a male Bullfinch. I don't ever recall having one in any of my gardens before. These birds usually frequent woodlands, hedgerows and orchards with blossom. We don't have much in the way of a wood, hedge or orchard, but we do have daisies ...
The Bullfinch has been given an Amber Conservation Status.
Thursday, 23 May 2013
Monday, 20 May 2013
We went off in search of some sunshine after a grey cloudy spell, and having checked the forecast carefully, were delighted to find the Stour Estuary around Flatford Mill basking in a glorious summer day. The RSPB Wildlife Garden above was burgeoning with new greenery. Listings on the board included a grass snake in the water, and there was a good show of Orange Tip butterflies in the air.
It was very difficult to photograph the butterflies as they were active and airborne nearly all the time. I managed to get a 'quick pic' of this female Orange Tip as she came to rest momentarily, presumably for some nectaring.
You can see the distinctive shadowy markings on the outside of the wing in the photo above. It is only male Orange Tips that have the distinctive amber markings on the inside of the wings.
There were a few ragged Peacock butterflies along the tow-path, and we also saw a couple of Small Tortoiseshells.
This is Flatford Mill (above) ...
... and it is easy to imagine Constable living in this area and drawing inspiration from the scenes that were so familiar to him.
|Another 'Manky Mallard'!|
Saturday, 18 May 2013
|I believe this is a Buff-tailed Bumblebee|
We had been told that Arger Fen was a good place for bluebells, so we decided to see for ourselves. The reserve, not far from Sudbury in Suffolk, belongs to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. There were wonderful deep swathes of blue flowers, reminding me of the days long ago in the 1960s when we used to dance 'in and out the dusky bluebells' at nursery school in Kent. These days the flowers are a protected species.
We heard a male Cuckoo calling overhead, and sheltered under a tree to listen. Since the early 1980s, Cuckoo numbers have been in decline for about 30 years, and the bird is now a red list species. Having said that, we have heard more Cuckoos so far this year than in practically all previous years put together. We caught a fleeting glimpse of the male this afternoon as he sped through the trees once his song was over.
... and there were plenty of Horsetail appearing in the swampy areas ...
... but the Bluebells stole the show.
Arger Fen is one of only two woodland sites in the east of England to have wild cherry trees, and I kept a sharp eye out in the hope that I would see them.
Friday, 10 May 2013
|A rather shabby Peacock, spotted at ...|
|Minsmere last weekend, taken as the light was fading.|
|A white butterfly (is it perhaps a male Large White?) also at Minsmere.|
|The pair of Common Blues in the garden were too quick for me, so here's one I saw last year ...|
|... and these Small Tortoiseshells were photographed some time ago.|
The one I saw last weekend was very bedraggled and had probably emerged from hibernation.
|There were plenty of Orange Tips at Minsmere in the sunshine last weekend.|
(The one in the photo was in our garden last year)
... and finally, for now, I have seen a couple of (yellow) Brimstones flying about ...
I wonder which species will flutter past me next!
2] Small Tortoiseshell
3] ?Large White
4] Common Blue
6] Orange Tip
Wednesday, 8 May 2013
We enjoyed a walk at Carlton Marshes, near Oulton Broad, on Saturday in warm spring sunshine. The reserve belongs to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, and is linked at one end to the far side of the river by a ferry service from the Waveney River Centre. It was our first visit to the area, and the sound of warbling in the reeds and blackthorn was a delight.
This teasel caught my eye as it had been eaten by some creature. I soon noticed this Spider. I haven't been able to identify it exactly, but it may be (related to) Xysticus cristatus (and here). I would be grateful for a definite ID!
I would initially have suspected a Crab Spider, but I have discovered that Crab Spiders use their front legs instead of spinning webs to catch their prey. There is a rather prominent piece of webbing in the photo above on the left. There is some helpful information about true Crab Spiders on the Arkive site.
Thursday, 2 May 2013
Those who are familiar with my blog will know how much I like Puffins!
I have been concerned by recent media stories (and here) of declining numbers and of dead and emaciated birds being washed up on our beaches.
We arrived at Bempton Cliffs on 20 April 2013, wondering whether any Puffins would have returned to their nesting sites. It was a cold afternoon, with blue sky and a blustery breeze. I had a job to angle my monopod and to keep the camera still. However, we had only been there a very short time when we saw our first Puffin of the season.
You can see the bird here, eyeing up its burrow on the cliff edge.
The bird flapped about a bit, but seemed tired.
It was soon time ...
... for a rest.
A few minutes later the bird stood up and surveyed the scene ...
... became two.
... deciding that they needed an even closer once over.
... and two Puffins became three.
I don't know what had happened to the third Puffin's mate ...
... but the pair of birds carried on without much regard for the one on its own.
I wished I could have been just a bit closer to watch the pair as each partner demonstrated affection for the other.
'Affection' sounds a very anthropomorphic term ...
... and I only use it because I cannot think of a better one. Suggestions on a postcard, please!
I think you can see from this photo how one partner was much larger than the other.
Puffins don't make a lot of noise on the cliff, so I was interested to see this bird opening its bill.
Siesta over, it was soon time ...
for a bit of nest-building. Puffins lay a single egg. You can read about the breeding season here.
orange feet) in among the Guillemots on our right.
RSPB Bempton Cliffs is a wonderful resource, and the main Puffin viewing areas are pretty accessible. I would love to visit the site once the Pufflings have hatched later in the season.
- Previous post ... my first encounter with the Common Crane