Thursday, 30 October 2014

The 'Ex' Factor!

This has been the first year that I have purposely gone looking for dragonfly and damselfly exuvia, the larval skin of the dragonfly that is left behind clinging to the reeds etc after the dragonfly has emerged. I found a few throughout the year, a few Emperor Dragonfly exuvia which I photographed at home but wish I had photographed on site now and also witnessed a few dragonflies and damselflies that had just emerged and were still clinging on to the exuvia. A priority next year is to actually watch the whole event from leaving the water to emerging as an adult and hopefully capturing this sight on camera. I was lucky this year to witness a Migrant Hawker which had just emerged drying out near to its exuvia. Although the adult was stunning I was transfixed with the fresh exuvia and just amazed at the process of emergence and how this is left behind. The sun was behind me on this morning and with wellingtons on and the tripod and camera set up in position I was able to grab a few images. This one is probably the sharpest out of the bunch taken and shows all the details of the exuvia. After a few days of hanging on to the reeds, the wind normally blows them off into the water never to be seen again. A truly magical sight to witness.

Migrant Hawker Exuvia

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Willows in Tandem

With spells of rain today and a grey day I spent some time going through some old photos I have taken throughout the year and was pleased to find a photo of some Willow Emerald Damselflies in tandem, not the mating wheel shot I was after but as near as I have got so far. I seem to remember seeing quite a few pairs in tandem at Nethergong campsite a few months ago but never did find a pair mating and obviously forgot I had taken these shots. I will have to make the time next year to get this shot as it seems I won't be getting it this year. Hopefully better weather tomorrow so I can get out for a look around.

Willow Emerald Damselflies in Tandem

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Some Quality Arrives!

After getting up this morning I checked my phone to see I had received a text message from Derek Smith alerting me that he had just found a Yellow browed Warbler at Shuart. After getting ready I made my way over there about 9.15am and after speaking to Derek made my way to the area he had seen it in. The sun was in and out and by now the wind had picked up considerably, not ideal conditions for finding a little bird in the tree tops. I wandered around for half an hour or so not hearing or seeing it. I did see c5 Goldrest, 1 Chiffchaff, 5 Long tailed Tit, 3 Siskin flew south, 1 Common Buzzard flew over and my first Fieldfare of the autumn called as it flew over. I made my way back to the original area and set about looking again. I soon picked up a small bird in the tree tops moving through and after getting on to it, could see it was the Yellow browed Warbler. It called occasionally and seemed to be moving along the hedge line so I moved in front of it hoping I would be able to get a record shot of it. Rather than auto focus which was picking up on the leaves I opted for manual focus and with a bit of patience I managed to get a few shots of this little beauty. The second shot is not that good but I liked the way the sun caught the eye stripe making it stand out.

Yellow browed Warbler

It was not easy work, the settings constantly being changed as it went from dark in the tree to brighter in the tree tops. Needless to say, my use of settings was not very good but I managed along with Mike Gould who joined me a set of usable images.

Yellow browed Warbler

I left it in peace and decided to walk down to the sea and west to Chambers Wall and back through Chambers Wall. The sun was quite warm when out but a strong wind I suspect kept the small stuff down. Birds noted were 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 15 Skylark, 26 Mute Swan, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 35 Lapwing, 1 Rock Pipit, 1 Black Redstart east of Coldharbour on rocks 1 Curlew, 15 Ringed Plover, 54 Mallard, 13 Oystercatcher and 5 Sanderling. There were 3 Grey Plover, 2 Turnstone, 3 Stonechat, 1 Jay, 3 Redshank, 2 Marsh Harrier and 2 Green Woodpecker. Iv'e not many shots of Yellow browed from anywhere and only a few dodgy one from a few years back at Reculver so to get some today was very pleasing on the patch.

Yellow browed Warbler

Monday, 27 October 2014

A Brief Session Rewarded

With a beautiful sunny morning I made a brief hour visit to Reculver at 10am where I wanted to see if I could find any dragonflies or damselflies. On arrival it was indeed quite warm in the sheltered areas and I soon saw the first of c20 Common Darter on the wing. I wanted to see if I could find any Willow Emerald Damselflies and ideally a mating pair but despite a good search I failed to find any today. I expect they were there and probably higher up in the trees. Whilst looking I found a nice female Migrant Hawker at rest, I saw 2 others today, and this gave me today's opportunity to get a number of shots as she rested.

Female Migrant Hawker

It wasn't the ideal place as the background was quite distracting but after a while she went on the wing only to come back and land on a slightly better perch which made for some better photo attempts.

Female Migrant Hawker

Moving on I found 2 Common Blue Damselflies, they really are hanging on now but a November record could be on the cards if the mild weather continues. Back home within the hour for a nice cuppa. Iv'e got most of the day out tomorrow if I want it, not sure what to do and where to go yet. The weather looks quite nice though which is a bonus.

Female Migrant Hawker