Thursday, 25 August 2016

What happened to summer then?

Three months since I last took to my blog - can't believe that!  On GCSE results day I really should do better! (I did see one young lady on the Beeb this morning who got 8 A* AND 5 A's - 13 GCSE's - wow, well done young lady!, her friend was chuffed with his 5 C's, 1 B, a D and 2 E's he got what he needed for his apprenticeship, she had no idea what she was going to do next! - it's all relative).

So I've been out & about  - what's that So doing there? I hate that.  Anyway, I've been out & about but haven't really captured that many memorable images - until I go back & have a look at them. 

Special mention to my mate "The Bearded Tit" who has accompanied me on several of these outings and has put up with my inane rants & ramblings while plying me with bottles of beer in lieu of petrol! Cheers mate your company & knowledge is very much appreciated, as are the beers!

My highlight was a trip to Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire - where real tea comes from, yeah right, or reet as they say in Brid! I stayed in a B&B in Bridlington, in a once salubrious part of town I suspect - once.  Nice place though & more than adequate for my needs - breakfasts were excellent, really excellent (or should that be eggs-ellent? No probably not!).

My first trip t' Yorkshire coast, and eet wer greet!  T'Gannets weer aboot in greet abundance and t'cliffs were t'errific- see what I did there?!

Gannets, Puffins, Guillemots, Kittiwakes, Razorbills, Fulmars, Gulls big & smaller, Meadow Pipits, Tree Sparras, rain, wind, sun, hail, tea, coffee & sarnies - all greet!

Here's a few pics - not of the food & drink tho'!

View from top to bottom - Bempton Cliffs

Bempton Cliffs in the sun

Flamborough Head lighthouse and impending storm!




Immature Gannet over Gannet colony


Collecting nesting material

Meadow Pipit

Tree Sparrow bath time

Puffin - as if I need to tell you!


Incoming Razorbill


As summer slipped by (one afternoon) the birds kept their heads down in the main and the dragons & butterflies took over, not intentionally but needs must.

Several trips to Hertford Heath & Balls Wood in search of White Admirals and Purple Emperor - nah!, one unsuccessful visit to Paxton Pits which included an unintentional detour via Newmarket, discovered HMWT Danemead and loved it mainly because there were dragons there, and Silver washed Fritillary which was my raison d'etre. And it was nice and quiet generally.

Some pics from Danemead

Black-tailed Skimmers

Brown Hawker

Migrant Hawker

Migrant Hawker

Silver-washed Fritillary

Silver-washed Fritillary

Southern Hawker

Southern Hawker

Amwell of course figured through this period though not as much as during the winter for some reason.  I tended to find myself there for a late afternoon / evening stroll rather than mornings.  I spooked a male Sprawk on the walkway between James & White hide on 3 different occasions and didn't get a single photo but did swear a few times!  The Dragonfly area has been unusually quiet but I blame Carol Kirkwood for that after all she is "Head of Weather" at the BBC - her bonus should be withheld - I'll hold it! (Hello Katy Kingfisher!) - I did find a Skimmer, an Emperor ovipositing, a Four spot, a couple of Hawkers and a single Willow Emerald.

Fresh Black-tailed Skimmer

Emperor ovipositing

Four-spotted Chaser

Hovering Migrant Hawker

Migrant Hawker

Willow Emerald Damselfly

Willow Emerald - she didn't go far!

RSPB Rye Meads too figured from time to time but I find it difficult to get anything different there at the moment, and not being a Kingfisher person (not there at least!) . . . I can't sit in a hide all day I prefer to keep moving even if the rewards are sparse.  No KF pics for me but here are a few other bits from Rye Meads - have to say nothing special for me though others have clearly had some good days there as witnessed on Twitter.

Brown Hawker

Willow Emerald Damselfly

Migrant Hawker

Six-spot Burnett moth

Little Grebe

and finally after a brief summer, details of how not to treat your camera.

Camera do's and don'ts

- take it with you to Panshanger Park;
- do have it assembled and ready to go BEFORE you get to the Dragonfly Trail (which I would have liked more I'm sure in different circumstances!);
- take a few test shots before deciding on your final settings;
- rest your camera somewhere solid and secure, or keep the strap round your neck (which I can't get on with!).

- put it on top of your camera bag next to the water - no matter how stable you think it is;
- turn your back on it for a split second;
- assume the splash you heard must've been a watervole;
- swear too loud when you realise it wasn't a watervole;
- turn the air a very deep blue with a stream of obscenities - especially if there is a family group going by at the time!

and a final "Do" - make sure you've got some insurance (as advised by Seymour Birdies!).  Fortunately mine is covered (confirmed) on my Household Contents policy.

Happy days - keep 'em peeled!

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