Friday, 21 August 2015

Small Heath.

One of our smallest and an inconspicuous butterfly is the Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus) which always settles with its wings closed.

Linking to:
Macro Monday 2

Monday, 10 August 2015

Orthetrum coerulescens.

ISO 400: f/10: 1/200 @ 200mm
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens). Images of both a male (above) and female (below) taken during a visit to Thursley Common last month. [Both shot handheld with 70-300mm lens plus 1.4x converter and cropped.]

ISO 200: f/10: 1/320 @ 280mm
You can view more images of this species on my main blog, Wildlife Watching with FAB.

Linking to:
Macro Monday 2
Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) @ image-in-ing

Monday, 3 August 2015


An overcast and windy morning today so definitely not ideal conditions for seeking out any wildlife around the margins of a local grassy meadow that I discovered on arrival had been mowed a few hours earlier! Unperturbed I wandered until a small blue flutter dropped into the vegetation to ride out the gusty conditions.

A quick search revealed this male Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) gripping on tightly to the dried seed pods of a grass stem. I was amazed at the tenacity of this tiny, flimsy butterfly, as the wind blew the stem and its rider in all directions, often bending to within inches of ground level, thereby posing the 'watcher' with a few challenges including keeping the subject in focus.
Both images taken handheld with the 70-300mm lens plus 1.4x converter [ISO 400; f/11: 1/320-1/500 @ 330 & 420mm respectively].

Linking to:
Nature Notes hosted by Michelle:
Through My Lens, a new meme hosted by Mersad. 

Monday, 27 July 2015

Hanging on tightly.

Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata) hanging on in windy conditions. Captured during a recent visit to Thursley Common. [ISO 800; f/10; 1/400 @ 420mm].

Linking to: 

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Black Darter.

A male Black Darter (Sympetrum danae) photographed at Thursley Common earlier this week using the 70-300 lens plus 1.4x converter. [ISO 800: f8: 1/250 @ 420mm]. There will be more images of this and other Odonata from this visit on my main blog very soon. FAB.

Saturday, 11 July 2015


A couple of shots of a Four Spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata) taking a well earned rest above the acidic bog on Thursley Common.

During a recent butterfly transect walk I spotted (below) this Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) perched above the 'clay-coloured' waters of Flag Pond on Ashtead Common.

Linking to:
Saturday's Critters

Macro Monday 2

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

New Flutters.

A warm, sunny but windy walk across a sloping chalk downland meadow above Juniper Bottom on Monday morning produced two new sightings.

Excellent numbers of Marbled White (Melanargia galathea) flitting about so I was able to locate a few resting individuals fairly easily.

However capturing a Dark Green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja) was far more problematical. Typically the males fly close to the ground constantly searching for a hidden female in the grasses and rarely take a rest so I had to be very, very patient and eventually caught up with the one below. 

More images to follow later this week ... see 'Friday Flutters' on my main blog. FAB.

Linking to Wordless Wednesday ..on Tuesday and Nature Notes.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Sunbathing Reptiles.

The boardwalk at Thursley Common is a great place to view a variety of wildlife and even to sunbathe ... that is if you are a reptile. 

On the same day that I spent some time with a pair of Teal and the fast flying Hobby (see link above) I also enjoyed getting close views of a few of the numerous Common Lizards that love to soak up the suns rays on the edge of the boardwalk.

By treading very quietly these creatures can be very accommodating but conversely if, like many visitors, you don't look where you are stepping they will immediately dive for cover. 

This one (above) was very alert ... just one click of the shutter and it immediately turned its head to see who or what might be intruding its space.

Dull brown is the typical colouring although it may be tinged red, yellow, grey or green but there is always the dark black stripe that differentiates it from the Sand Lizard that is also found on the sandy heath close by.

Linking to Saturday's Critters, Macro Monday 2 and Nature Notes.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Common Redstart.

Following on from a post entitled 'Obliging Redstart' on my main blog here are a few more images from an enjoyable close encounter at Old Lodge N.R. with a male Common Redstart.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Sylvia Songster.

