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Monday, 28 March 2016

Raptors & Buntings

Lapland Bunting, Blakeney

What is it with Easter weather? Good Friday was the only good day and the Saturday was bearable. As for the rest? well they were wash outs.
With Good Friday being warm and sunny I decided to head into the Brecklands to look for raptors. I just parked by the road and waited for them to come to me. Buzzards were very obvious and numerous. One kettle consisted of 27 birds. A huge gathering. The colour range of the buzzards went from almost white to almost all black. Lots of passerines fed in the trees and fields near the car. Treecreeper, Sky Lark, Wood Lark and Great Spotted Woodpecker were all seen. Red Kites were present with three birds noted. Also present were Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. The star prize came in the form of several Goshawks showing off their ariel prowess.

Common Buzzards

Northern Goshawk
Saturday involved a trip to Blakeney to see the Lapland Buntings. Five or six were noted with some being very obliging. The only other birds of note were Marsh Harrier and Scandinavian Rock Pipit.
After Blakeney I headed to Garden Drove to look for some early migrants. I wasn't disappointed. Half a dozen Chiff Chaffs were singing and a female Northern Wheatear noted in the adjacent pig fields.
Looking over Warham Greens produced a fly by Swallow and a Hen Harrier. Still lots of Brent Geese present.

Lapland Buntings, Blakeney
Chiff Chaff, Garden Drove
Hen Harrier, Warham Greens

Siskins, Titchwell
Little Owls, Abbey Farm

Friday, 18 March 2016

Hey Jim, Got A New Camera?

Cormorant, St Mary's Island
Well...yes I have, actually.
Until recently I have used my trusty, though dated, Nikon 4500 for digiscoping and a bridge camera for close work. Though my Fuji 9100 has a 50x optical zoom it also has no manual focus which is an issue when trying to fine tune the focus on a moving subject or one that is partially hidden.
Now I have taken the next step and become one of the hoards of birders carrying a DSLR. After much humming and haa-ing I settled on the Nikon D5500 and a Tamron SP VC 70-300mm AF lens, plus various tubes and converters. I have had the camera for just two weeks but the difference is staggering. Almost instant focus, great cropping results, amazing colour and sharp.
I know I'm just showing off but have a look. Constructive comments are always welcome.
Oystercatcher, St Mary's Island
Purple Sandpiper, Church Point, Newbiggin
Purple Sandpipers & Turnstones, Church Point
Greenshank, Thornham Harbour
Smew, Saltholme RSPB
Goldfinch, Saltholme RSPB
Avocet, Thornham Harbour
Blue Tit, Saltholme RSPB
Goldcrest, Santon Downham
Long-tailed Tit, Santon Downham
Shorelarks, Hartlepool
Siskin, Titchwell RSPB

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Sri Lankan Insects

Longhorn Beetle Coptops leucotistica (?)
Please accept my apologies for the delay of this post. Lots of things happening.
Lepidoptera were well represented in Sri Lanka and I keep kicking myself for not getting photographs of some of the amazing endemics such as Sri Lanka Birdwing and Blue Mormon.
Common Mormon

Common Tiger

Glassy Tiger
Tropic Dart

Medus Brown

Indian Cupid

Grey Pansy
Amata passalis

Brana callopasa

Maxates versicauda microptera

Nepita conferta

Marbled White, Nyctemera coleta

Unknown from Sinharaja

Rice Roller

Polynesia sunandava

Handmaiden Moth, Syntomoides imaon
Dragonflies were also very common especially near the rice paddies but also in the rain forest and at all altitudes.
Black-tipped Flashwing

Crimson-tailed Marsh Hawk. Orthetrum pruinosum

Foggy-winged Twister, Tholymis tillarga

Green Skimmer, Orthetrum sabina

Pied Parasol, male & female
There were a lot of spiders about. Huntsman and Giant Wood Spider were the largest but definitely not the weirdest.
Jumping Spider, Hasarius adansani

Huntsman, Heteropoda venatoria

Gasteracantha geminata
Now for the rest...Crickets that could eat your arm off, beetles that can carry you off and a "torch" with a mind of its own.
Cricket sp.

Lantern Bug

Unidentified Longhorn Beetle

"The Mobile Torch" Glow-worm sp.

The same Glow-worm

Mallotus Shield Bug

Titan Beetle. The hole in the carapace was caused by the cat that caught it...then the cat got some of the same.