Aug 242019

We spent a few days away on the Island of Mull from 17th to 22nd August. The weather was a mixed bag of rain, wind and some sunshine. Fortunately the weather didn’t disrupt our trip to Iona and the boat trip for White-tailed Eagle that I had pre-booked before we left. This was the highlight of our trip without doubt, so a big thank you to Martin Kievers of Mull Charters.

Half a dozen Golden Eagle, several Otter, small numbers of Common Seal, a single Manx Shearwater, Black Guillemot and 7 White-tailed Eagle were the main highlights. The heavy rain certainly hampered our search for the islands wildlife.

Here are a few photos of our memorable trip to Mull.


Tobermory – Our apartment was located in the bright red house
Old boats at Salen Bay, Salen
Old boats at Salen Bay, Salen
The beautiful island of Iona
A view from Iona looking back to Mull
The Red Boat, Iona
The Post Office, Iona
Ben More from Ulva Ferry
Golden Eagle – one of 6 individuals we saw during our trip
Golden Rod – Tobermory
Eorsa, Loch na Keal from Ulva Ferry
Loch na Keal – Mull’s fisherman have a hard life
Common Seal – Lock Tuath
Common Seal – Loch Tuath
Common Buzzard
Immature Shag and Cormorant – Salen Bay, Salen
White-tailed Eagle – I spent a stunning morning with these beauties
White-tailed Eagle
White-tailed Eagle – one of 3 females we saw during our mornings trip
One of my favourite images of the trip
My favourite image of the trip
 Posted by at 8:37 pm
Jul 222019

A few images from my wanderings over recent days.

A recent visit to Wales for Bog Orchid was a bit of a disaster as we struggled to find any at two reliable sites. Managed a few other plants though, including Round-leaved Sundew, Bog Asphodel and Marsh St.John’s-wort. 

A family of Whinchat, a year tick, and a few Red Kites, Common Buzzard and Raven. A few Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary, a Black Darter and a Small Heath.

Round-leaved Sundew
Bog Asphodel
Marsh (Bog) St.John’s-wort

A few trips to my local patch at Staunton Harold Reservoir recently has produced two good Gull year ticks. An adult Caspian Gull on the 18th July and a moulting adult Yellow-legged Gull on 22nd July. Also Common Tern numbers building up with 15 on 22nd July along with 4 Little Egret, a Little Ringed Plover and an Oystercatcher.


Common Tern
Common Tern
Yellow-legged Gull
Yellow-legged Gull
 Posted by at 9:01 pm
Jul 082019

During the past few weeks I’ve been photographing a few species of available orchids. The best one being Marsh Helleborine, where I had to travel over to Lincolnshire in order to see it.

The Chalk Fragrant Orchids have been re-identified by local experts as Marsh Fragrant Orchid.

The rest of the orchids I’ve managed to see and photograph within fifteen minutes of home. These were Common Spotted, Marsh Fragrant and Common Twayblade. 

A beautiful group of plants, the majority of which are very rare and difficult to see. In some cases almost impossible without some knowledge of location.

I have lived at my property for some 35 years and for the very first time this year, I’ve had a Common Spotted Orchid naturally growing in my front lawn. I real treat and pleasing event. I’m letting it go to seed in the hope that a few more may appear next year. (see the last image)

Marsh Helleborine
Marsh Helleborine
Marsh Helleborine
Common Spotted Orchid
Common Spotted Orchid
Marsh Fragrant Orchid
Marsh Fragrant Orchid
Common Twayblade
Common Twayblade
Common Twayblade
Common Spotted Orchid growing in my front lawn
 Posted by at 8:18 pm
Jun 202019

A Black-winged Pratincole was discovered at RSPB Frampton Marsh in Lincolnshire on Tuesday 18th June 2019. However the bird disappeared late afternoon and there was no further sight by dusk. It turned up again during the morning of 19th so I decided to go for it. Arrive at around 1pm and the bird was on view and showed well on and off in flight and on the ground.

Always a bit distant for the camera, along with heat haze so only record shots, but managed to get a few that show all the subtle field ID features.

This was a first record for Frampton reserve and my 3rd Black-winged Pratincole for Britain. A superb bird that appeared like a huge swallow and very raptor like as it swooped over the marshes hunting insects. The main ID features are grey-brown upper parts, black underwings, no white trailing edge to wings, limited amount of red on the bill, extensive black lores and the tail is shorter than the wing tips. 


Note the tail is shorter than wing tips
Note black underwings
A typical fly-by of a pratincole
 Posted by at 8:24 pm
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