August 2009

Tenerife 14-21 August. Click on the Cory's shearwater below to see the photos.

Cory's shearwater

The second week of holiday was spent at home, visiting some local spots. We went to Berkeley Castle and visited the butterfly house, and some other nearby attractions. See pictures by clicking on the owl butterfly wing below.

owl butterfly

Some dragonfly pictures - click on the southern hawker below.

southern hawker

A ruff, 4 green sandpipers, ringed plover, black tern, common tern (adult) and an osprey at Shapwick Heath on 30th. A juvenile Arctic tern at Chew Valley Lake on return.

Some good local birding on return - a yellow wagtail at Chew on 22nd. A red-crested pochard, 4 black terns, 12 common terns, 5 little egrets, and a whinchat on 25th. Now that the reeds have been cleared in front of Stratford hide, and the water level is relatively low, waders are appearing. Today's birds included 2 common sandpipers, a green sandpiper, 2 dunlin, a greenshank and 12 snipe.


One of the the best birds of the year so far - an obliging spotted crake at Greylake RSPB reserve on 25th. More pictures by clicking on the image below.

spotted crake

I spent a couple of hours during the late afternoon at Marshfield on 9th. Target birds were corn bunting and red-legged partridge, which were surprisingly tricky. Unexpectedly, quail were easier with two singing birds heard - one near a clover field on Down Road, the other along the small road between Down Road and Shire Hill. There was also a wheatear and several stock doves along Down Road.

Marshfield gulls

Some moths caught on the night of 8-9th August can be seen by clicking on the iron prominent below.

iron prominent

The Red Arrows put on a good display over Ashton Court, visible from our house on 7th. Also today a little egret at Backwell Lake, and a green sandpiper (I couldn't find the wood sandpiper) at Portbury Wharf.

Red Arrows

Red Arrows

Love is in the air?

Red Arrows

Portbury wharf at sunset

Portbury wharf

My Canon 1D Mark III has started playing up and is in for repair - Canon really has lost the plot recently with its latest camera bodies, and it's Nikon that is currently making the major innovations. A very similar appraisal of the 50D to mine is summarised nicely here. It's back to using the 5D hijacked by my daughter for a while - excuse the dust spots - the 1D should be fixed within a week.

I photographed the cattle egrets at Chew Valley Lake on 3rd, though they were a little distant. The adult has the yellow bill and buff patches on its plumage, the juvenile - perhaps from the second British breeding event - has a black bill.

cattle egret

cattle egret

cattle egret

cattle egret

Purple hairstreaks are still flying near the Nunnery Point turnoff, though they are ragged now. A hobby fed overhead.

purple hairstreak

purple hairstreak

A decent moth in the light trap on 2nd - a dark spectacle (5 records in the Bristol region since 1990). More photos of it and other catches can be seen by clicking on the image below.

dark spectacle

I visited the levels on 1st with Hugo Rebelo, who submitted his PhD thesis yesterday. On the way, we saw an adult and a juvenile cattle egret in fields next to Chew Valley Lake. An adult yellow-legged gull was also present. Meare Heath produced a juvenile little ringed plover, a kingfisher, 2 common terns, 2 marsh harriers, a hobby chasing birds from the large sand martin flock, and the great white egret. Lots of Mediterranean birds that my Portuguese visitor was used to seeing!

great white egret

There were few insects flying on yet another cool, rainy summer afternoon. Red-eyed damselflies were around however.

red-eyed damselfly

red-eyed damselfly

Highland cattle have been introduced to control the vegetation.

highland cattle

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