Thursday, 21 October 2021

Venus Pool - Whoopers vs Cormorant!

 The pool was nice and peaceful with the Whooper Swans either sleeping, feeding or cruising around. It all came to a sudden end when a Cormorant thought it would be clever to peck a Whooper Swan's foot?!


Seen in close up...



I personally don't think it was a very good idea! Watch the reaction....






Lucky for the Cormorant he dived just in time!!

The whole sequence only lasted two or three seconds...

Venus Pool - Whooper Happy Families

 In amongst the fifteen Whooper Swans present today, there were two family groups, who kept themselves separate. Family one had just the one juvenile...




Despite one of the parents straying out of the frame, you could detect the strong family bond.




Even when feeding!



The family with two juveniles stuck together more but once again, one of the parents was camera shy, keeping out of the frame!




The symmetrical lines had to be broken...






In the late afternoon sunlight, just finishing off feeding!


Swan life isn't always calm and leisurely however, as you will see in the next post!





Monday, 18 October 2021

Venus Pool - Black-tailed Godwit

Apart from Lapwings and Sandpipers, Black-tailed Godwit has generally been the most likely wader to see at VP this year with a steady flow of them from late summer. Up until now, they had always been interesting as 'group shots' but today, one was obliging me in front of the hide - in cracking light!




And after burying its head in the water, time to expel anything non-nutritious, like water or mud!








The light was good too, for a change!




There's still time for something special to drop in?? Just...



Sunday, 17 October 2021

Wyre Forest - Spectacular Spiders

An excellent walk in the Wyre Forest with Shropshire Invertebrate Group turned up two spectacular spiders! One was a tiny (less than 1cm) Jumping Spider, simply stunning once the macro lens got to work 




It looked familiar, very similar to the cover picture (Evarcha arcuata) of Wildguides 'British Spiders' and turned out to be  in the same genus - Evarcha falcata.


The other was a large choice rarity - female Green Huntsman (Macromatta virescens)


Not venomous like the Tabloid Australian favourite from Australia but unsurprisingly quite a sprinter! 



Two very  choice additions to my spider list :-)


Friday, 15 October 2021

Venus Pool - Red Kites

'Make hay while the sun shines' is an appropriate proverb, spurring the local farmer into action 'harvesting' the grass for winter cattle fodder over the past couple of days at Venus Pool. The activity had attracted the attention of an estimated six Red kites too. plenty of flight opportunities albeit often distant...




A tail to be proud of, acting as a rudder for their acrobatic flight when feeding...




Upperwing shots were hard to come by but here's a distant one!




A nice head on moment as this one flew over the hide!




Not exactly Gigrin numbers but the best views I think I've ever had at the Patch!!


Saturday, 9 October 2021

Venus Pool - Whooper Swans

October often springs a Swan surprise at VP and today saw five pristine Whooper Swans dropping in early afternoon! I never tire of them and always take too many images, even in the unhelpful light!!


They looked done in from the long flight!




And you have to look your best for the camera!


Time for another drink (that's all they seemed to do!)




Posing nicely...


Yet another drink?


And it was all too much for some of them!


They flew out heading north at sixish (while I was eating my tea!)

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Telford - Short-winged Coneheads

Short-winged Coneheads (Conocephalus dorsalis) have only recently arrived in the Shropshire (first record in 2020) and I was fortunate to team up with our County Recorder for Orthoptera to see how they were doing at Huntington Lane, Telford. The restored habitat here has gone back to nature after formerly being an open cast mine site. The fields are fenced off with no access but fortunately some of the verges next to the track were productive! We saw at least four individuals, both male and female!



As the name implies, the wings are much shorter than that of Long-winged Conehead as is the ovipositor which is also more upwardly curved.


They were really active and a nightmare to photograph but as you can see, I got there on the end!



One particular male stayed in view for quite some time and gave better views. Just look at the length of those antennae...


The background was always cluttered but I never even noticed!?




Slowly inching along this stem...


And entering the close up zone!



A county first for me and the females were a county first for images. Nice one David, thank you for expertly guiding me to them! Oh and there also several Lesser Marsh Grasshoppers seen here too! These have been recorded since 2013 but are still very localised. Another separate post beckons...