June 2011

26th. Bee orchids and pyramidal orchids at North Wootton in Somerset.

bee orchid

bee orchidpyramidal orchid

We are capturing the greater horseshoe bat infants at Woodchester now for measurement and biopsy sampling for DNA analyses. By 26th we had already done 81 bats.

greater horseshoe bat creche

25th. An excellent day at Slimbridge, with a summer-plumage female red-necked phalarope, an adult spoonbill, 2 ruddy shelduck and a Mediterranean gull. I missed the Chew blue-winged teal by a day though.

ruddy shelduck


A pair of oystercatchers has small chicks immediately in front of South Lake hide.






Captive avocets and redshank posed for some close-up photos.




Other birds included common terns, and shelduck with creches of up to 23 chicks.

common tern

shelduck creche

I saw a nightjar and heard at least 2 others on the Mendips in the evening.

18th. A visit to Netcott's Meadow near Backwell Lake. I couldn't find any bee orchids, though common spotted (below) and southern marsh orchids were in flower. I also photographed common blue damselflies.

connon spotted orchidcommon blue damselfly

common blue damselfly

15th. I was able to cross to Skomer despite arriving at the departure point at 10.00h - the night before was rainy and a lot of people must have been put off by the weather. The light was excellent however, with thin cloud cover giving nice colour saturation, and the 100-400mm lens was ideal to use here. I bumped into Tim Guilford from Oxford who was about to attach some GPS tags to guillemots. Click on the puffin for more photos.


8th-15th. I taught the field course 'Bats, bugs and biodiversity at Orielton, Pembroke for the 17th consecutive year. The weather was a little fickle, but we still had a great time. We caught a noctule in a harp trap, attracted to an acoustic lure, and the lesser horseshoe bat colony now numbers about 170 individuals. I took the 400mm lens, 180mm macro and the 100-400mm and 17-40mm zooms, all of which proved useful.

bat detecting


lesser horseshoe bats

Photos below are of a hoverfly Eristalis horticola, and a chough at Stack Rocks. The choughs seem to have done well this year, and I saw at least 4 families during the trip.

Eristalis horticolachough

The Stack Rock guillemots were as photogenic as ever.




Fulmars (below) patrolled the cliff edges, and there were 2 puffins at Stackpole Head and 2 grasshopper warblers singing near Stack Rocks.



7th. A quick trip to Westhay in the morning. I listened to an Acrocephalus warbler singing with lots of mimicry in its song, including excellent blue tit phrases. It turned out to be a bog-standard reed warbler however (below).

reed warbler.

4th. Another 143 essays arrived on my desk for urgent marking (after 120 essays and 3000 short answers last week) - I'm glad that the weather became poor this weekend. I visited Priddy briefly and photographed some small pearl-bordered fritillaries and a southern marsh orchid (bottom left). A densely-flowered common spotted orchid (bottom right), photographed at Netcott's Meadow, near Backwell Lake on 18 June is shown for comparison (though there are also southern marsh orchids here that can create hybrids).

small pearl-bordered fritillary

small pearl-bordered fritillary

southern marsh orchidcommon spotted orchid

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