Friday, July 28, 2006

Butterfly twitching!

My afternoon's work was interrupted (briefly) this afternoon by a phone call informing me there was a Silver-washed Fritillary on a buddleia nearby. I managed to 'connect' with it at the second attempt, but not until after I'd been spotted loitering by the Chief Executive... Just as well I wasn't the only one there.

It was a fantastic butterfly - a big, less-tatty version of a Comma - but it was far too quick on the wing for me to get any photos.

So here's another Painted Lady, instead:

We spent some time looking after work, in case it had hung around, but there was no sign of the fritillary. Still loads of Silver Ys and Painted Ladies, and at least four Hummingbird Hawkmoths.

Well, there were until one of them got caught by a Hornet!

I didn't witness the event itself, but apparently the Hummer was minding its own business, nectaring along with all the other insects when a Hornet came along and grabbed it.

The moth must have received a sting before someone came to its rescue (argue about the ethics of that one, if you like, but it wasn't me!) and, despite the best efforts of those present, it did not recover.

Later, at Grafham Water (for no particular reason)...

Common Blue Damselflies in 'mating wheel'

Cinnabar moth caterpillar on its foodplant, Ragwort

Silver Y moth on Knapweed

Spider on web

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Parent Bugs

I was wandering aimlessly around the garden before work this morning, when I noticed some shieldbugs congregating on a bare poppy head.

I've done a bit of rummaging around on Google and I think they're Parent Bugs, Elasmucha grisea.

Not sure what they're up to, but my personal theory is that they'd spent the night in the vegetation below and simply climbed up the tall poppy stems to sun themselves at the top.

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


We seem to be experiencing something of a Painted Lady invasion at the moment (though doubtless that's the incorrect term). Whatever, they are everywhere at the moment, and very nice they are too.

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

Monday, July 24, 2006

Brown Argus and Common Blue

Brown Argus

Common Blue

As a relative butterfly beginner, I'm finding it hard to get these two sorted out. I've had some excellent advice from the forum at - read it here. Now I need to swot up on my butterfly anatomy to make full use of it...

Painted Lady

Thank goodness not everything is hard to identify...

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Brown Argus (I think!) - my favourite butterfly so far this year

Meadow Brown

Small Copper

Small White

After staying up late to add the finishing touches to I and the Bird #28, it's back to normal with some insect shots from lunchtime.

It's way too hot at the moment to do anything very strenuous. We Brits just aren't used to 32 degrees Celsius!

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

I and the Bird #28

Ah, my friends. Welcome to I and the Bird #28. I am Katie, your host for this evening. It is a great honour to have you all here. Tonight, I have gifts from the four corners of the globe for you to savour. No time to lose, so let's crack on with the posts, eh?

  • One of the fantastic things about IATB is that you read about birds you didn't know existed. Powerful Owl, Ninox strenua, anyone? Duncan's seen 'em in the outback and he's got the pictures to prove it, over at Ben Cruachan Blog.
  • On the other hand, surely just about everyone's familiar with the mighty Peregrine, Falco peregrinus. But not many people get as close as Amy of RiverBlog. And with those talons, you might not want to, either...
  • At Rigor Vitae, Carel Brest van Kempen writes about Peregrines setting up home in the most unlikely of situations.
  • Peregrines certainly are flavour of the month on IATB. And why not? Roger from Words & Pictures joins the throng, with fascinating findings about the Peregrines nesting on Derby Cathedral.
  • Despite the doom-and-gloom reports you read in the news, birds can thrive in close proximity to humans, as Andy of [the weirdly-named] Spiderlick shows with his lovely tale (and photo) of Grey Wagtails, Motacilla cinerea.
  • Blogging from possibly our most obscure, exotic location yet, Papua New Guinea (north of Australia, folks), David Ringer's Search and Serendipity post explains how some pesky ants made a 'gray and wet' day into something very special.
  • Conditions looked less than ideal for J Pat, from Eureka Nature, on his annual Bird Day Hike, but he found a semi-precious bird. Read on to find out what...
  • David (Science Boy) is a Kiwi and he's not afraid to show it. No, not a small, greeny, fuzzy fruit, or a weird brown bird with nostrils on the end of its beak, but a New Zealander. He's your guide for a tour of the much-neglected Aramoana area now.
  • Another Kiwi, Pohangina Pete, says: 'I don’t attempt to clean my bum with my back legs'. So that's alright, then. Join him to find out why midwinter is a good time to be in that neck of the woods.
  • If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Seems that Pam's White-winged Doves, Zenaida asiatica, at Tortoise Trail are following that mantra to the letter (they win the booby prize for world's least-safe-looking nest, though).
  • Are you a birder?
  • Or perhaps a birdwatcher, chaser, lister, twitcher, robin-stroker or dude? Or none of the above? Doesn't really matter, as long as you enjoy the birds, says Leigh on Alis Volat Propiis.
  • Just when you thought that scientific names were useful, Rick from reminds you that gulls' names are totally useless. Black-headed Gull should be Larus melanocephalus, but it's not, obviously... Go and swot up now...
  • Making his IATB debut, Richard from Wild West Yorkshire has strayed no further than the bottom of his garden to bring us brilliant artwork inspired by a humble Woodpigeon, Columba palumbus.