Almost every woodland I stroll around at the moment the most prominent migrant songsters are the male Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla). Unlike some other warblers that like to announce their presence from a lofty open perch the Blackcap typically chooses a less obvious position much lower down in the leafy canopy sometimes totally hidden from view.

When I listen to its vocal repertoire I can understand why it is also known as the 'Northern Nightingale'.

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Great Spotted Woodpecker.

A visit to a friends garden earlier this week provided an opportunity to capture a few images of a male Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopus major).

All images taken 'handheld' through a double glazed window with a 70-300mm lens plus 1.4x  converter.

Linking to Saturday's Critters.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris).

I quite often hear and occasionally see a Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris) during my regular patch walks but the view is usually a brief one as this tiny unobtrusive and well camouflaged species jerkily clambers up a tree trunk or a branch, probing in search of insects, only to perform a disappearing act every so often before reappearing much higher in the canopy.

Many of the mature trees have yet to gain their full green clothes so when an opportunity presented itself a few days ago I grasped the moment, pointed the lens, and hoped for a decent outcome! Fortunately it stopped very briefly before disappearing off to another more favourable feeding location but I was reasonably happy with the outcome.  FAB.

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

First Blue of the Year.

An infrequent garden visitor is the Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) so when this female was found resting on a rose leaf I took the opportunity to gather a few images.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Robin (Erithacus rubecula).

ISO 640; f/9; 1/400 @ 300mm cropped.
 Mr. Robin ... my resident garden companion.

ISO 800; f/8; 1/200 @ 300mm cropped.
Linking to Camera Critters and Saturday's Critters.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Common Moorhen.

A resident breeder found around my patch pond is the [Common] Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)

A member of the Rallidae family with its distinctive long toes that enable it to walk on water, when frozen, and on waterside vegetation. Generally quite secretive although can be very bold in some locations and often utters an explosive bubbling or gargling call when it reveals its presence.

A very nervous species that frequently twitches its tail revealing the v-shaped white sides to the undertail coverts. Known by various names including Common Waterhen, Marsh Hen and River Chicken.

Its poster red bill dipped in yellow make it very easy to distinguish it from other water birds.

Linking to I'D-Rather-B-Birdin' and Wild Bird Wednesday. 

Monday, 16 March 2015

Patch Birds.

For this week's edition of Nature Notes and Wild Bird Wednesday I am posting images of a few of the species that I regularly encounter during my patch walks around Epsom Common Ponds during the winter months. You can find more information about this local patch by visiting the 'Birding Location' page on my main blog 'Wildlife Watching with FAB'.

Cormorants drop in from time to time to fish for a meal and can often be seen perching on one of the old tree stumps, wings outstretched, hoping to catch some winter sunshine.

Grey Heron. Nest building was well underway in early February somewhere nearby.

A few Tufted Ducks regularly take up temporary residence during the winter but when the pond froze over in mid February they moved elsewhere.

At long last the Black-headed Gull has nearly switched into its adult summer plumage sporting its dark chocolate coloured cap.

The largest of our winter thrushes is the Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) which migrated here from Northern Europe during last October will very soon be returning northwards again. I have only recorded a few individuals this winter compared to the large flocks of Redwing which have continuously evaded the lens!

The Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos), whose dogmatic and varied song is a joy to behold, is a year round resident.

The Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus) always sings from a high vantage point.

You can listen to the distinctive songs and calls of the Song and Mistle Thrush HERE.

Up until a few years ago sightings of Coot on the Great Pond were very infrequent but now it is unusual not to see at least two or three on every visit.

A very infrequent visitor on the pond is the Greylag Goose and a pair turned up at the end of last week accompanied by a single Barnacle Goose (see below), a definite rarity for my patch.

One of the regular Canada Geese wasn't very happy about the intrusion of these other geese and attempted to intimidate the much smaller Barnacle Goose, but it wasn't fazed at all by the Canada's boisterous splashing antics.  FAB.