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23rd June 2021 – Stoke Park Estate, Bristol

I had seen reports from a local odonatologist that he had seen a Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly on our local patch amongst the more abundant Blue-tailed Damselfly. This has now been confirmed and apparently this is now the only site in (the former county of) Avon for these damselflies. What is just as exciting is that this is the 23rd species of dragonfly noted in the park, meaning that we now have more than half the country’s species at the site.

I therefore thought that as there is a Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly in the park this would be a good time to go and try my hand at photographing dragonflies and damselflies and then try the even more difficult task of identifying them.

Around Duchess Pond there was indeed an abundance of dragonflies and damselflies and here are some of my photographic attempts. I’m less sure about my ID skills.

Emperor dragonfly
Emperor dragonfly ovipositing
Emperor dragonfly in flight
Four spotted chaser dragonfly
Blue-tailed damselfly

Common Blue Damselfly

I may have photographed others!

Other than moorhens, coots and Canada geese I didn’t see many birds except fora very cheery song thrush which posed very nicely for me.

Song thrush
Song thrush

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7th-11th June 2021 – Cornwall

A week’s holiday in St Ives didn’t lend itself a lot to bird photography (unless I wanted to spend my time photographing gulls making a nuisance of themselves in the town and even I would have felt too much of a Wally doing that). However, despite the mediocre weather and the restrictions caused by the G7 conference in nearby Carbis Bay, we did have a lovely time visiting some of the great gardens of Cornwall and walking some of the magnificent coastal paths. We even spotted a few birds too.

We found three gardens new to us – Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens (https://www.tremenheere.co.uk/), Trengwainton Garden NT (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/trengwainton-garden) and Trerice NT (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/trerice).

At Tremenheere we particularly loved the exotic and sub-tropical plants (reminded us of our trips to South Africa) and the wonderful views of St Michael’s Mount and Mounts Bay. All three gardens had decent cafés too.

After our visit to Tremenheere on the first day we also had a walk around Marazion Nature Reserve run by the RSPB where there were swallows, martins, whitethroats, grey herons and egrets.

On our second day we visited Trengwainton Garden near Penzance and then headed north to the coast to walk a section of the coastal path with views of Cape Cornwall and Botallack Head and its tin mines famous from the tv series Poldark.

Later in the week we spent a day in and around Hayle (on the estuary and at Godrevy Point) and saw quite a few birds. The National Trust has been working closely with their tenant farmers to find ways of improving wildlife across the high yielding broccoli fields and everywhere you now see the purple flowers of a crop called Phocelia which acts as a green manure, reduces the need for fertilizers and is a great nectar source for bees and butterflies

The aircraft carrier tucked behind Godrevy lighthouse served as a constant reminder of the G7 conference at Carbis Bay

Phocelia looks spectacular on a sunny day – not so today

We stopped at Trerice NT (near Newquay) early on our journey home for a well-earned coffee stop after the exertions of packing up and tidying our holiday let.