

Moth Fun

Well the moth trapping season was a bit of a wash out this year, I was really expecting some good results having a nice large and well vegetated garden as opposed to a few slabs and a bit of gravel at the old house. The weather obviously didn't help and most nights I couldn't set up the trap in case of rain and when it wasn't wet it was windy. The best catch I got was around 30 moths and most times it was just half a dozen or so. Dire. Anyway here are a few photos of some of what I did catch (those than didn't fly off) including an unidentified micro. Also photos of a nice bug and a stonking spider!

Some nights I only caught Buff Tips, but I'm not complaining because they're great. I had some fun with them thus....

Spot the moths! 
Yes, I know its easy from this distance but I honestly don't think I'll ever stop being amazed at how much they resemble a broken twig

Second generation Early Thorns, stunning moths!


Rosy Footman

Yellow Shell

Green Pug

Peppered Moth

Small Blood-vein

Small Fan-footed Wave

Common Emerald


Scalloped Oak

Swallowtail Moth


Pine Carpet

Eudonia truncicolella?

Grass Veneer

Couldn't put a name to this one.... ??

The beautiful Hawthorn Shieldbug
 and the not quite so beautiful...

Woodlouse Spider. 
This beastie was lurking under a plant pot which I moved to get at a couple of moths that were behind it. 
I remember being quite startled. What a monster it is! Just look at the size of those fangs!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Slim Pickings

It's been so persistently gloomy of late, even when it isn't blowing a hoolie and tanking it down! I've hardly been out at all. I have been down to the beach a few times hoping to see a Little Gull but there's been very few gulls around really. They usually love a good storm too. I did take a few photos of a couple of passing big gulls though, just for something to do really...

Obviously this one's a Great Black-backed Gull.

And this one's a 'truly stunning' second winter (?) Herring Gull.

Stormy conditions always bring dozens of Carrion Crows to the beach, they are very adept at breaking open mussels by dropping them from a great height, as captured in this 'breathtaking' image! Could have done with brighter conditions really.

While I was visiting Seaton Marshes today the sun made a brief appearance at the exact same time that a Chiffchaff did, which was rather fortuitous. The Chiffchaff caught a big fly which it devoured eagerly before spending the next few minutes frantically wiping its bill on a branch. Perhaps it didn't taste so good or was rather on the gooey side!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Migrating Woodpigeons

There's only about one or two weeks a year when Woodpigeons are 'slightly interesting' and that's when they are migrating along the south coast in immense numbers. It really can be a breathtaking sight watching wave after wave of them in flocks numbering in the hundreds flying east to west across Seaton Bay. I went up Axe Cliff yesterday morning to watch them from the higher vantage point and took a few photos. It's pretty hard to do the sheer spectacle much justice with the camera, so difficult to convey the scale. But still.... Here's some Woodpigeon photos, the only ones you'll see on here for at least a year! ;-)

The flocks passing me to the south out over the sea were just silhouettes.
 I waited for a flock to fly to the inland side of me to try and get a few more detailed shots. I didn't get many chances as very few took this route.

This one enlarges quite nicely.

Woodpigs being 'interesting'

Monday, 5 November 2012

9 1/2 Days

That's how long it's taken me to see the Cattle Egret that is on patch at the moment. I really must try harder! The Cattle Egret was originally found by Phil last Saturday when I was still on Scilly. It was seen again on Sunday afternoon, but for some reason my phone had decided that I didn't actually want to get any of my text messages when they were actually sent and so I didn't find out about it until it was almost dark. I wasn't unduly worried because we've had plenty of them on patch before but I was highly gripped to find out that there was also a drake Mandarin on Lower Bruckland Ponds, a bird I still 'needed' for my patch list. I went straight over there first thing in the morning but to no avail.... I still 'need' it :-(

The Cattle Egret as been seen on Colyford Marsh and Bridge Marsh periodically all week but not by me, even though I've stopped to look on every occasion that I've passed by. So when I got a text from Ian M this morning saying that it was showing on Bridge Marsh I didn't want to miss the opportunity and went straight over there. Unfortunately when I pulled in at the gateway alongside Bridge Marsh the herd of friendly bullocks thought I was there to feed them. The resultant stampede towards me made seeing the Egret a little bit tricky! I moved the car to another gateway and walked back but then the bullocks were afraid of my scope and ran the other way (I'm glad the farmer didn't see me harassing his cattle). I managed to get a few shots but the bird was always pretty distant and also quite mobile due to being bullied by Black-headed Gulls. What a wuss! While watching the Cattle Egret it was lovely to meet Sue from Exmouth Birder for the first time.

A Narrow Escape!

This afternoon I took my first ever photos of a Jay. One has been visiting our garden for a couple of weeks now and I've had some superb views through the kitchen window but haven't been able to catch it on camera because it always notices me opening the door to try and get a shot. They are such wary birds!  Today I finally managed to sneak the back door open just enough to poke the lens out. The Jay was a fair way up the lawn nosing around looking for stuff the squirrels have buried. Poor squirrels do all the work and the Jay snaffles up the lot.

What a Beauty!

Finally here's a couple of arty-farty storm cloud shots I took from the beach a couple of days ago, the storms were miles out in the channel fortunately!

This picture makes me think of Johnathan Livingston Seagull.