I walked across to Stoke Park this morning before it was too hot and before the light was too bright; so no excuses about the light today.
I was hoping to see a whinchat. My mission was soon accomplished and so I then went in search of other birds and insects.
I was surprised to see a dozen swifts – I thought they had all departed. During the last week I have seen house martins, swallows and swifts over Duchess Pond.
There was a buzzard over the woods.
Around Duchess Pond a grey heron posed and occasionally flew from one patch to another.
There was a Painted Lady butterfly and several damselflies and dragonflies.
The motorway was quite quiet for a change and I could have stayed all morning but, if I had, I would have had to spend the rest of the day editing hundreds of photos. So home I went and faced up to England’s dismal performance in the Test match.
The weather has certainly bucked up today and it has been sunny and warm. Late in the afternoon we had a walk around our local park. In the full sunlight it was diffficult to pick things out but a Red Admiral butterflly and a couple of grey herons on the lake were easy enough (although difficult to photograph in the bright sunshine).
Grey heron scrambling out of the lake having fished its supper
Grey heron struggling to swallow its supper
On the way home we spotted three kingfishers flying round together near the weir. I then had the opposite challenge of trying to photograph them in the deep shade; likewise with three grey wagtails one of which was enjoying the challenge of a large beetle.
Grey wagtail devouring beetle
I was looking forward to going to Severnside today as I was anticipating seeing lots of waders but I was greatly disappointed especially as, even though reasonable weather had been forecast, it was in fact very gloomy and quite cold.
I saw lots of Canada Geese (well over 400), mute swans, black-tailed godwits (quite distant on the wetlands), goldfinch, starlings, pied wagtails, house martins and swallows and, I realised when I edited my photos, a flock of more than 30 curlews. There were a few butterflies too.
A (rather faded) Painted Lady
I spent the morning painting the garden fence so I needed a treat in the afternoon. Do I really need an excuse? So, another trip across the road to Stoke Park.
Today it was the turn of the swallows. By the marshy copse I could see reed buntings flying off to hide in the trees and a I also saw a painted lady butterfly. Around Duchess Pond there were still a few common darters (darting too much for me), some damselflies and a very distant green spotted woodpecker.
I played golf this morning and there were House Martins buzzing all around me on the course – perhaps the distraction was the reason I played so badly. So, this afternoon I thought I would have another go at photographing some over at Stoke Park.
I didn’t really have the success of a few days ago but it was still fun trying – more akin to fishing perhaps?
There was also a very distant kestrel and I managed a few acceptable shots considering how far away it was.
Not quite knowing what the weather was going to do today we had an early morning walk to Eastville Park where we spent quite a bit of our walk sheltering from the rain. Of note we saw a grey heron on the lake and more than 40 house martins flying quite high over the lake.
Grey heron on the lake at Eastville Park
At the weir we had a good view of a kingfisher but I was chatting to a fellow photographer and failed to get a photo.
On our return we grabbed some breakfast and then I escaped domestic chores and wandered over to Stoke Park to see if I could be any more successful.
The sun came out and I had a wonderful couple of hours photographing reed bunting, house martins and damselflies, dragonflies and butterflies. I also grabbed a photo of a green woodpecker and another grey heron. I also had another very good view of a kingfisher but again failed to get a shot as I was “chimping” at one of my dragonfly shots.
Female reed bunting
I couldn’t resist going back again this morning to see if I could get better shots of the whinchat. Thanks to Ali from Brixham who spotted it away from the reeds I was very pleased with the results. A very enjoyable hour. Not so many different types of birds this morning (mainly reed buntings) but that wasn’t my focus. A few butterflies too.
Encouraged by what I had seen in the park yesterday I went back this morning to see if I could see the whinchat that has been reported in recent days.
First of all in the marshy area I saw reed buntings again. In the same area I also saw goldfinch, common whitethroat, a bluetit and overhead a kestrel (which was almost impossible to photograph as it was against the light).
Reed bunting in flight
Aggressive reed bunting
Common whitethroat in flight
Just as I was about to move on I caught sight of the whinchat. It’s not that rare but I was dead chuffed to see it. I stayed for a while but that was the only sighting.
I did a loop of Duchess Pond and saw more goldfinches, a green woodpecker and moorhens, coots and mallards.
Green woodpecker in flight
Coot putting its chick in place
There were also a few bedraggled butterflies.
We had a brief walk around Stoke Park and managed to dodge the showers.
We caught sight of 2 reed buntings and a whitethroat in the marshy area and saw the beautiful fly past of a grey heron at Duchess Pond.
I managed almost 90 in focus photos of this grey heron in its short flight across the pond – the amazing technology of modern mirrorless cameras!
Yesterday the weather was even worse but the sun shone for a few minutes and I couldn’t resist photographing some insects in the garden.
We have been away on holiday on the North Cornwall coast for the past week. I didn’t get much opportunity for nature photos except on this day when we saw some lovely butterflies.
Some of the beautiful scenery in North Cornwall
My favourite butterflies were the Common Blues.
Female Common Blue
Male Common Blue
Male Red Admiral
Female Red Admiral