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?!

Saturday 10 April 2021

Venus Pool - Osprey

OK, here's the Osprey... Whilst the Pied Flycatcher was skulking another bird took centre stage at approx midday.. I looked up and the unmistakable shape of an Osprey was gliding in from the east...

Shame about the white sky although this early pic was the inly one with a bit of contrast!

It circled the pool a few times and then started to lock onto a fish or two...

Mostly ending with an aborted hover / dive...

I don't think I shall ever tire of watching this mesmerising display!

From where I was standing, the pool wasn't visible! But I have it on good authority that a fish was duly caught and the Osprey headed east to tuck in...

Venus Pool - Pied Flycatcher!!

He must be 'lost' Pied Flycatchers are as scarce as Hen's Teeth at Venus Pool and this was my first, a long awaited Patch tick... Well done Simon Twigger and thanks for the heads up!! Just wished he had stayed longer in the catkins!

He did come a little closer...

And another insect bites the dust...

You little beauty!

Thank you for stopping by!

Sunday 4 April 2021

Venus Pool - Early Colletes Orgy time!

I never turn down the prospect of an interesting insects or two and todays adventure was to venture amongst literally 10's of 1,000s of Early Colletes mining bee (Colletes cunicularius) at Venus Pool...

Here's a male which made up most of the numbers...

Plus a sought after female, noticeably larger and quite easy to pick out amongst the smaller males. Problem is, once detected, the hordes of males pounce!!

Here's a party just getting started...

Bee upon bee until the mating cluster reaches a 'climax' :-) She is somewhere in the heart of the scrum of the scrum!

There was also a couple of gatecrashers... probable Common Furrow Bee (Lasioglossum calceatum or albipes?) minding his own business...

And this male Andrena species possibly A. subopaca)

I tried my hand with a short video which captures but doesn't quite convey the amazing scene we witnessed!

Many thanks to insect guru Nigel Jones for his help with the IDs!!