Yesterday I went to Staffordshire to twitch the male Red-footed Falcon that has been showing excellently, and thankfully it did the same for us! The bird stayed in the tree a little too far away for decent photography most of the time, but twice it flew towards us and hovered right in front of the crowd of scopes and huge lenses, before perching on the wire really quite close. A truly stunning bird, and a lifer!
Whilst it was sat in the tree I had a go at field sketching it, however I left my field sketchbook at home, so I had to make do with using my notebook, which was a shame but still a good chance to practice and develop my sketching skills.
A short walk down the road from the falcon the juvenile Black Redstart was still present, showing a bit distantly but still a great year tick, especially since I haven't seen one for about 5 years. We then went to RSPB Coombes Valley, in the hope of getting Pied Flycatcher and the other Redstart, but sadly we had no such luck. We didn't see much there, but we didn't stay too long, I did however see a Five-spot Burnet moth and a few interesting-looking insects which I still need to identify.
Last Sunday I went to RSPB Blacktoft Sands in the hope of life-ticking Montagu's Harrier, and I wasn't disappointed! The male showed well all morning, but it was really quite distant, so the only photos I managed to get were digiscoped grey blobs! The female joined him a couple of times, and it was great to see the Monty's interacting with the much bulkier Marsh Harriers, providing a good size comparison, and really showing just how slim and elegant the Monty's are. The Marshies showed quite close as well, and there were a few young birds flying about too. The Tree Sparrows are always a joy to see, and there were plenty of insects about to have a go at photographing.
The reserve was also good on the wader front, with around 20 Spotted Redshanks, some Black-tailed Godwits and 4 male Ruffs all in stunning summer plumage. A couple of Green Sandpipers were a year tick, as well as a Yellow Wagtail. This lovely female Roe Deer also appeared out of the reeds and gave great views as it came right in front of the hide.
Also in my grandparents garden, which I forgot to add to my last blog post, there are at least 2 Hedgehogs that feed from the pot of mealworms my granddad puts out for them every night. They're very approachable, so I had a go at photographing them.
Last weekend I stayed at my grandparents, near Newark, to do some birding, and on the way on Friday I found this Riband Wave moth Idaea aversata on the side of a car in Newark station carpark. This is the non-banded form f.remutata, which is more common in Nottinghamshire than the banded form.
On Saturday my grandparents and I went to Spalford Warren, near Newark, with a local birder to try to find Woodlark, which still evades my list list. We had no luck on the Woodlark front, and couple of Siskin and a fly-over Peregrine were the most interesting birds we saw, but it was a very pleasant morning with lots of insects about, including Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Small Skipper, Ringlet and Comma butterflies, a few bumblebees, Common Blue damselflies and this Red-banded Sand Wasp Ammophila sabulosa.
I then did the second visit for the BTO House Martin Survey, where I found a grand total of 0 House Martins! Really quite disappointing if I'm honest, especially because the square seemed to contain ideal nesting habitat for the birds, and I've seen them flying round in the adjacent villages, but oh well! I did however find this stunning (and unfortunately dead) Banded Demoiselle damselfly Calopteryx splendens:
I spent the afternoon photographing the bumblebees in my grandparents garden. On just a few lavender bushes I found a few Honeybees Apis mellifera and 8 species of bumblebee:
There were also a couple of interesting looking hoverflies, I think they are Episyrphus balteatus and Syrphus ribesii:
A Blue-tailed Damselfly Ishnura elegans flew into the house, so I grabbed a couple of photos before ushering it back outside.
I also found this dead Common Carder bee Bombus pascuorum in the conservatory, so I took the opportunity to get a really close look at this charming bumblebee.
I'm Sorrel, a young birder and wildlife artist based in the East Midlands - this is my blog all about my birding and wildlife adventures.