Monday, 4 October 2010

A Day to Savour

A great day to be out and about, it started a bit grey and drizzly, but then became quiet brilliant, possibly the more so for the poor start. Days like this are the more to be savoured as you just know there can be few left this year, each one might be the last for perhaps six months. A really good day in October is somehow worth a week's worth in high summer, at least to me.

The day actually started on a high as I pulled in to the main car park to be greeted by the sight of a male stonechat on the car park bank, a rare bird indeed at Blashford and only my second record and the first for the BTO Challenge. A second notable sighting was of 3 mandarin duck on Ivy Lake, one of which was a drake just acquiring his finery.

The night was mild and there was a good range of moths, although no new species for the year, although the caddisfly in the picture was a rather fine creature, it is a shame I cannot identify them.
When I picked up the trap there were two beetles under it, one a ground beetle with fine sculptured back and fused elytra. I looked it up later and it seems to be Cychrus caraboides a species that feeds on snails and has a rather elongated head the better to prize them out of their shells.
The second beetle was also not a typical species as it did not have long elytra covering the abdomen. Like the ground beetle it had the large jaws of a predator, it also objected to me taking a picture of it and adopted a threat posture with tail raised and jaws open. It is a common species of rove beetle called a devil's coach horse.
At lunchtime I went to the Tern hide and was rewarded with great views of a common sandpiper, it was a juvenile, as can be told from the pale edges to the coverts producing bars along the closed wing.
The really keen might notice that this bird's tail is rather short for a common sandpiper and it is, but do not jump to any hasty conclusions, it had lost the central feather somehow, as was clear when I saw it preening. It also did a rather fine wing raise, which I managed to capture, it shows the underwing rather well.
As I was watching the sandpiper someone else in the hide spotted a fine sparrowhawk fly onto one of the posts near the hide. I was a little concerned as the sandpiper did not seem to have noticed it.
I decided to try and get a couple of the new rafts onto the water during the afternoon, although I was a little worried I would not get them down the path alongside Rockford Lake, in fact Jim seemed sure I would not. Actually it was fine and I managed to plant up two, mainly with Glyceria maxima or reed sweet-grass. Not my favourite plant as it has viciously serrated leaves from which I have got some fiendish cuts in the past. It does have the advantage of seeming to need a lot of phosphate and this is a key attribute for this project which is aimed at finding ways of reducing phosphate in the lake water.
It was a fabulous afternoon to be working on the lake shore and the whole time there was a reed warbler hopping about noisily in the reeds next to me. The view up the lake was so fine that I took a panorama view of it, you will need to click on it to enlarge in order to really see it though.


  1. Stunning Images,love the great Macro images.

  2. Thanks, it is amazing what even a little point and shoot camera can do these days. All my shots are taken with a five year old Canon A610, it has reasonable macro and fits my scope for digiscoping without the need for tedious clamps and tubes.