Sunday, 21 August 2011

A bit of this and a bit of that

It's been a bad second half of August for getting out and doing anything, what with work, rain and general Augustiness. Never mind all that though, here are some of the things I've seen lately.

Last Friday we went to the British Birdwatching Fair, where we met a few humans and had a generally sociable time of it. We also had a wander around the nearer hides, but there wasn't a great deal to see - lots of Little Egrets, the odd Common Tern, Shelducks and other common wildfowl, distant Green Sandpiper.

The feeding station by the visitor centre used to be good for Tree Sparrows, but not any more, apparently. There were Greenfinches, Goldfinches and Blue and Great Tits coming and going, but I was more interested in this arboreal Brown Rat.

This is Rob's photo (I gave him my camera to play with as he didn't bring his and was looking bored). The plant is Tansy, with a 14-spot Ladybird centre stage.

My first 2011 Ruddy Darter. We also got a Migrant Hawker here, but no photos, it was some distance away and in full zooming around mode.

And... Britain's first Fairy Tern! OK, this is a photo of a photo, taken at the Nikon stand by Rob, after he asked to have a go with the 200-400mm f4, one of his wish-list lenses. This lens was wonderfully quick and sharp, but way too heavy for me to consider - even Rob said he'd have to put in a few months at the gym before buying one (as well as becoming considerably richer).

Yesterday we called round at Sue's for a cup of tea. Her garden is gearing up for autumn, with apples and plums ripening nicely and the most gigantic leek I've ever seen awaiting culinary attention on the kitchen table. The garden was quiet, wildlife-wise, but a few butterflies around included this Speckled Wood.

I've been to Knole Park a couple of times lately. Last Wednesday morning I had a wander around with Michele, in uninspiring photographic conditions. It was good to see this juvenile Green Woodie though.

Then Rob and I had a quick walk at the other end of the park yesterday, where we saw this Fallow buck repeatedly standing up to rub his itchy antlers on tree branches.

He has removed nearly all of of his antler velvet, getting his fighting gear ready for the rut next month.

Walking back to the car we found this juvvy Kestrel relaxing in the evening sunshine, and ignoring the family of Chaffinches which were anxiously flitting around, getting perilously close at times.

We watched the Kestrel for a while as it sat, then preened and stretched, and eventually took to the air.

It didn't go far though, wheeling around and coming back to another spot in the same tree, very close to its original perch.

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