Sunday, 19 July 2009

Dead Red Morning.

There's loads of 'reds' in today's post but I'll get the dead bit out the road first so we can end on a high. Not having hods of time this morning I thought I'd stay local so I headed over to Longhirst Hall first off to check out the little pond in the grounds and also look for Red Squirrel. The pond was bursting at its banks as a result of all Saturday's rain and there was little to be seen on the fringes. Walking along the road I caught up with one of my target species Red Squirrel, not quite the views I'd wanted however as this one had been taken out by a less than careful car.

Dead Red Squirrel, Longhirst Hall.
As i think I've said on more than one occasion I lay no claims to any photographic talent. I'm still up near the top of that learning curve looking down thinking "shit that's a big curve" so when a Jay presented itself on the ground in a dark wooded area with shafts of sunlight, I stood looking at the camera with a mental block, was it? perhaps the shutter, should I press..maybe if I hit the white The result...

Crap Jay, Longhirst Hall.
But I'll keep trying, so out with better light and a different challenge a less than static subject. Neither of these two shots of Barn Swallow are going to win any plaudits as anyone can see they are both out of focus but I don't want to just show the perfect shots I get, lets face it if I did that we'd be back to having no images at all on the blog. At least these two got the bird in the frame, its a start.

Barn Swallow, Longhirst Flash

Another Barn Swallow, Longhirst Flash
As I drove to my next destination I had a couple of Common Kestrel, juveniles hovering at the roadside along the A1068. from past experience they tend to spook if you get out the car so I used the car as a hide and managed a passable shot of a slightly more static and easier to shoot species.

Common Kestrel, A1068 at Linton Roundabout.

Woodhorn Flash for a look for yesterday afternoon's reported Scaup next. Negative and very little else on the bird front to hold my attention. A stiff westerly was blowing up so there was little visible Damselfly activity and with all the rain the water levels have shot up making encroachment into the reed beds a bit of a plodge.
Despite this I managed a male Emerald Damselfly that whilst keeping low was visible enough to grab an image of.
Emerald Damselfly, male, Woodhorn Pond.
Then following on from yesterday, where I think I managed to nail not only species but female form came another one. Same species Blue-tailed Damselfly this time the female form rufescens. I guess this is the Damselfy equivalent of a redhead.

Blue Tailed Damselfly, female rufescens, Woodhorn Pond.
Not really holding out much hope I wandered across the back of Woodhorn Pond and over Summerhouse Lane to the small pool put in recently to capture run off that's been getting everyone in a tizz because of the Red-veined Darters that have appeared in apparently unprecedented numbers. I have had one morning visit this week without success so in a strong breeze it was heart over head. As I arrived I could see Steve Holliday patrolling the SW corner so I started to work my way from North around the East side. Within a minute I had put up a 'Red Darter' only to lose it rapidly. this happened a second time just before Steve and my paths met.
After pleasantries we spaced out and moved back North. Twice we put up 'Red Darters' only to lose them quickly without any decent views or photo ops. Steve said he'd heard that they preferred bare ground so we concentrated about 1-4m from the edge of the pool. Minutes before I was about to head off, I put up another this time from a flat exposed stone on the north slope. We waited and after a few seconds, bingo, it returned to bask in the sun. I won't try and decipher the salient ID points as Stewart has covered that well this week here. Just a note to mention it left and returned a couple of times, remaining faithful to the same stone, so this is perhaps a good way of locating them.
Red-veined Darter, Summerhouse Lane Pool.



Stewart said...

Alan, Its the black tailed skimmers that prefer the hard surfaces to rest on. Darters, like chasers, will happily sit atop any reed or stick,as the ones on my blog show. Today they were probably sheltering from the wind...The Jay was nearly a good'un mind...

ST said...

I also like your jay.
J steele located some darters(r.v.) behind or on the edge of the 'small copse' also sheltering from the strong breeze.

Nice emerald.The males are stunners, but so are the females in strong sunlight.

James said...

They're off to Longhirst for the Reader's Holiday in August's Birdwatching magazine by the way

Ipin said...

I must be the only person who hasn't been to twitch these things yet, by the time I get around to it they will have fu...gone