26 March, 2009

A Frog

The first frog of the year has found its way into our garden pond, although we get sightings of these in the pond most weeks in the spring and summer, they have never laid any frog spawn in it- probably because the goldfish would eat it all!

24 March, 2009

Hunted Hoverflies

Firstly, sorry for the lack of blogging recently- I know you've all missed me so much ;). Schools been piling up lots of GCSE coursework recently (my Yr 10 exams are only a couple of weeks away.... AHHHH!).
I managed to get out in the garden on Sunday and take some shots of some insects that are on the wing in this lovely weather.
I'm pleased to see that Hoverflies are back in the garden, I love the colours on their body, which disguises them as Wasps, and no bird in the right mind wants to eat these bad boys...
Unfortunatly, wasps are not fooled by the Hoverflies attempt to mimic them...

Back to the Hoverflies- I think these guys are called Episyrphus Balteatus??!

However, there is another creature that eats Hoverflies and isn't fooled by its colours... the Crab Spider, and worse still, there's one living on the same plant that the Hovers were feeding on!
This spider has an ingenious way of feeding, it will climb up a flower...

...get into pouncing position...
...wait until an insect comes to feed... and then it will strike (sorry, no pictures for this bit, you'll just have to imagine an insect getting eaten alive by a Crab Spider)!

16 March, 2009


I have read about Wheatear in field guides and in Birdwatching magazine all the time, but I have only seen them once before, in a field in the distance, where there was no way of really appreciating their plumage.
On a recent trip to Farlington Marshes on Saturday, an encounter with two males really blew me away at the spectacular nature of their plumage. There has been an early influx of these summer passerines in Britain and we managed to find 8 at Farlington. Other hightlights from the trip included a singing Cetti's Warbler and pair of Avocet (another summer migrant).
My shots of the Wheatear are not the best as these birds are not used to human presence!
Two males

15 March, 2009

Falling in Love with Brent Geese?!

You know when you just really like something but you don't know why... well thats what it's like when I think about Brent Geese. Although I have only encountered them on two occasions, I have already fallen in love with them, and I have no idea why?!! Soon these little birds will be leaving our shores for their breeding grounds in Russia and Canada.
Here are some shots I took of them on my latest visit to Farlington Marshes in Pompey...

You have to admit, they are a very attractive species of goose

08 March, 2009

Early Bees

It's yet another hot and sunny weekend and our garden insect life is starting to emerge from the leaf litter to feed in this lovely weather.
A total of 2 Honey Bees have have been regularly visiting a Hyacinth plant. These plants are a must have for all wildlife gardeners as the fact that they are very early flowering plants means that early appearing bees have a place to feed.
The pair feeding together
Sunning itself

01 March, 2009

Wetland's Woodcock Wonder

The Woodcock is a bird that I have always wanted to get onto my list. At this time of year, wintering birds from the continent increase their numbers in Britain and one bird has been spending the last couple of weeks at one of my local patches, the London Wetland Centre. When my Grandparents kindly offered to take me to the reserve, I raced to grab my camera and 300mm lens (not forgetting to say thanks of course!).
On arriving at the area where the Woodcock was hiding, a man offered to look for the bird for us. He soon got onto it and I spent about 10 minutes trying to pinpoint the bird in my lens!

I took a first shot to try and find it..... can you see it?? Note the two plastic bags- we were told to look for these when trying to find it!
Once I'd located the Woodcock it was just a matter of zooming in and radical cropping!! Here is the finished image (I managed to take this shot just as it was about to turn around and fall asleep).
And a blown up shot-explains loss of quality ;-)
Back on the main lake and the Great Crested Grebes are turning from grey to red as they put on their summer plumage
Talking about Grebes, I watched a male Little Grebe trying to show off to the females.... by the looks of things, he'd lost his touch ;)
Finishing off with this stunning male Teal, one of many on the lake. Soon, a lot of the wildfowl here will be leaving to make way for our summer visitors!