Monday, 30 December 2013

Brünnich's Guillemot. Portland Harbour. Dorset.

Twitched the Brünnich's with Steve Rogers and Dan Eva.

The Brünnich's Guillemot or Thick-billed Murre is distributed across the polar and sub-polar regions of the Northern Hemisphere where four subspecies exist; one lives on the Atlantic and Arctic oceans of North America (U. l. lomvia), another on the Pacific coast of North America (U. l. arra), and two others which inhabit the Russian arctic (U.l.eleorae and U.lhecleri) so this very obliging one at Portland Harbour in Dorset is somewhat off course, being over 1500 miles from it's normal wintering grounds.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Glossy Ibis. Tregony. 20/12/2013

There have been several records of Glossy Ibis in the County during December. This first winter bird has been present here in a flooded field at Tregony since the 10th.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

High Brown Fritillary on Dartmoor

Aish Tor on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon is one of the South West's strongholds for the nationally rare High Brown Fritillary. The population here appeared very healthy as on this hot sunny day we encountered well over forty butterflies, most in pristine condition. Several mating pairs were observed as well as females ovipositing in the undergrowth hopefully ensuring next years generation. Good numbers of their close relative the Dark Green Fritillary were also on the wing causing a little confusion at times but it seemed that the majority of identifiable views were of High Browns. Great news for the future of this beautiful and rare butterfly.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Red Admiral caterpillar makes it's protective tent

I discovered a Red Admiral caterpillar just starting to make it's protective tent by fastening two Nettle leaves together with silk. It's not often you actually see this process as it happens, so i decided to film the event. The speed of the film has been increased x4. The caterpillar took just ten minutes to complete the structure.......Incredible!

Monday, 1 July 2013

A trip to Oxford to see Black Hairstreaks.

Kate and I embarked on a four and a half hour drive to Oxfordshire is search of a butterfly that I have always wanted to see, the Black Hairstreak. On arrival at Bernwood Forest car park we met up with our friends Adam Hartley from Oxford and Paul Browning a fellow butterfly NUT from Helston who stopped off  while on his way home from another butterfly expedition in northern England.

Black Hairstreaks are one of Britain's rarest butterflies. Reportedly they declined by 98% last year, a very worrying statistic if it is to be believed. So if we were ever going to see them in Britain, now seemed to be the perfect time. The weather was perfect and several hairstreaks had been seen earlier in the week.

At the 'quiet and tranquil' M40 compensation area of bernwood forest, the population appeared to be holding it's own with well over 20 adults observed flying around the large areas of Blackthorn.. 'their larval food plant' situated just yards from the busy M40 motorway. We were fortunate to witness and film this female ovipositing hopefully ensuring a healthy population next year.

I must give a BIG THANK YOU to Adam who very kindly gave impeccable directions to the wood and then led us 'Kate. Paul Browning and myself' to the very difficult to find M40 compensation area where we were treated to fantastic views of these magical Hairstreaks........Great company...... Great butterflies what more could you want.......Happy Days!!!

Adam runs his own very interesting blog, which you can visit here

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Aberrant Marsh Fritillary amidst the colony at Predannick

At Predannick Cliffs near Mullion on the Lizard, as well as Common Blues, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries and several other butterfly species there is a small colony of the nationally threatened Marsh Fritillary. Very rarely aberrant individuals can be found within isolated colonies like this and Kate discovered one such butterfly, a female 'in cop' at this beautiful flora rich site. She features in the last sequence of this short film.......note the upper fore-wing's normal checkerspot pattern has been replaced by extensive striping. What a gorgeous insect!.................Well done Kate!

Monday, 27 May 2013

GRIZZLED SKIPPER Pyrgus malvae aberration taras

 Penhale sands near Perranporth on Cornwall's North coast is one of the last strongholds for this species in the county. The colony here also holds a high percentage of the rare aberration " taras" and what would appear to be intermediate forms these forms have more extensive white markings on the upper forewing giving it a quite striking appearance in comparison to the nominate form. This rare and very attractive aberration only occurres at a handful of sites in Britain so we are fortunate indeed to be able to find them here in our county.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Singing Wood Warbler

 Kate and I spent another day in Devon on Saturday, Holden Hill to see Pearl-bordered Fritillaries of which we saw well over twenty including an ovipositing female, also there were Dingy Skipper and plenty of Brimstones, Orange Tips, Green-veined Whites etc. The highlight of the day for me was this singing Wood Warbler at Yarner Wood. I have never managed to get any decent video of these little songsters before, this one was chasing off a rival and after successfully evicting it out of his territory decided to perch for a while just a few yards in front of us to have a preen and to sing as if in celebration of his victory. What a shame these gorgeous little Warblers don't breed here in Cornwall.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Drake Garganey. Helston Boating Lake.

 This afternoon Kate and I visited Helston to see a splendid drake Garganey that was found earlier today on the boating lake by our good friend Steve Rogers. Garganey breed throughout mainland Europe with a few pairs breeding in Britain. Here in Cornwall they are usually only seen on Spring and Autumn passage. They are usually timid ducks often found on vegetated lakes, It's not very often you get the chance to have really good views of them but this one had nowhere to hide on this small boating lake so was easy to see even though it spent most of the time out in the middle of the lake. Fortunately after spending nearly two hours hoping for some closer encounters it decided to come out on to the pool side where it had a brief preen before returning to the water. What an opportunity to see up-close this really beautiful duck! All thanks to Steve! Cheers mate!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Spring returns to Yarner Wood

 Yarner wood near Bovey Tracey in Devon is one place Kate and I love to visit each Spring. As it was Kate's birthday on Sunday we thought it would be nice to spend her special day there. Being early in May and with the cold start to Spring we weren't sure whether many of the summer breeding species had returned to the wood. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the wood was alive with birds and birdsong. Numerous Pied Flycatchers were already investigating the nest boxes, Wood Warblers were in full voice, Redstarts and Tree Pipits were seen and heard and resident species like the Mandarins were on the pond. Maybe best of all was a female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker calling high in the canopy and as there were hardly any leaves on the trees all were easy to see, even the Lesser Spot once we located her. Butterflies too were on the wing with numerous Bimstones encountered throughout the wood, several courting couples were seen spiralling skyward. Orange tips, Speckled woods, Holly Blues, Green veined and Small whites were all out and about on this beautiful sunny Spring day. and to round the day off a Roe Deer or two put in an appearence. All in all Yarner Wood never fails to impress. As ever we had a thoroughly enjoyable day out!!

Friday, 3 May 2013

 An adult Lesser Yellowlegs was found yesterday at Marazion Marsh. These Tringa waders are rare vagrants from North America, they are regular autumn visitors to Cornwall but very rare in spring. This is the first summer plumaged adult I have seen in the county hence my visit to the marsh yesterday afternoon.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

2011 Birds in Cornwall DVD OUT NOW

I have just released my new DVD of the Birds in Cornwall 2011.This video clip is a taster of the 96 species covered in the video. All filmed in 1920x1080 HD. Anyone wishing to purchase a copy, please click on the picture opposite

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Black-necked Grebe. Newlyn Harbour

This winter plumaged Black-necked Grebe has been frequenting Newlyn Harbour over the last few weeks. I caught up with it today while it was taking time out to straighten out a few feathers.

Great Northern Diver. Newlyn Harbour

On a visit to Newlyn Harbour today three Great Northern Divers were on view. When these Divers enter the harbour they often give good views, this one came incredibly close probably due to the fishing net that had become tangled around it's feet. Thankfully it was captured and the net removed by local birder Linton Proctor before being returned back to the water. So all turned out well in the end!  Well done Linton!