Thursday, 27 May 2010

Sword-leaved Helleborines OMFL!

Taking an annual day off from work I decided to look for a new orchid for me in the nearby county of Warwickshire. The orchid in question was Sword-leaved Helleborine.
Driving over to Oversley Wood, near Alcester, it took me another 2 hours to find these exquisite orchids as I walked around the wood.
Just off the footpath I found at least ten of these lovely plants and as usual I took a few shots of them.
My British orchid list now stands around 40 species and only another 15 to go before I have seen the lot!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Flowers and a Dingy Skipper Saltby and Sproxton Quarries

Here is a couple of photos I took at Saltby and Sproxton Quarries last week and just wondered what the plants were?

Friday, 21 May 2010

Sproxton and Saltby Quarries

I checked out these two excellent sites in the north-east of the county yesterday and was pleased on what I saw and found.
These two quarries are very unwatched but every time I have been there I keep on finding more surprises on the wildlife front.
So the sightings I saw yesterday included good numbers of butterflies, which included Green Hairstreak,Dingy Skipper, Brown Argus and large numbers of Common Blues. Day-flying moths I encountered included Burnet Companion and Mother Shipton.
However the surprise of the day was a female Marsh Harrier slowly quartering the fields of the airfield just after 1.00pm.
Over the next few weeks I will up date you on what else I see and find at these two under watched sites. 

PS: Check the link for a map of the two sites!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

First Orchid of the Year 2010: Green-winged Orchid

Here is a few shots of the Green-winged Orchids at Muston Meadows NNR, Leicestershire I took on Sunday.
At this site you can see up to 5,000+ plants of this early flowering orchid.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper OMFL!!

Following a day out to Kent to see a rare breeding bird in Kent (any guesses?) with Brian Moore and John Waters, I got a text message via the LROS twitter feed to say that a Buff-breasted Sandpiper had been found by Matt Berriman on Lagoon 4 at Rutty Water. As I knew it was a first for Vc 55(Leicestershire & Rutland), it wasn't hard to persuade Brian to take a detour to Rutland Water on way home.
We arriving on site around 8.30pm and were soon watching the Sandpiper as it feed on the Lagoon with a small group of Ringed Plovers. GET IN!! Buff-breasted Sand on my county list!!
Talking to a few familiar faces we all said that it was about time that Buff-breasted Sandpiper had finally been added to the county list and well done to Matt for finding a cool looking bird!

After finishing work yesterday afternoon and the Buff-breasted Sandpiper was still being reported on Lagoon 4, I meet up with John Hague and took a few digishots of the bird at Plover hide until it flew off NW around 7.30pm.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

A cage bird, Wood Sand and a Pratincole!

An account of my twitching exploits over the last few days will appear shortly...... but did include seeing the House Finch at Land's End, Cornwall, a cracking Wood Sandpiper on my local patch in the Soar Valley and a mad rush to Frampton Marsh RSPB after work for the Oriental Pratincole!!

Sunday 9th May:
OK the pager went off on MEGA on Saturday and I read the message, which said House Finch singing and showing well at Land's End, Cornwall!! At this point a delusion must have hit me as I arranged a trip overnight  to see the bird with Colin Green and Ben Croxtall.
Thanks to Colin driving overnight we arrived at a very cold Land's End around 5.00am and waited for it to get light.
By 6.00am a small crowd had formed in the car park, which included our crew, Dave Mack and Tony Shepherd. Over the next hour the finch was heard singing in the nearby swing-gates garden but was reluctant to show its self. During this hour I however did year tick Cuckoo and Turtle Dove as there migrated north.
Then suddenly the House Finch was seen singing  in a nearby gorse bush and a mad rush as myself and the rest of the Twitchers saw the bird briefly before flying off to the nearby garden.
Myself and Colin has good views of the finch,but Ben only saw the bird in flight. Ben was not happy with the view so we had to wait another hour before Ben was happy with another sighting of the bird in the nearby garden.
By this time I was freezing and starving so we decided to go to Penzance for a well earned cooked breakfast.
Whilst eating my breakfast Ben got a text from Andy Forryan about a Wood Sandpiper at Wanlip Meadows LRWT!
Wolfing down my breakfast I said to Colin and Ben, "right we are going!", as I needed Wood Sand for my Soar Valley year list.
Ok so we were probably the furthest place away from Leicester that you could be in the country but I knew that if we made good progress we could be back in Leicester for late afternoon!?! (Or I was still being deluded due to lack of sleep?).
Arriving back into Leicester around 3.30pm, I was straight out of the house again and down to Wanlip in a flash and waiting for me was a lovely looking Wood Sandpiper feeding on the scrape. I took a few distant record digishots of the bird and also noted that the four Greenshanks which I had found were also still on the scrape.

Monday 10th May:
After finishing the early shift at the general hospital, I was soon on my way to Frampton Marsh RSPB (check the link) to see the Oriental Pratincole which had taken up temporary residence at this fabulous coastal reserve. I arrived on site around 4.30pm, were I met up with the former Eyebrook crew (Mick and Peter,etc), who tried to tell me that the bird was a Collared Pratincole, but I was not having any of it and knew there were just trying to pull my leg!
Walking over to the east hide I noticed a group of birders were scoping the shoreline of the lagoon. Reaching this point I suddenly realised that the bird was less than twenty feet away. Get In!! OMFL (438 BOU).
Watching the Pratincole I noticed most of the distinctive features and tried to take a few shots of the bird. It was at this point that Pratincole flew off and started to hawking over the lagoon, BUGGER!..(so I have used one of John Hague excellent shots to show how close it was!;-]).

Any way after watching the bird for a good hour, other birds I saw around the lagoon included 8 migrating Whimbrels, a few Ruffs and a couple of showy Yellow Wagtails.
With the time moving on I left the reserve around 6pm just in time to get the LROS committee meeting at around 7.30pm, but hey that another story...

Thanks to John Hague for supplying a photo of the Oriental Pratincole!

Monday, 3 May 2010

The Orchid Season

With the beginning of May this signals the start of the Orchid hunting season. This year I will be concentration on trying to find possible extinct species for Vc55 which include Musk Orchid, Birds-nest Orchid and Burnt-tip Orchid in the east of the county.
Also I will see if I can find more different varieties of Bee Orchids in the county and will update you on my progress?.....
Search for british orchids