Saturday, 25 July 2009

Har-dly Any Found.

I like a contrast, always found myself drawn to the yin & yang symbol, equally happy to be on the sea one day and far inland in cool silent pine forest the next. The uber-observant among you will have noted the plethora of coastal Common Crossbill records in the last week or so. We are in the midst of a mini invasion of the pine cone crunchers. This morning then to contrast with last night's seafest I headed up to Harwood to see if any large groups were around.
I parked near Harwood Head (NY973905) and was pleased to immediately have a small flock of Common Crossbill perhaps 10-12 calling and moving just inside the tall pines. I walked about 1/2 mile in but as is often the case the edges I'd left near the car was lifting with birds enjoying the morning sun but there was little further into the forest. I was getting the occasional glimpse of Crossbill and hearing the odd one calling but not in the numbers I'd hoped for.
Back at Harwood Head there was loads of activity, often overlooked and underrated a few Chaffinch looped around in the pines. This male looks well and has obviously spent the summer weightlifting judging by the pecs on it.

Lots of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff also flycatching along the woodland edge here. Coal Tits and the occasional Common Redpoll joined in the party.

Common Chiffchaff.
Not to be outdone on the flycatching a couple of juvenile Spotted Flycatcher flicked about the trees and conveniently moved over to a fence on the south side of the road to participate in a flycatching joust with a Pied Wagtail. Despite being only a few weeks old the SF made the wagtail look all wings and no teeth and it did the decent thing and slunk off embarrassed.

Spotted Flycatcher.
(Edit 30/7 via the comments IF has quite correctly pointed out that this is not a juvenile but an adult I've posted pictures of.)
Further east along one of the many rides I stumbled upon a couple of Dark Green Fritillary that after getting down and doing the business in the grass were happy to pose for pictures for the gathered paparazzi. The contrast theme continued when a few yards later I found what I think must be a survivor of this year's first flight of DGF. Within these two pictures then a metaphor for all life, an example of how fragile it is. We arrive bright, shiny and new, we spread our wings and occasionally have vigorous sex if we're lucky. Gradually our brightness fades and we get buffeted by the winds and ragged around the edges then we head back whence we came.

Dark Green Fritillary (post coital)

Dark Green Fritillary (post 40)
Walking the rides today was pleasant, the stillness and quiet (apart from the tinnitus hum in my right ear) only broken by the occasional mewing cry of a Buzzard somewhere in the distance. The moisture of the morning still hung on the tall grass and the dense cloud like spider webs.
Later around the meadow west of Harwood village as I gorged myself on wild raspberries I counted 35 Swallow hawking over the meadow and a Blackcap scolded me for taking it's breakfast.
My final sighting of the morning made no sound, appearing briefly it settled high in an Alder making for a difficult angle to shoot at. My very first Common Hawker didn't give itself up easy and made me work to get any sort of shot at all.

Common Hawker.


Killy Birder said...

The photography appears to be coming along a treat Alan. I especially like the Spotted Fly. You might get into the callender at this rate! Cheers Brian

Stewart said...

Alan, any fine day from now to September drive to Fallowlees lough on a Sunday when the workers are away. Its full of Common Hawkers and Black Darters showing within 10 yards of the car park. You can park right at the lough.

Ian Fisher said...

Hi Alan, Don't mean to nit-pick, but why is the Spot Fly a Juv? Looks like an adult to me! Also the Chiff looks more Willow-ish than Chiff-like? Cheers


Alan Tilmouth said...

Ian quite right on the Spotted Fly, guilty of writing the post and then editing images and adding later, choosing an image I was pleased with and then not re-reading what I'd wrote.
The warbler though, I still think is Chiffchaff, unfortunately you cant blow the shot up but the yellow soles of the feet are visible when you do, legs are fairly dark and the bird was quite greyish above.