Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Divide and conquer

At the weekend Rob and I made a short visit to Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve. Rob took the Sigmonster while I had the Bigmos and the macro - this meant that we needed two different strategies to get the best out of the place.

I wandered around most of the reserve with the macro out and ready, looking for flowers and insects. The grassy patch on the way to Willow hide had signs up warning of the presence of Bee Orchids, but I couldn't see any, just a single Common Spotted (yes, I did photograph it, and yes, the photos were boring. Should have tried harder, but there were other people taking pics of it too so I didn't want to cram my lens right into the flowers for that ultra-macro shot).

Insectwise, there were a few damsels out and about around Willow Hide, but they weren't very active - it was not a particularly warm day. No sign of the Red-eyed Damsels here. We photographed a couple on the Medway last weekend so they should be about... I'll try again on a warmer day.

This massive fly thing (excuse the biological technobabble) caught my eye as it sunned itself on a much-chewed (presumably not by the fly) leaf. I later found out it was a Pellucid Hoverfly - great name! It's one of the largest Diptera species to occur in the UK, fact fans.

After taking various unsatisfactory damselfly pics, I switched to the Bigmos and sat on a bench near Willow hide to see what showed up. Hearing a Robin singing overhead I swung the lens up to find myself looking at this. (There was a Robin nearby in the same tree so I wasn't going mad). Easily bird of the day, this Garden Warbler sitting in the sun in full view was brilliant. I'm wondering if it's recently fledged - it looks quite fuzzy round the edges and was definitely a bit dozier than the average Garden Warbler.

I had no real luck after this, so went to find Rob. I met him halfway and we swapped notes - he'd set himself up at the shore of the main lake and had been photographing a Mute Swan family.

The four cygnets were quite well-grown, too big now to be easy prey for most of the fearsome beasts of land and lake, though this one still seemed happier to hide behind mum.

His eye-level angle made for some very striking shots. As its 'knob' is immersed (said the actress...) it's hard to tell if this is mum or dad swan, but I'm guessing it's mum (dad was probably far away, vigorously attacking all moving objects within a 1km radius of his family).

Also available for eye-level pics was this Coot. I'm most impressed by the extensive depth of the white reflection of its bill and shield. If I painted it that way, you'd never believe me.

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