Monday, 29 August 2011

Dawlish Warren

                                                            Saturday 27th August 2011

I headed off to Dawlish Warren this morning, the continued threat of rain which seems to have been ever present this last few weeks was again hanging in the air. Main reason for heading to Dawlish Warren was to find a Wild Orchid that is the last to flower in the Orchid season.

It did not take too long to find the Autumn Ladies Tresses Orchid, there was quite a few now in flower. The Orchid itself is described as being 'near Threatened' so when at this time of year I go in search of this Orchid it is still a special feeling to see them. The flower spike is very delicate and has a row of tubular white flowers often in a spiral pattern around the flower spike. They are generally found in Southern England from the Isles of Scilly to Kent, with a few scattered sites further North.
The height of the Orchid is 3-15cm so really very small and fragile. The flowers are pollinated by Bumblebees. The flowers are not self pollinating.
 Managed to get a good Macro shot of the flowers itself, please click on the photo for a larger image. The orchid is one of may favourite of the orchid season.

A lot of rain had fallen over the previous 24 hours and the Reeds were laden with rain water. I played around with this shot when at home, and it  certainly looks better in Black and White.

I found this fungi off the beaten track I think it maybe a Ugly Milkcap, but please correct me if I am wrong.

Futher along I found these Jelly Ears fungi, but these were grwoing at ground level, so I maybe slighly wrong here.

Lots of birds now on the move and also arriving back from their breeding grounds. Some of the Swallows are gathering. The Curlews are returning now and I had counted 49 roosting along the shoreline close the railway, along with 17 Little Egrets and many Dunlins and Ringed Plovers. Overhead the Sandwich Terns were back and forth fishing off the coast. Also about 250 noisy Oystercatchers were gathering on the shingle bank.

Doing a bit of beachcombing found some very large driftwood, again in photoshop I gave it sepia look and I hope you agree it makes it a better shot.

Above one of the many Northern Wheatears seen today. They are now gathering along the South Coasts feeding up and ready for the big lift off back to Africa for the Winter.

At low tide there was a fishing boat resting on the mud,  not sure if this was meant to be here like this or if they were doing some DIY on the boat, like removing barnacles from its bottom...sounds very painful to me.

              Above a lovely shot of an Evening Primrose with raindrops twinkling in the sunlight.

A moody shot of one of the groins along the shoreline at Dawlish Warren Nature reserve. In the not to distant future there will be many shore birds feeding along here.

A Small White Butterfly resting on Bramble enjoying the Warm sunshine. Of the other Butterflies, Common Blue and Speckled Wood were seen today.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Peaceful Kew Gardens

                                                           Kew Gardens
                              Saturday 20th August 2011

I travelled from my home in Somerset to visit Kew Gardens, as the weather forcast was not that brilliant, so I thought I would avoid the rain. Sadly it followed me and the rain fell very heavily for nearly three hours., before and after the Sun shone and it was a lovely peaceful setting.

                Please enjoy a small selection of the photographs taken before and after the heavy rain,

The Pagoda above is the centre of attraction, once upon a time you could climb to the top, sadly no longer. The views were spectactular.

                              Above, found these fungi growing in the shelter of some Pine Trees.

Below, I was walking across the bridge over the main Lake, and saw this refection of the sky in the lake.

A sign of Autumn (below) with Acorns and Pine  Cones, Autumn seems to be ariving early this year, with some of the trees now showing signs of slowing down and changing Colour.

                       Found this fly resting on some berries just after the rain finally ceased.

                      Kew Gardens is World famous for it's Water Lillies, just two shots below

If you live in and around Kew you will know all about the Ring-necked Parakeets, noisey but they bring a little colour and charm, though some may think they are taking would be a shame to lose them.

If the Weather holds in September I shall be back at Kew looking at the changing of the Seasons and the colours. My favourite time of year.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Walk on the Wild Side

Ham Wall and Shapwick Heath, Somerset Levels. Saturday 6th August 2011

Early light rain, dampened the spirits for a while and kept everything quiet and no sign of Butterflies until the Sun appeared at lunchtime for a while.
I came across this Hoverfly (Syrphus ribestii) not seen too many Hoverflies this Summer to post. early damp Summer may have something to do with this.
This friendly Rabbit (below) did not seem to mind me getting too close. Shortly after he had his photograph taken he departed into the hedgerow.

After the showers finally cleared away the sun finally appeared and it got quite warm and still, and the Butterflies duely appeared.

The Red Admiral (above) was the most common Butterfly seen today, not often get the chance to get a shot of one with it's wings closed.

I spotteed this Longhorn Beetle (Stragalia maculata) feeding on the flower heads. Click for a larger copy and you can see it is covered in pollen.

This was a first for me to find this Ichneumon Wasp (Diphyus quadripunctorius).

This Common Blue Butterfly looked so peaceful just resting in the warm sun gave me one of those delightful shots that only the Common Blue give you.

Soon it was back into Glastonbury and then home. Already looking forward to my next Walk on the Wildside.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Exotic Butterflies

Sensasional Butterflies -
London. 30th July 2011

I found myself in London over the last weekend and a visit to the Natural History Museum. They have set up a Butterfly House with free flying exotic Butterflies, allowing the public the get close to some of the Worlds most stunning Butterflies and Moths. With my love of these 'Angels' how could I resist. Ok they are not Wild but there is a reason for this Butterfly House.....conservation and how endagered are butterflies are in the World.

Here are the pick of the Butterflies seen on the day.

Bottom: Julia Longwing

The Clipper Butterfly

The Tiger Longwing

Below: Common Lime

Below: Plain Tiger

The huge Atlas Moths were just huge but only live for just 'day's' this is a pair mating while they were sleeping.

The Great Eggfly Butterfly.

The Natural World has some amazing Wonders, camoflage can be a key to survival...have a look below, a Dead Leaf or a Butterfly....this is in fact an Indian Dead Leaf Butterfly..just incredible how nature works.

The larve House you can watch Butterflies emerging from the Crysalis and drying out, before being released.
One Catapillar, of unknown species.

This Catapillar, had some very sharp spines running down it's back to stop predators from attacking it.

Below: Lacewing.

The Zebra Longwing, below

The very immpressive looking Owl Butterfly

This is an Indian Moon Moth, and is one of the largest Moth's in the World.

The Natural History Museum has a Wildlife Garden that is serene and peaceful, and also a haven for wildlife. Here are to shots of a Southern Hawker Dragonfly

And also close up Macro shot of the Southern Hawker's head

Thank you to the Natural History Museum for an impressive display of these stunning Butterflies, and the message of how important they are in our lives.