Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Brimstone moth

Nature does not seem to like to fit in with a photographer's plans. 

I was enjoying an early morning coffee in the garden prior to going out when a Brimstone moth flew in and landed on a leaf. My cameras were packed ready for the off but I quickly put a macro lens on and took a photo. This species is supposed to be common but I have not see it in the garden before.

Due to time constraints there was no time for a tripod and I had to stand on a garden chair to reach the level of the moth.

Hopefully I will be better prepared and have more time if Opisthograptis luteolata visits again.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

In search of the Dingy Skipper

Last year we visited Kipplingcotes Chalk pit hoping to see Dingy Skippers but another photographer told us we were too late in the year to see them so a mental note to visit earlier next year was made.

Being late May we decided that the time was right. The day was sunny but windy and it was too early for many of the wild flowers that grow here. 

The area around the chalk pit is farmed although some land is too steep to be cultivated. The fields are bordered with hedgerows.

Due to the wind the day was not ideal for butterfly spotting but there was plenty of bird life about including Yellowhammers and Meadow pipits

Every so often a butterfly would appear but not settle and moved along with the sometimes strong gusts of wind. Eventually I saw a Common blue land and managed a couple of photos before it moved off.

It now seemed as though there was little chance of seeing our target species but as we made our way back we finally saw some. The wind again made things difficult but one finally landed for long enough for a photo. Our search was over.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Cuckoo Clocks

We went for a walk by the canal. 

Approaching a reed bed the air was filled with the sound of Reed warblers and Buntings. This Reed bunting stayed in view just long enough to get a photo.

 Further up two Chaffinches flew out of a Hawthorn bush and started a bit of aerial combat.

The Hawthorn bushes were all in flower

There was a field full of Dandelion clocks

 The white Dead nettles were in flower

as were the Red campion

Reed warblers can be hard to photograph as they are very active and often well into the reed bed. We found one on the edge in clear view but sadly two dog walkers who we had just passed us turned back and chose that spot and moment to throw a stick for their dog!

Resisting the temptation to throw them in after the stick - well that would have only scared the warblers even more :-)  - we moved on.

As it was a warm day there were Roach at the surface.

Where Rutilus Rutilus is Esox Lucius is never far away and sure enough we saw this Pike

After checking on some nesting swans (still sitting on their eggs) we returned to where the Reed warbler had been and luckily it  had returned

Moving down we heard a Cuckoo in the distance and then another closer on the far bank. Slowly moving towards it we managed to see it. 

Most stretches of the canal have Yellow water-lily and the first flower of the year had come out

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Summer in the air

After a morning's work I popped to Allerthorpe wood for a lunchtime walk. 

The walk stated off well and I saw a Great spotted woodpecker and Blackcap but after a short while I heard a noise behind and saw a dog. The dog walkers were some distance away so the dog decided it was with me. I grew up with dogs and so do like them but this one was doing a good job of scaring anything off before I had a chance of a photo. Eventually the shouting from the owners persuaded my new canine friend to leave me. Later on their lack on control resulted in the sound of growling echoing about the wood as they met another dog.

Doing my best to avoid gaining a new four legged companion I walked deeper into the wood. I sat on a felled tree trunk to have a snack and heard a Green woodpecker. I saw it but was unable to get closer for a better photo.

I saw it fly to another tree and take up the classic woodpecker pose but as I raised the camera to my eye and pressed the shutter button I thought I saw it fly off. It was not until I looked at the resulting blurred photo later that I saw what had really happened - another bird had flown behind the one I was focusing on. 1-0 to the woodpeckers.

As I had been in one spot for sometime other birds moved in and a few Long-tailed tits arrived. One looked down at the sound of the shutter but did not fly off so I slipped the camera into quiet mode (a feature of the D300s that I am starting to find useful) and it stayed for a few minutes more.

 When I arrived at the wood I could see there had been an earlier and localised shower but the sun was now shining and it was getting quite warm as the cool Northerly winds of previous days had gone. There was a different scent in the air and as I walked along noting an increase in insect life I realised that this day was announcing that Summer was on the way.

Although I was nearly back to the car I decided to stay a little longer and turned onto a different path. I was rewarded with the sighting of a Wren.

I suspected this was close to a nest and moved on so as not to disturb it.

A Brimstone butterfly was my next sighting.
Shortly after that I saw this Green-veined white. 

As I was taking a photo of it I heard a kind lady telling her dog to "stay" and thankfully it was far better behaved than the others I had seen and obeyed.  Due to this considerate dog walker I got my first photo of the year of this butterfly.

Returning to the car park I passed this Pink Purslane.

It may originally be a garden escape  but it made a pretty sight in the wood.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Humble Pie and Blue Sky

Today we had a trip to Whitby.

Starting at the Abbey we walked past the pond and saw the four Aylesbury ducks that arrived in March after being donated by a couple from East Yorkshire to replace the previous ducks.

They seem very happy in their new home.

Swallows were collecting mud for nest building from the margins.

Walking through the visitor centre we looked across the courtyard back to the abbey.

Walking down the famous 199 steps gave us a good view over the rooftops

There was plenty of sunshine but with the wind blowing from the North it was on the chilly side. Whe had a good excuse then to pay a visit to the Humble Pie 'n' Mash cafe. 

After pie, mashed potato, peas and gravy we were well prepared to venture seaward.

With a strong Northerly there was plenty of surf.

Some hardy day trippers were enjoying a trip on the Endeavour pleasure boat.

We watched the Herring gulls for a while then headed back out of the wind to Whitby for a coffee.  

Our chosen place of refreshment was sadly closed however after a search for alternatives we discovered a gem in The Art Cafe who do an excellent cappuccino with the bonus of a delightful art gallery. A few pounds poorer but refreshed and with a couple of purchases we headed home.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Wagging Tails

Another trip to the local canal.

A sunny day had brought the butterflies out including this female Orange-tip. 

Further along the path this male Chaffinch was filling the air with his song.

Hearing a Cuckoo in the distance it was fitting that I found some Cuckoo flowers.

Stopping by one of the locks I watched a Pied wagtail.

There were quite a few Caddis flies about some being taken by fish but this one was in a safer area.

Nearing an area of reeds and willows the air was full of the songs of both Reed and Willow warblers together with Chiffchaffs and Reed buntings. 

 I walked towards the area where I had seen a Grey wagtail on a previous visit and was delighted to see one on a fence. As I got closer I heard heavy breathing behind me and was overtaken by a jogger with two dogs. The wagtail did not move until they were a few feet away from it. I wondered how close I would have been able to get. The jogging group then stopped and turned  - the dogs wagging their tails - they were certainly enjoying their exercise . I nearly turned back myself but carried on and saw one wagtail on the far bank. Another appeared on my side and stayed as I slowly moved forward to taking photos at each step.

On the second photo you can see a Hawthorn fly - my first sighting of the year and a sure sign that May had arrived.

Highlights of the walk back included a Yellowhammer

and a Lapwing.