Monday 26 October 2020

Titterstone Clee - Lapland Bunting

Another day, another Shropshire mega? A Lapland Bunting had been reported and photographed by Nick Skilbeck the previous day at Titterstone Clee... Problem was, the weather on arrival late morning with torrential rain to greet me! Eventually it stopped and the next hour was spent wandering around the old buildings which seemed like a sensible starting point? With three other sets of eyes there, it seemed unlikely it was still around this area, so I wandered off to try my luck elsewhere on the hill? Same old story and same old squalls to seek shelter from...

After a couple more hours, I decided to have one more walk around the buildings and almost immediately I spotted some movement out of the corner of my eye? Yessssss, you can guess what it was: a second Lapland Bunting for the county list....

I just sat down  and enjoyed the moment, which seemed to go on for ever!

Eventually feeding very close...

And then the sun came out!

And half decent backdrops helped the cause too!

A couple of  'close-ups' to finish...

Simply magic end to the day!

Sunday 25 October 2020

Whitchurch - Rose-coloured Starling

Having seen several Rose-coloured Starlings over the years including a Summer adult, I was prepared to miss out on this latest reported bird. It's been fifteen years since my one and only Shire tick however, at Porth-y-Waen back on 18th November 2005, so the 'need' to see it kicked in! I thought I'd better make some effort!

Despite the lack of Rosy plumage, juveniles have a touch of class about them and are usually quite confiding. This one was no exception!

Having arrived early afternoon, the sun was in short supply but it peeked out on occasions and what a difference!

And a bit of blue sky always helps...

Too much clutter in the way for this image so a big crop but I did say confining...

In a sense, I hope the bird moves on to warmer climes as survival becomes a big problem if serious winter weather kicks in. I well remember the Port-y-Waen bird died a few days after seeing it!

Friday 23 October 2020

A few Shropshire Butterflies from 2020

After writing a review of the 4th edition of WILDGuides 'Britain's Butterflies, I thought I'd go through some of the images taken throughout Shropshire during 2020 and most of which not blogged? Odonata and Orthoptera came first this year but here's a selection using the taxonomy order of the new book! Some of the species had full blogs, click on the links for more images etc...

First off Essex Skippers taken at Venus Pool on 13th July. More images here

No shortage of Small Whites at VP either, from July / August the first with cloud cover followed by another in sunshine!

Again at VP, wherever, whenever, Green-veined Whites were busy ensuring their population for 2021?

A hovering male Brimstone at Aston locks on 15 August plus another one at Venus Pool on 7th August.

One of my main aims of the year was to get some 'decent' images of Wall. Two visits in early August produced the goods, traditional... Full account here

and on flowers... 

Here's a Speckled Wood, in bright sunshine looking as if he want's to be a Wall?

A Ringlet on Bramble blossom...

A couple of angles on Meadow Brown...

The Bog produced plenty of Grayling on 24th July,  nice to see them busy on Bramble blossom.

The first of two Shropshire 'lifers' - Marbled White at Venus Pool on 10th July. Read the full story here

Here's Silver-washed Fritillary, one of several showing really well at Llanymynech Rocks on 26th July... More pics and full review here

And my second local lifer of the year - Dark Green Fritillary at Titterstone Clee on 16th July. I was looking for a certain Damselfly but this was a splendid surprise! More pics and full story here

Some striking Nymphalids starting with Red Admiral...

Not every butterfly was in large numbers, this was one of the least productive years I can recall for Painted Lady! This one at Llanymynech Rocks on 26th July.

Peacock as ever stunning in shade or sunlight!

A pristine  Small Tortoiseshell at Venus Pool on 3rd August.

A Comma at the same location on 11th July

Followed by this striking partly while aberrant version on 25th July... More pics here

A long season for Small Copper, pics taken in July and September...

Common Blue seemed to take forever to get going, this male at Venus Pool 6th August...

And finally, another aberration - this female 'caeruleomarginata' at Venus Pool on 29th August. A few more pics 

That's all for Butterflies in 2020, roll on 2021. If we aren't locked down, I may have a full year at these?

Oh and while you are here, check out my review of the new WILDGuides field guide to Britain's Butterflies, it's a must have!!