My blog is mostly about wildlife, particularly birds, walking, days out, all growing things and anything else that comes to mind.
To view pictures in larger format, just click on any picture for the picture gallery....

Friday, 31 July 2009

I escaped...

For reasons I won't go into here, I've not been able to get out and about much over the last few days (although the weather hasn't been conducive to carrying a camera about) but today I managed a quick canter around Bushy Park.

I've also had a visit from my daughter who was up for a friend's wedding reception and dropped in for a cuppa - great to see you SPD - I miss y0u!

I was pleased to see the seven remaining Mute Swan cygnets growing up. They've reached that rather "uninteresting" stage, when they've lost their very new born "cuteness" and haven't yet developed enough white feathers of the teens; so for the moment are a rather dull and uninteresting grey. Not helped by the fact that the sun chose to disappear the minute I reached my destination!

I was surprised to see this very young family of seven Red-crested Pochards

and then to discover another family - this time a family of seven Tufted Ducks!

Along the path were two Black-tailed skimmers - ensuring the continuation of their species. What always amazes me is that dragons can fly about in this position.
(Needless to say they landed where I had to take the pic directly into the sun, and had no chance to get lower down for a better shot.) They then moved off as quickly as they'd arrived!
And thanks to Randy for help with this

Moving into the Woodland Gardens, the flowers were attracting many butterflies

Fresh as new paint Painted Ladies


Not sure about this one - it was tiny compared to the others
EDIT: It's a small copper. Thanks to Jerry for the ID :)

And a double bill - just in case you're wondering, the picture is the right way up!

And tomorrow....... who knows........ bet it's raining though......

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Some birds of prey and smaller creatures

Yesterday (Saturday) one of the local garden centres had a display by a local falconer and he flew some of the birds. The weather wasn't up to much but I did manage to get some flight shots of this eagle. The frustrating thing being I can't remember it's name! Hey ho!

And today, another Falconer was flying his birds at Painshill. Unfortunately the light was dreadful and it drizzled most of the afternoon.

So pictures mostly of birds sitting on their perches.

A Bateleur Eagle

And my favourite, a Barn Owl

doing what Barn Owls should in the early afternoon - dozing.

Lanner Falcon

Lugger Falcon

When the drizzle stopped for a bit, I went for a short wander before rain drove the camera under cover and me - to home!

Rather tatty looking flutter!

A Red tailed Bumblebee - whoo hoo!

Buff tailed Bumble (I think)

Still looking for Cinnabar moth caterpillars and still not finding any, I did come across this rather colourful fly..

and these rather "occupied" red beetles!

Not the most inspiring weekend for pictures - one of those, sadly, when you're inclined to think .... "was it worth it?" Never mind; I'm sure the sun will come out to play - eventually!!

Friday, 24 July 2009

The East of Sussex!

A couple of days ago, I went down to visit Mum as she wanted to visit a shop in Eastbourne. The object of our visit was to assess "Car Transportable Scooters". This is a small sit-on motorised scooter for Mum that takes apart and fits in the boot of my car. So we needed to assess a) was it comfortable and fit for purpose to drive and b) could I get the relevant bits into the car. The outcome: yes in both cases! Whey hey!

We went down to the beach where we had a quick snack. I'd managed to find a parking space on the sea front not far from the bandstand. Parking ticket paid for and displayed together with the "Blue Badge", a very friendly parking warden then advised me that, as a Blue Badge Holder, we didn't need to pay for parking! Well, I was surprised. It seems to vary depending on where you are and which county you're in.

Sitting on the beach having lunch (well, not actually "on the beach" as such as our venue involved a table and chairs mounted on decking and smoked salmon and scrambled egg on our plates - yummy!), I realised my camera was not that far away in the boot of the car, so took just a very few pictures of the bandstand and pier.

Whilst the sun was shining and the "loungers" were out, no-one was sunbathing; just as well really as there was quite a cool wind!

Looking the other way, Eastbourne's answer to Bay Watch personnel, stared vacantly out to sea. The warning flags were out but hardly anyone on the beach to take head.

Just a chance shot as this Gull wheeled above us. Took this with the wide angle lens then heavily cropped it.

Then off to visit a very good friend in the area who plied us with tea and chocolate cake - (thank you )! Oooh - well it would have been very rude to have refused :D

and finally - home. The M25 had many hold ups and, although I wasn't travelling on it, the traffic towards home was diabolical as the feeder roads were also affected. Took two "alternative" routes then found an even more local hold up caused by it being a Race Day at the local racecourse.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Flying about at Painshill

My first day for a while, where I've had a full free day - which is nice in some ways but...

I went to Painshill as I needed some exercise and it's big enough for a goodish walk. Also a steep hill in the wooded area which got the blood pumping round the system.

In terms of birds, there wasn't much about. A Nuthatch and Green Woodpecker kept taunting me with their calls, and a wren was "tick ticking" in the shrubbery. None of them deigned to grace me with their presence!

Most of the flying activity was by the "wee folk". The colour yellow seems to be the attractant for some of the wee beasties!

This, I think (because it's only got one spot) is a Meadow Brown

On the lake, "boatmen" abounded - I've never seen so many in one place at the same time. Here are a "couple" ;)

Black-tailed Skimmers were everywhere...

and a fair smattering of Red-eyed Damselflies..

Banded Demoiselles were still evident and, if you look below the "arc", there seems to be a dragonfly flying through!

and this beauty was the only one of its kind that I saw. I think it's a small blue (although an Adonis Blue would be lovely - but unlikely).
And these are the only two views I had of it before it flew off again..

EDIT: I now believe this to be a Common Blue
Thanks to Steve, Pete, and Keith for their input and help

A Black-headed Gull flew passed and initially dropped this fish in the lake. It then flew back again and collected it!

As I watched I became aware of a Great Crested Grebe. An inital glance and I got excited thinking it was a youngster (although no sign of surviving eggs had been seen recently). But, on reflection, it was rather large so I've decided it's an adult going into winter plumage.

EDIT: And I'm still undecided as to whether its a Juvenile or an adult losing its summer plumage

Another "conductor" - this time a Greylag Goose. The Canada Geese (there were about 50 of them!) were totally disinterested!

Two Egyptian Geese "crash landed" on the lake nearby

These two young mallards ducklings are the offspring of..

a rather pretty Mum.

Three (of the seven cygnets) had been dozing but decided to wake up

A bit of preening and it's always good when one of your siblings gives a helping hand.

So off to the supermarket for some vital supplies and off home!
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