Monday, 29 July 2013

There were just a few sunny spells in an overcast sky this morning, and with the strong SW wind it felt cool.

I only visited Migrant Alley, the Greenhouse Grounds and the Scrubby Woods today, still hoping to add something to the months list, which is just 2 short of the highest July tally, surely with the 12 year combined species list for July on 89, something will turn up  :-)

A circuit of the Fields and Paddocks of Migrant Alley didn't produce an early passage migrant, instead, I again enjoyed the spectacle of well over a hundred Geese in the sheep pasture, split 60/40 GREYLAGS over CANADA. All the regular species were also seen there, ROOKS, JACKDAWS, CARRION CROWS a few MAGPIES and WOODPIGEONS, plus a dozen LINNETS flitting between one of the paddocks and the fence rail. 30-40 SWALLOWS were whizzing around the area, with a few HOUSE MARTINS, and higher up small numbers of SWIFTS were moving through.

The Wooded Headland and the Greenhouse Grounds could only muster one CHIFFCHAFF, one BLACKCAP and the WHITETHROAT family between them, I was hoping, maybe, for my first migrant sedge Warbler of the year, they dont turn up every year here though.

A forty minute skywatch from my seat, now hoping for a fly over Cormorant that didn't materialise, did give me great views of a PEREGRINE as it flew in low over the sheep pasture and half heartedly lunged at a young Rook. HERRING and LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS passed over, as did a SPARROWHAWK, a YELLOWHAMMER was heard singing from High House Lane 400 meters away, and more of a surprise was hearing, then seeing, a TREECREEPER move along the tall hedgerow behind my seat.

The visit to the Scrubby Woods also failed to get me a new species for the month, the hoped for Turtle Doves that were there in June seem to have gone now, and a migrant Garden warbler wasn't forthcoming  :-(  The lakes didn't provide any cheer today either, just more Canada geese ! Even the Coot family look to have moved on now, they havn't been seen for two days.

All can change though, and with 2 visits still left for July, i'm still hoping i'll add something to this months list  :-)

Whilst in the Scrubby Woods I found some insects to photograph, that kept me bust for an hour, it wasn't easy with the wind blowing the way it was  ;-)
Common Darter
There were three or four of these about, but they were very wary and hard to approach
Eventually one settled down though
They aren't a Common species here at all now
I got lucky with this Purple Hairstreak, it was nice and low on a bramble  :-)
Around lunch time I headed off out to do some Butterfly photography, but didn't last long, the wind just made it nigh impossible today. I was pleased to find another fresh Small Copper though, as well as a Brown Argus.
Small Copper
Brown Argus, a female i think  :-)


Marianne said...

Great set of in-your-face insect pics - I really love the Small Copper in particular. Hope the tail end of July delivers something new in the bird line for you :)

Warren Baker said...

Cheers Marianne,
Looks like tomorrow may be lost though, lots of rain coming in :-(

Marc Heath said...

Great macro shots Warren. Lovely detail in that top shot.

Alan Pavey said...

Nice pics Mate, did have 2 Turtle Dove this morning a rarity this year so for. Otherwise quiet.

Tim James said...

Fabulous set of shots, Warren. I particularly like the impressive macro shot of the Common Darter's head. What was the camera/lens set-up. Great work – Tim

Warren Baker said...

Hi Tim,
I always use my Canon 50D for all my images. For my insect photographs I always put my 36mm extension tube on my 70-300mm canon zoom lens.

With the extension tube, I can get a minimun focal distance of around 30cm at the 70mm end of the zoom lens and about 2.5 meters at the 300mm end.

I try to keep the aperture between 8 and 11, and shoot at an iso of no less than 400 and no higher than 800.

Hope that helps :-)

Warren Baker said...

By The way, My camera settings for the top common darter photo were as follows:

Aperture F8
ISO 800
Shutter speed 250
Focal length 85mm
-1 exposure compensation.
Manually focused :-)