Jun 182018

Along with my good butterflying buddies, Barrie and Anita, I spent some time yesterday at Derbyshire’s first Butterfly Reserve at Hoe Grange, an abandoned limestone quarry on the edge of the Peak District National Park. The site has already recorded 26 species and also hosts several rare plants and a variety of insects. The rare Blotched Emerald moth was trapped overnight and also two Wood Tiger moth were seen, but unfortunately the weather was not so kind and few butterflies were on the wing. We did manage to see Common Blue, Small Heath and Large Skipper.

Bee Orchid – North Derbyshire – Tony Davison©

Common Blue – Hoe Grange Quarry, Derbyshire – Tony Davison©

Common Cudweed – North Derbyshire – Tony Davison©

Heath Speedwell – Hoe Grange, North Derbyshire – Tony Davison©

Large Skipper – Hoe Grange, North Derbyshire

Moonwort – North Derbyshire – Tony Davison© – Virtually restricted to the North West area of the county.

Ox-eye Daisy – Hoe Grange, North Derbyshire – Tony Davison©

Wood Tiger Moth – Hoe Grange, North Derbyshire – Tony Davison©


 Posted by at 12:55 pm
Jun 132018

The fantastic RSPB Reserve at Bempton Cliffs, on the North Yorkshire Coast, is a hive of activity at this time of the year. Literally thousands of sea birds are nesting on the cliff ledges, a true Sea Bird City and quite a spectacle if one has never seen it before. Thousands of Gannet, Razorbill, Guillemot and Kittiwake, along with hundreds of Puffin and Fulmar are busy laying eggs and raising youngsters. I left it a little late this year in visiting the reserve but nevertheless managed some shots of the spectacular display of the Gannet, along with an obliging Razorbill and Guillemot.

Can’t wait till next year when I will visit earlier in the season in order to catch the birds, in early spring, when they are returning to the cliffs.

Gannet – Above 5 images – Tony Davison©

Fulmar – Above 2 images – Tony Davison©

Common GuillemotTony Davison©

JackdawTony Davison©

KittiwakeTony Davison©

Razorbill – Above 3 images – Tony Davison©


 Posted by at 6:40 pm
Jun 112018

Our family holiday this year took us to the Greek Island of Lesvos, located just off the coast of west Turkey. It had been many years since we last visited this beautiful island that holds a host of good birds. Although the holiday was not what I call a “Birding Holiday”, there was plenty of local birding sites to keep me occupied for the early mornings and late afternoons. We did hire a car during our stay and this was very beneficial, allowing us to do a little more exploring and made my journeys to the Salt Pans and to the Tsiknias River a whole lot easier than walking.

One of the birds I really wanted to photograph was Bee-eater and I spent rather a lot of time with them, hence such a variety of shots. They are so irresistible. During the two weeks I managed to see 92 species without trying too hard. I did miss out on several of the specialities, but it was more to do with the time of year I was visiting and the very windy conditions. I did however witness a huge migration of Rose-coloured Starlings, which more than made up for some of the disappointments. All being well, I shall definitely be returning to Lesvos at a future date.

Bee-eater – above 9 images – Tony Davison©

Black Stork – above 3 images – Tony Davison©

Black-headed Bunting – Not many about and in my experience, not so easy to photograph – Tony Davison©

Black-headed Wagtail – a couple of these stunning yellow Wagtails were seen around the Christou River mouth area near Skalla Kalloni – Tony Davison©

Black-winged Stilt – above 4 images – Tony Davison©

Corn Bunting – I wish these were as common in UK as they were in Lesvos – Tony Davison©

Crested Lark – above 2 images – Tony Davison©

Cretzschmar’s Bunting – One of the Lesvos specialities – Tony Davison©

Greater Flamingo – approximately 500 on the salt pans at Skalla Kalloni – Tony Davison©

Kentish Plover – above 2 images – Tony Davison©

Little Bittern – Tskinias River Ford – Very elusive – Tony Davison©

Little Stint – small numbers passing through. A state of plumage that we rarely see in the UK, full summer – Tony Davison©

Little Ringed Plover – Above 3 images – Tony Davison©

Nightingale – Lots singing – Tony Davison©

Eastern Olivaceous WarblerTony Davison©


During my time on Lesvos, a huge invasion of Rose-coloured Starlings took place. They are a nomadic species and often erupt in huge numbers from their normal breeding grounds in Eastern most Europe.

Rose-coloured Starling – above 7 images – a huge migration of these birds passed through Lesvos during the time we were there. A fantastic spectacle to witness – Tony Davison©

Rufous Bush ChatTony Davison©

Scops OwlTony Davison©

Short-toed EagleTony Davison©

Spanish Sparrow – Skalla Kalloni village – Tony Davison©

White Stork – Papiana – Tony Davison©

Woodchat ShrikeTony Davison©

European Tree Frog – above 2 images – Tony Davison©


A few of the many butterflies that can be found on the island. These were all taken with a 100-400m lens, as I didn’t take my macro lens.

Balkan Marbled WhiteMelanargia larissa – a form called lesbina is found on Lesvos, Limnos and Greece. Tony Davison©

Common SwallowtailPapilio machaonTony Davison©

Great Banded GraylingBrintesia circeTony Davison©

Lattice Brown Kirinia roxelana – This specimen has lost part of its wing, but the unique underwing pattern can still be seen. Tony Davison©

Lesser Spotted FritillaryMelitaea trivia – Tony Davison©

Southern CommaPolygonia egea – A new species of butterfly for me. Tony Davison©



 Posted by at 2:34 pm
May 142018

Barrie & I decide to spend the day at the fabulous RSPB reserve at Frampton marsh in Lincolnshire. A Black-winged Stilt had been present the previous day, but alas had gone over-night as had the 1st winter Snowy Owl at nearby Freiston Shore reserve. Nevertheless we had some good birds – 4 Garganey; Little Stint; 2 Curlew Sandpiper, Greenshank; Ruff and Turtle Dove being the highlights. We had around 60 species during the day, boosting my year list along to 189.

Avocet– above 3 images – Tony Davison© – When I first started birding some 50 odd years ago, Avocet was a mega rarity. I had my first one at Minsmere in 1969

Black-headed Gull – summer adult – Tony Davison©

Brent GooseTony Davison© – still many hundreds around the reserve and on the wash.

Curlew SandpiperTony Davison© – two birds moulting into summer plumage plumage amongst the Black-tailed Godwits.

Garganey – 2 drakes, 5 birds were around the Freiston Shore reserve. – Tony Davison©

KestrelTony Davison©

Sedge WarblerTony Davsion©


 Posted by at 6:50 pm
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