Friday, 30 September 2011

Hornet mimic

At least 4 gorgeous red admirals on the flowering ivy this afternoon when we returned to T's house at Felixstowe.  When I went for a closer look I spotted a very large hoverfly with a yellow face which was also feeding busily.

Volucella zonaria

Volucella zonaria

This is Volucella zonaria, the hornet mimic hoverfly, another species of insect which has become more common recently.  The adults are migratory, very large, and resemble hornets in their yellow and brown colouring.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Sea-watching at Shingle Street

17th September

With thoughts of recent shearwater etc sightings, I suggested a visit to Shingle Street this afternoon.  I also thought there might be some butterflies and/or dragonflies about, but in the event we only saw 1 red admiral which seemed to be determined to find it's way over to Belgium.

The beach here is well vegetated with sea kale, yellow horned poppy, sea pea and sea campion.  The sea kale held an amazing number of snails, of all sizes and various colours.  The sea pea was seeding but must have been  a colourful sight earlier in the season.

We had good views of a couple of wheatears perching on the wire fence beyond the cottages, there were also several meadow pipits and sky larks in this area.

The seawatching was not particularly productive but we did see 2 small flocks of wigeon flying south, and around 40 brent geese.  A small number of terns were seen but these were too far out to identify to species.  3 sanderling flew south just off the beach. Otherwise that was about it apart from a few gulls and a cormorant.

It had been quite pleasant sitting on the beach in the sunshine, even with a moderate breeze, but after about an hour an obvious storm cloud was gathering to windward so we thought it was time to go.

Photos to follow

Friday, 16 September 2011

Titchwell 15th September

It would have been nice if the Little Bittern had still been around, but it was not to be.  However it was too nice a day to mope at home, so we decided to go and have a look at Titchwell anyway.  I was interested to see what was happening with the project to breach the seawall.

Common Darters 

The boardwalk round to Fen Hide was popular with Common Darter dragonflies.  Several males were patrolling territory and were quite easy to photograph as they kept  returning to their favoured spots.  This pair were on the handrail and very approachable.  

Some larger dragonflies were very active over the first pools beside the main path, these seemed to be Migrant Hawkers but it was difficult to get a good view.

The fresh marsh from Parrinder hide mostly contained a selection of waterfowl.  A small group of waders visible through the haze in the furthest corner contained at least a few curlew sandpipers, and one little stint. A flock of golden plover flew over, and also several small skeins of pink-footed geese were seen passing through.  It was nice to watch meadow pipits and goldfinches coming down to bath just in front of the hide, they would have made a nice picture if I had brought my digiscope attachment!

The brackish marsh was quite interesting.  The recent high tide had obviously flooded in and it had left some areas of water, it will fascinating  to see how this develops.  Waders seen included 2 avocet, a curlew and a few redshanks.  At least 2 very nice yellow wagtails were putting on a good show in the corner near to the bank, with a number of pied wagtails including some juveniles.  

The tide was well out when we reached the beach, but there were plenty of birds along the waterline.  These included the usual oystercatchers, both godwits, dunlin etc.  I was pleased to see a small flock of knot feeding along the edge, but only picked out a single sanderling.  There may have been more if we had walked a bit further but time was getting short so we called it a day.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

More dragonflies

Friday 9th September
Walked down the lane from T's house to the bushes where we watched sedge warblers and white-throats earlier this year.  Lots of dragonflies about, mostly migrant hawkers and common darters, with 1 southern hawker.  

Saturday 10th September
Newbourne Springs
My first visit here for nearly 10 years.  Saw a comma and a few red admirals.  Quite a lot of common darters but the only one I managed to photograph was this female.  It does show the pale stripe on the legs quite well though.

Common Darter