Wednesday, 25 August 2010

A blog medley

Well, we've been out and about a bit lately but the birding/wildlife-watching has been an hour here, an hour there. So I thought this blog post could be a bit of this, and a bit of that. The first bit is me playing with the new 180mm macro in Mike's garden over the last week of my cat-sitting stint.

Mike's daughter had a beautiful sunflower growing in a pot near the kitchen door. One gloomy morning I noticed it had a visitor - this bush-cricket which I haven't got round to identifying yet. It had to be this small in the frame to fit in the full length of its ridiculous antennae.

The sunflower opened a few days later, and on another gloomy morning this hoverfly (I have IDed it this time - it's a Marmalade Hoverfly) came along to check it out.

At least someone enjoyed all that rain. Here's a Garden Snail and a little Strawberry Snail, off on an adventure together.

Just to prove you don't even need to go out to see great wildlife, I found this very cool plume moth (Amblyptilia acanthadactyla) on the window in the living room.

All aboard the grebe bus. While I was in Brighton, Sigma returned the Sigmonster to Rob, with a note saying 'no fault found'. He took it down to the local reserve to give it another test, and found two families of Great Crested Grebes - one with three and the other with four babies.

A drake Mallard in eclipse, either feeding very enthusiastically or coming over to reprimand Rob for pointing such a huge lens at him. Rob reluctantly decided the Sigmonster isn't for him, so we arranged to reunite it with its owner at the British Birdwatching Fair.

The day before we were planning to go to the fair, the Passat went in for its service, and we were resigned to a dull day at home. However, kind garage-man lent us an elderly Golf for the day, so we took it to Dungeness. We didn't see that much in our short visit, but it was nice to be falling over Small Tortoiseshells around the power station.

By the reserve car park, there were hundreds of Sand Martins resting on the shingle bank. We went over to try to get photos, only to see the whole lot rise in a panic - it wasn't us that upset them though but this juvenile Cuckoo.

Here's my lame attempt to capture some of the swirling mass of Sandies. At least the sky is a nice colour. We took a very quick walk around and dipped the Purple Heron yet again, but did find the Great White Egret, and saw a few Marsh Harriers.

We went to Birdfair at the Egleton nature reserve, Rutland Water, the day after. It was good fun, though the usual mad rush to see everyone. It was also raining heavily most of the time. One of the times it wasn't was while we were in the Harrier hide, enjoying a sneaky bit of birding with Jim (not many birds to see - distant Ruff, distant Reed Bunting, distant Little Egret). However, the racket of the fair is also distant from this lovely, peaceful spot.

We have said goodbye to the Sigmonster, though the Bigmos is back with us where it belongs (again, Sigma found nothing wrong with it). If a certain ebay transaction goes smoothly I'll soon be the owner of a used 300mm f4, for which I'll be buying a teleconverter or two.

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