Little Grebe(Tachybaptus ruficollis) also known as the 'Dabchick'. Our smallest grebe with a very dumpy body, short neck, a tiny straight bill and in breeding plumage the yellow gape spot is usually visible at some distance. In all plumages they ususally display a distinctive 'powder-puff' rear end but this adult decided to show me more than I bargained for! FAB.
Taken at Barnes WWT - ISO 200; F/10; 1/400 @ 260mm and cropped.
A Fallow Deer keeping a beady eye open for intruders whilst trying to remain inconspicuous amongst the lush fern foliage. I will post some more images of my recent encounters with a number of Fallow Deer on my Early Birder blog in the next few days. FAB.
Meadow Brown(Maniola jurtina) is probably the most common and widespread of our butterflies with the largest populations frequenting the chalk downlands of southern England but found in a wide range of habitats. A single brood flies from late May up until October. One of a few flutters that can be seen on overcast days but it does of course prefer the warmth of the sun that shone today. Females, like the one above, have more orange on the upper fore wing than the drab males but the amount of colour is very variable with races in the north and west being brighter and with bolder eye-spots.
Captured with 70-300 lens @ 300mm; ISO 200; F/8; 1/500; Exp Comp -0.67 and cropped. FAB.
Large Skipper(Ochlodes venata) is our most widespread 'orange' skipper and the males are easily identified when at rest by the conspicuous dark sex band on the forewing.
Single-brooded, they first appear in late May or early June, reach peak numbers in mid-July and virtually disappear by the end of August.
Above for comparison purposes is a Small Skipper(Thymelicus sylvestris) often seen in the company of the Large Skipper but the basic differences are that on the male the sex bands are slightly curved and more obvious is the much thinner dark edges to the wings. FAB.
A Holly Blue(Celastrina argiolus) captured above the ground at long last using the 17-85 lens [F/10: 1/250: 83mm and cropped] during a brief local patch walk earlier this week just as it was starting to drizzle with rain but not enough to unsettle this flutter. FAB.
The Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus) also known as the Hedge Brown is in my book one of the most attractive little flutters that can be seen dancing unhurriedly along sunlit lanes and hedgerows edged with Brambles and long grasses. Adult males are very distinctive with their much darker colouring and the strong sex bands on the forewings. Likes to feed on Ragworts and visits other flowers with an open nectar source later in the summer. Usually appear in late June as a single brood flying until late August but sometimes into early September. Captured at F13; 1/100; ISO 800 using 70-300 lens at 300mm. FAB.
Something from the archives as I haven't done any coastal birding recently.
Little Egret( Egretta garzetta) digiscoped at Cley Marshes in Nov 2008 using my pocket Samsung S1030 (which died recently...probably through misuse and will apparently cost more to repair than it is worth!) and Swarovski 80HD.....FAB.
A male Silver-washed Fritillary(Argynnis paphia) in Hill House Wood on Bookham Common today.
The male feeding on a Bramble, its favourite nectar supply, is distinguished by the four bold sex bands along the veins of the forewing. A single brood flies from mid-June to early September. Peak numbers usually appear towards the end of July. Males patrol large areas and are far more conspicuous, swooping, gliding and twisting in the sunlight in pursuit of the females who tend to flutter at low level in more shady areas.
For more information on how this female suffered damage to its antenna and loss of its abdomen please go to the post on myEarly Birder blog....FAB.
Black-tailed Skimmer(Orthetrum cancellatum) a fast, low flying and highly active species seen perching on open bare ground or muddy banks, stones, dead trees and roads. Both the female (yellow) and the male were located in an open grassy glade resting from their frantic flying escapades.
I may be off line for a while but I will catch up with any readers in the not too distant future.....FAB.
During a stroll around Bookham Common last week I came across some amphibian activity in one corner of the pond.
Initially I thought they were all Common Frogs(Rana temperaria) which have a pointed snout, brown patch behind the eye and a light coloured lateral fold like on this individual (below) that was resting at the waters edge.
But closer inspection showed that the majority were Common Toads(Bufo bufo) that have a very warty skin, the pupils are horizontally split behind which you can see the distinctive bulges called parotiod glands.
When I stood still eyes popped up everywhere, but any slight movement and they all quickly disappeared!
One or two were just floating on the surface.
When I returned today there was no sign of any of these creatures. FAB.