  • Lillian and Don explain why their birding journal is the best way to start their day at Bobolink Farm, every day.
  • We all like seeing birds close to our own homes, but as Rob 'The Birdchaser' shows, it doesn't always work for the birds involved!
  • Mike, who wants to see 10,000 Birds, reports that there's a heatwave in the US (same here in Blighty), but at least he's seen some good birds lately. Does anybody here like Heermann's Gulls, Larus heermanni?
  • 'More photos than you can shake a stick at' is possibly one way to describe Pewit, the blog of Graham 'The Cat' Catley. Last month, he journeyed to The Far North in search of birds and returned with a huge number of pics, including these gorgeous Bluethroats (Luscinia svecica).
  • Steve the Toadsnatcher has also been 'oop north' but 'only' as far as Shetland and Orkney, the northernmost bits of the UK. Long, long days make good birding, as the photos show.
  • In contrast, Mike Weedon (of Weedon's World of Nature fame) visited Sowth Effrica recently. Like a crocodile, he seems to have spent most of his time lounging around waterholes, but the waiting certainly paid off...
  • Patrick, normally resident at The Hawk Owl's Nest, has also been south and accidentally saw some great birds on the way.
  • Not forgetting Charlie Moores (oops!)... well, he's been east to Dubai and returned with a whole tange of goodies, including some Sooty Gulls, Larus hemprichii.
  • And what have I brought to the party? Sad stories of albatrosses from the Southern Hemisphere, but there's a good cause behind it all - 19 out of 21 albatross species face extinction! Read about what the Save the Albatross campaign is doing about it, then do your bit to help. Please.
That brings this evening's proceedings to a close. I hope you've enjoyed yourself and don't forget to send something for the next I and the Bird...

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Sea: North Sea, Minsmere beach. Legs: model's own. Thanks Darren...

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Minsmere and Sizewell


Black-headed Gull, Larus ridibundus arborea

Juvenile Moorhen

My first-ever equine digiscoping - Konik pony colts grazing the reserve

Six-spot Burnet Moth at Sizewell

The beast itself...

digiscoped photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995 + Leica Apo Televid 77 with 20x eyepiece

Friday, July 14, 2006

Long weekend in Suffolk

Great Crested Grebe and 'humbugs'

Friday afternoon near Lakenheath

Friday evening in the Eel's Foot, Eastbridge

As always, important to sample local delicacies - Aspall's cider

Picking up goodies from Beerwolf Books, just across the road

digiscoped photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995 + Leica Apo Televid 77 with 20x eyepiece

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Small Red-eyed Damselflies

These are some of the first Small Red-eyed Damselflies to be recorded at The Lodge. Mark tipped me off as I happened to be wandering past and though I didn't really know what to look for, I managed to get a single photo of the pair 'in tandem'.

The problem is that they're really very similar to Red-eyed Damselflies, which are very numerous on the swimming pool at The Lodge. I was lucky to photograph the right pair, though a brief comparison with a nearby Red-eyed meant the size difference was discernable.

There's not much in it:
  • smaller size - 29mm body length for Small Red-eyed, v 35mm for Red-eyed
  • paler underside to eyes
  • greenish shoulder-stripes on male Small, where male Red-eyed is all black
What we found most helpful on our second visit was the pale blue tail tip (I'm sure there's a more technical description of that). On the Small Red-eyed, the tip reaches up onto one more segment than it does on the Red-eyed. It gives an appearance of having been dipped into blue paint at an angle of 45 degrees, compared to the 90 degrees of Red-eyed.

Identification suggestions much appreciated!

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995



What happens to poppies when they die

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995


Red Admiral on Verbena

Meadow Brown on Verbena

Small White on Verbena...

There's a bit of a theme here. Insects seem to love Verbena. For this reason, I am trying to grow some from seed on my windowsill. From c120 seeds sown in the compost, only six have germinated, but they're doing OK.

As happy as a bee in pollen

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995