Today I just tested out the bus route and had a walk around Burdon Moor in the sunshine, suss out the ponds there but not expecting much.
So quite a surprise when I spotted a cracking male Whinchat perched atop a talk stalk at the side of the pond near the paddock gate round the far side of the loop. I thought it probably too late for this species this year but what a cracker he looked in the sunshine.
He wouldn't come closer however and my attempts to photograph him at the distance were at worst shite, and at best shit.
After teasing me for a while he disappeared, but four brown hares caught my attention and they entertained me for a while as they chased each other up and down between the tufts of long grasses. After that I walked around another lap of the loop without seeing much bar the usual suspects, but returning down the top of the same path, the Whinchat flew over my head and alighted on the fence behind me. Perfect, as I was now looking away from the Sun and seeing him at close proximity his spring plumage was outstanding. Probably the best view of such a pristine bird I've ever had, they're just about annual here on migration but last time for me was 3 or 4 years ago, I think 4 birds were present but all kept their distance, and I probably have to go back to the year 2000 before I last had a real good view of one. This feller was a beaut . . .
|No words necessary, what a little cracker :-)|
|Closest shot I could muster of the hares|
|Most were of this ilk|
Not much doing damsel-wise, Large Reds were most prominent species, a few azures and a blue-tail all on the open pond opposite the Stone frog Pond, which isn't really a pond at the moment as it's completely dried up. Dare I say it, we need some rain already ?
|Best of the few damsel shots I got, a tandem pair of Large Reds|
|Another pair ovipositing|
|A few tenerals flew up, not sure of the species but the two stripes on the eye|
lean me towards Large Red
Last canny sighting was at the bus stop for the return journey, a dozen or so workers of a formica lemani (ants) colony were foraging, usually only see this fast-moving species in ones and twos as they tend to forage alone, so I deduced the nest must be very close by. And being fast little blighters they again are difficult to photograph (and being at a bus stop on a busy road brings added problems for the self-conscious insect nerd, being on hands and knees with camera poked inches from the ground) so I was chuffed when one heavily laden ant required help to bring a large fly under control, so could reel off a few quick snaps and put camera away quickly.
|Some sort of fly being dispatched by a couple or three of hard-working f lemani ants|
Another enjoyable little session, the surprise Whinchat deffo star of the show:-)