Wednesday, 6 June 2012

A mixed bag of blog

Since the weekend I've carried my camera around a lot on visits to friends and whatnot but not taken many photos. I've picked out a few here, starting with a couple from a visit to Sue's house in East Sutton last Wednesday. Her garden looks fabulous at the moment, with paths cut through long meadowy grass full of flowers. The sun came out in the evening, allowing a window for photography before dinner.

A Red Clover. There was also plenty of Common Vetch, and both of these flowers were pulling in the bees and hoverflies.

The aforementioned Common Vetch, adorned with a female Common Blue. I didn't manage a wings open shot of this one but it was one of the particularly stunning females with a lot of blue, contrasting with the orange crescents on the wing margins (here's one I photographed earlier, to show you what I mean).

I spent last weekend in Hastings, helping to sort stuff out for dad, who's just out of hospital. The weather was photography-unfriendly so I didn't go anywhere further than the back yard with the camera.

The gulls nesting opposite dad's house have hatched a couple of chicks. Cute little fluffbundles, with a beguiling whistle for a call, only a few weeks to go before they are massive gangly adolescents that sound like a donkey with laryngitis.

Rob came down on Saturday and from dad's we went to Rye Harbour for a couple of hours of late-afternoon birding in blowy conditions.

On the way, we stopped at Pett Level, which was (as you'd expect for early June) very quiet - a few Coots dotted about on the water, not a lot in the fields, but some nice close views of Rooks.

I'd hoped to look for Odonata around Castle Water, but conditions at Pett had indicated that would be probably be pointless (too cold, too windy) so we just went to the beach reserve and looked in on the two hides near the far side of the caravan park. The Ternery pool islands are festooned with Black-headed Gulls and their spotty, almost leopard-print chicks.

A Cuckoo dashed over the lake, too fast and distant for any decent photos (as has been the case with every Cuckoo I've seen this year).

Sandwich Terns were going back and forth, as were Common Terns. Not sure how things stand with Little Terns at Rye this year, there are decoys out to entice them down but we didn't see any of the real thing.

Walking back past the new saltmarsh, we saw numerous Skylarks, singing, scrapping and posing.

 The saltmarsh is looking great, lots of mud, shallow water and tucked-away channels. This Ringed Plover seemed to appreciate it. Further out on the marsh were a couple of pairs of Avocets, possibly nesting going by the way they were rising up to chase away other passing birds.

Sunday was a washout. On Monday I had a walk on Ide Hill with Michele but saw next to nothing wildlife-wise, I think I took two photos. Had I brought a sensible lens there'd have been more - the views from up there were wonderful. Rain cut the walk short though, sadly. The sun returned in the evening and Rob and I paid a very brief visit to Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve, to take yet more test shots with the Sigmonster (at the request of Sigma UK, who seem to be on the verge of agreeing that it needs to go to Japan to have its underexposing problem fixed once and for all).

Still lots of baby Rabbits around. This one was by the raised viewpoint over East Lake, and was completely unworried by our presence, only bobbing away when Rob decided to try and stroke it (and then it only retreated about a metre).

We went to an empty Tyler hide. Little in the way of birds around but it was very peaceful and pleasant, with the sun drifting in and out. The Serengeti is sporting a fine stand of Yellow Flag Irises at the moment.

These six Egyptian goslings were busily cropping the already well-cropped grass on a rather distant island. Out of shot are their parents and a seventh gosling - an impressive family, given that the goslings are already big enough to be out of reach to most predators. There were also two female Mallards with three ducklings each, and a ducklingless trio of Shovelers.

The Mute Swan pair on East Lake have also had a happy event, with three cygnets. If I get the chance before we go away (week in Norfolk from Saturday) I'll look in on the Long Lake and Snipe Bog Lake pairs, both of which were on eggs last time I saw them.


Warren Baker said...

Well done on getting out in this less than summery weather marianne, you still managed to see plenty though. :-)

Hard work isn't it!

Jason K said...

Im with Warren on that seem to have made the most of an indifferent weekend!

ShySongbird said...

You certainly took your chances and made the most of things! Another interesting post and lovely photos. Good to see the Cuckoo.

I have just read that butterfly numbers in the UK dropped by almost a quarter last Summer! I dread to think what the figures will eventually say about this year :-(

Phil said...

It's hard to find any decent light for photos again Marianne, but I particularly like your Common Blue shot.
Hope your Dad's OK and good luck in Norfolk next week. We're due some decent weather so hopefully you'll strike lucky. Looking forward to seeing some pics either way.

Mike Attwood said...

Much more success than I have been getting lately.