Saturday, July 25, 2009


In rainbows
The weather's been changeable this week, to say the last...

Painted Lady

Painted Lady
But there have been loads of butterflies around during the drier bits. At least three Painted Ladies graced our buddleia bushes this afternoon, with lots of Large Whites, some Peacocks and Gatekeepers

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM, Extender EF 1.4x II

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Painted Lady

Painted Lady
Painted Lady - a smart UK-hatched butterfly (not a scruffy migrant)

Emperor dragonfly laying eggs

Gatekeeper on Ragwort

Coal Tit
I bought a window feeder for the office. When a flock is passing through, there's a constant stream of Great, Blue and Coal Tits coming for sunflower seeds. They seem to peer in at me before flying off with food

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Red-legged Partridge
What a soggy, miserable-looking Red-legged Partridge. 

It's not the most beautiful photo, but I took it with my iPhone through my scope. It's not cropped or edited in any way and once I'd found the optimum distance from my scope's eyepiece, there was no vignetting.

So far, so good, but it's quite fiddly to find exactly the right position for the phone. An adapter is most definitely required. I'm on the lookout for suitable materials - cardboard, the middles of rolls of tape, bits of pipe, maybe even margarine tubs - to manufacture something. Watch this space.

iPhonescoping. You read it here first (I think...).

photo taken with Apple iPhone 3G S + Leica Apo Televid 77 with 20x eyepiece

Monday, July 20, 2009

Good evening garden

Soldier Beetles mating
Soldier Beetles mating

Ladybird: The Movie

Barn Owl at dusk

The Barn Owl was thrilling. Some Swallow alarm calls alerted me to its presence, hunting over the field at the back of the garden. I watched it floating to and fro - and heard it dive into the grass - before deciding that I really should be outside with my camera.

Next, I watched it from the kitchen and saw it fly along next-door's garden fence. I ran to the front door and opened it as quietly as I could - just in time to watch the owl cross our garden about 10 feet away!

The sun had nearly disappeared over the horizon. Pointlessly, I crept outside, trying not to rustle. Pointless, I suppose, because it could probably hear my stomach digesting my dinner from half a mile away, never mind me trudging over the lawn.

I didn't have to wait long before the Barn Owl flew towards my position in the garden. Closer and closer and closer... It's amazing how they seem not to spot you until you do something like press a button and the camera makes a great big noisy clicking sound... It veered off across the field.

photos and video taken with Canon Powershot A640
owl photo taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Phonescoping with iPhone

Well, these pictures ain't gonna win no prizes, but I've been experimenting with my iPhone to see whether phonescoping is a possibility.

Conclusion: yes, for 'record shots'. For it to be slightly easier, I need to make a little adapter (which shouldn't be too hard).

Greenfinch on the sunflower seeds

Swallow tails
Swallow wings and tails - sitting on the guttering above the window

Clouds on the horizon

With the vast variety of add-ons available, there must be some really good ones for birders. If you're in the States, you can get various fieldguides, but there doesn't seem to be much for the rest of us yet. Surely it's a matter of time?

Greenfinch photo taken with iPhone 3G S + Leica Apo Televid 77 with 20x eyepiece
All taken through double-glazing...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

After the rain

After the rain
Flagstones shining with rain

Meadow Brown
Gatekeeper hiding in the flowerbed (this one had a crinkled hindwing - presumably something happened while it was metamorphosing)

The ladybirds I've seen this year have mostly been native Seven-spots!

Common Darter
This Common Darter hadn't long emerged when it was grounded by the shower

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Brought to you by the colour orange

Young Fox
A young Red Fox which appeared today and seemed to be munching on sunflower seeds just like our regular Badger does.

Inbetween Robin
A Robin at that awkward inbetween stage - half speckly juvenile, half grown-up orange adult.

Why do people say Robins are red?

photos taken with Canon Powershot A640 or Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Monday, July 06, 2009


These young Swallows were lined up on our garden fence this evening. Their parents came to feed them, depositing insects in the waiting beaks in mid-air refuelling manoeuvres.

video taken with Canon Powershot A640 + Leica Apo Televid 77 with 20x eyepiece

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Things that fly

Four-spotted Chaser
One in approximately 24 billion attempts to photograph dragonflies in flight. Still not sharp, but I can't afford to be fussy

Hummingbird Hawkmoth
This Hummingbird Hawkmoth fed on next-door's Buddleia before visiting our Lavender and mint

Small Skipper
Small Skipper


Bumblebee on Thistle (thankyou, Mother...)

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Garden birds

We did a little light ringing this morning and caught a total of 25 birds (2 retraps) in one net.

It was most noticeable that we caught lots of Great Tits - nearly all juveniles - but only one Blue Tit, one that we'd ringed in February. Have they had a bad breeding season or were they just somewhere else?
  • Great Tit, 11 (+1 retrap)
  • Greenfinch, 5 (3 juveniles)
  • Chaffinch, 3
  • Goldfinch, 2 (1 juvenile)
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 juvenile
  • Whitethroat, 1 male
  • Blue Tit (a retrap from February)
It was interesting to see some moulting going on. This adult male Great Tit was a good example.

After a hard breeding season, he's growing some new head feathers...
Moulting Great Tit

and getting some new wings
Moulting Great Tit

Two of the juvenile Great Tits we caught showed the same 'fault bars' in their tail feathers. When their food supply was interrupted in the nest, the feathers stopped growing properly and that's visible now. Since the patterns were the same, I wonder if they were siblings? Who knows.

(Here's a photo of a young Sedge Warbler showing similar bars)

We caught what must be the male Whitethroat that arrived in April and has been singing ever since. That was nice. It'll be even better if someone else catches him on migration later in the year.

photos taken with Canon Powershot A640

Thursday, July 02, 2009


It wasn't much cooler than lunchtime, but we stopped off in Potton on the way home to look for Marbled Whites.

Marbled White
They were there, but elusive. Another visit required...

Small Skipper
Small Skipper

Large Skipper
Large Skipper

World's tattiest Small Tortoiseshell
The world's tattiest Small Tortoiseshell?

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Aquatic life

It's too hot and humid at the moment for me to stay out for long. I preferred foggy Norfolk, to be honest. But here are a few images from a quick lunchtime wander.


Azure Damselfly
Azure Damselfly cleaning its bottom

Azure Damselflies
Azures mating

Large Red Damselfly
Large Red Damselfly

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Updated: Vote damselfly

Blue-tailed Damselfly

Thanks if you voted for this photo (number 4) in the Guardian's garden wildlife poll.

We won!

photo taken with Canon EOS 30D and EF 300mm f/4L IS USM