Saturday, 7 August 2010

Llanymynech - Hummer and Club

A shower or two failed to put a dampener on this 'interesting' session which culminated in two photographic 'firsts'!!
Impressive start on the bird front too with by the far best population of Spotted Flycatcher, I've witnessed before. There were almost certainly double figure birds present and from one vantage point we could be sure of nine individuals! Getting pictures was another matter as they were catching flies (and even butterflies!) quite high up the cliffs and feeding some to youngsters.






A flock of 14 Crossbills calling loudly went over too, what an entry!

Hopes of either Fritillary species weren't helped by the rain but it is late in the season and only hope now is for a second hatch? There were numerous Common Blue with the odd 'brown job' merely female one and the same....






Small Copper were the next most plentiful....






And then Small Heath.....






All this paled into insignificance with the arrival of a fantastic little find, initially seen hovering over the short turf, then zipping here and there from plant to plant - a Hummingbird Hawkmoth! One of nature's perfect little machines, the wings are proven to beat at roughly 80 times per second. Now that's fast and no wonder my initial attempts to photograph the little blighter ended up - occasioanlly 'wingless'!










I opted for shutter priority, always a compromise as the depth of field was soon compromised but at 1/2000 sec, a little bit of wing detail was possible. Please be aware, these are all flight shots, the moth never landed but simply hovered in front of likely sources of nectar.










I say 'likely sources' as not a single image revealed that very long proboscis used to collect nectar whilst hovering (you won't hear me complaing too loudly!)

The Hummer was a photographic first and the second one of the day (about to come) was an even bigger surprise! I've bemoaned not scouring the Severn in May for Common Club-tail and all hope had faded of getting a shot this year. Lucky Jim isn't lucky for nothing and when what I initially though was a Hawker dropped into the grass nearby, I couldn't quite believe my eyes! A pristine female Common Club-tail and true to form, miles away from it's origins! Difficult to see but it actually has a small fly in it's jaws.......






Considering how late it is in the season, this species shouldn't really be in flight still but what a fresh specimen! It flew up in a tree and a few shots using the 500mm lens were possible.....








These images form the final chapter in my quest for Odontata breeding species in Shropshire. You'll have to visit the Shropshire Birder website to check out the Odonata gallery (going live in the next couple of days) for the 25 species of Dragons and Damsels I've seen locally and which have given me so much pleasure, seeking them out this year. If they leave you cold, I'll be back on the trail of birds very soon (when there are some about!)......

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