Thursday, 6 May 2021

Llanymynech - Small Coppers inc. caeruleopunctata

 Highlight for me today was the impressive appearance of Small Coppers! They were not particularly confiding but one or two posed nicely and with the sun shining the coppery sheen on some was amazing!

This one caught my eye with a couple of blue granular spots on the hindwing and I wouldn't have though much of it but...


Wow, this beauty which flew and started feeding on Arabis hirsuta took my breath away, sporting a neat row of four spots on each hindwing

A full on aberrant caeruleopunctata,..

No prizes for guessing which my butterfly of the day was!

Llanymynech Rocks - Skippers and co

 A second visit of the year to Llanymynech rocks and after a slow start, the Skippers kept a coming..

Grizzled Skippers with some beginning to display wear and tear.

And I'll have to settle for the most inaccessible one amongst the rocks as a favourite!

Dingy Skippers were once again the most plentiful and generally in better condition!

Remember you are NOT a moth!

A couple of stunners!

This female Large-red Damselfly (fulvipes) crept into the viewfinder, wonder where she hatched?

An 'old lady' shall we say, female Orange Tip!

But many of the males still looked dapper!

There was also a fresh hatch of Small Coppers which I will blog separately as there was an interesting aberrant form to enjoy...

Sunday, 25 April 2021

Whixall Moss - Green Tiger Beetles (Cicindela campestris)

With at least 3 Grasshopper Warblers and a pair of Hobby for starters, the main focus for the day came in the form of Green Tiger Beetles (Cicindela campestris). I've seen them before but never stuck it out to get a half decent image or two? Luckily I had my 100-400mm zoom lens with me. There were so many opportunities to be had, lying on the path at Whxall Moss, it was hard to ignore them!

At first I was content to simply to watch them scuttling past...

But then got drawn down to the ground to meet them on their own terms. A meaner hunting machine would be hard to find!

And with the sun shining the iridescent beauty of these beasts was hard to resist!!

One for another day with my dedicated macro lens methinks but these will do for now :-)

Friday, 23 April 2021

Venus Pool - Lesser Whitethroat

 A morning session at VP nearly became a wasted few hours courtesy of a singing Lesser Whitethroat! I say that as he most have covered 200m of the roadside and arable field hedgerow before I even got a glimpse!

This was by comparison 'showing well' as it strived to put plenty of twigs and branches in between us!

Eventually as the hedge thinned out, I got a couple of nice views through the gaps!

Plus a bit of song too!

Always a challenging bird to photograph?

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Venus Pool - all things Green

Turned out have a green connection today. A Green Woodpecker decided to show half decent but of course, never close enough!

Followed by my first Anacamptis morio (Green-winged Orchid) of the year in the Meadow. One amongst approx 20 viewable from the causeway path. Good stuff despite the muckspreader incident I've been hearing about!!

Saturday, 17 April 2021

Long Mynd - Birds and Moths

 Almost to the day, in glorious sunshine a trip to Wildmoor Pool with Dave Chapman was in the offing and with Emperor moths being reported everywhere, hopes were high...

First off were some obliging local birds starting with Meadow Pipit...

Then one of at least 5 Wheatears...

A marauding Hobby was also after moths, must be one of the earliest in the county? Breaking the skyline now and then, just one chance for a pic and even that was 100m or so away!!

And yes, Emperor Moths came to the part, all these were taken in flight so unlike the 2018 visit, all four eyes were visible!

Star prize went to a moth I hadn't seen before spotted by Dave! Day flying, it looked like one of the carpet moths but not in the WildGuides day flying book... 

Rob Stokes came up with the ID - Water Carpet now that what I call a start to the moth season and it's an honorary Day Flier added to the list!...

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Bombylius major - Bee-fly take 2

I spent an hour or two trying to capture the Bee-flies in flight today and most of the time, even if they seem to have landed, they were hovering next to the flower. With the Ipheion plants going over, Aubrieta took over as the number one source of nectar...

I just love the way their legs dangle when flying or hovering!

With a few flowers standing proud of the dense mat, a decent background opportunity was discovered!

Oh, them amazing legs :-)

A drilling rig sprang to mind :-)

They have no doubt been in the garden for many years, it's so easy to overlook the amazing insects all around us?!