Thursday 18 June 2015

Strawberries, Swallows and a Barn Owl

Lade - warm, dry and sunny, nw 2 - Cracking day for taking our guest Mike into the field for a spot of wildlife photography. We mooched about the local patch for a couple of hours, which was full of activity with the hot sunshine bringing forth a host of insects including damselflies, several Emperors, Four-spotted Chasers and Black-tailed Skimmers. Butterfly numbers were low with only a handful of Small Heaths and Common Blues on the wing, plus singles of Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell and Large Skipper. Loads of Marsh Frogs seen and heard along with Grass Snake and several huge carp lolling in the shallows of south lake.

                                  Black-tailed Skimmer, female                                 

                                Black-tailed Skimmer, male

                                Lade `Mirrors`

                               Small Tortoiseshell, Lade
                               Large Skipper, Lade

RSPB - From Hanson hide hundreds of common wildfowl, Lapwings and gulls, plus good views of Cuckoo, Marsh Harrier, four Hobbys over the access track and all the usual warblers in song. It was a similar picture on Burrowes with the addition of Curlew and Ringed Plover. We spent some time photographing plants and insects around the car park before walking the return trail where two Grass Snakes and several Common Lizards noted. Finished off at the ramp with protracted flight views of a Bittern, plus more Hobbys and Marsh Harriers.

                                 Painted Lady, RSPB car park

RSPB - This afternoon Albert (4 years 10 months), Barney and I went to the allotment in Lydd to pick strawberries and water the plants. On the way back home we called into ARC to see the Swallow chicks, which looked just about ready to fledge, and then on to the VC where en-route by the double bends, at 1640hrs, the Boulderwall Barn Owl was hunting the shingle ridges. We enjoyed superb views over the course of an hour as it quartered the fields and watched it catch two rodents and return to the nest site. A splendid end to a day rich in variety.

                                Start `em young...

Swallow chicks, ARC

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