Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Black Necked Grebes and Little Bittern

I have been hoping that a couple of Black Necked Grebes might turn up locally to try and get some good photos, anyway eventually 2 turned up at Thrybergh Reservoir and stayed for a couple of days, I went early Saturday before the rain set in and they showed really well even displaying to each other, the light was a bit poor but at least it didn't burn out their red eye. I have also been trying to get some shots of some local breeding birds with Whinchat high on my list, although so for, the birds, along with the light have proved awkward. Along the way there has been a few other bits and bobs including a lot of Brown hares. Also Sheffield's St Georges Peregrines are doing very well with 4 well grown chicks (viewable on web cam on the SBSG website).
Today I did a proper twitch which I haven't done for a while but it was a new bird for me in the form of a male Little Bittern at Elton Reservoir and after a longish wait it eventually showed well. I don't see many new birds in the UK these days and I will have to do a count up what my UK list is (probably around the 300 mark).

Black Necked Grebes

 Lapwing Chicks
 Above and below Female Peregrine

 Male Peregrine
 Brown Hare
 Golden Plover
 Meadow Pipit
 Red Grouse
Willow Warbler
Male Little Bittern

 Sedge Warbler
Stock Dove

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Forthcoming Trip to Cyclades Islands Greece

In 3 weeks time I will be doing a field trip to the Cyclades Islands with Matt Wilson, Liam Russell and Stephen Roussos. We will visit 4 Islands but concentrate our efforts on 2. Flying to Santorini a quick ferry to Ios, for a week, Sikinos 1 night and then the remainder will be spent on Milos. The range of species is not great but there is some real quality. On Ios and Sikinos there are dwarf versions of Nose Horned Viper and Sand Boa, then on Milos there is the Milos Viper which is essentially a sub-species of Blunt nosed viper, these have a reputation of being a bit highly strung. There's also a couple of species of Wall Lizard I haven't seen before with the male Milos Wall Lizard especially nice. Throw in a few nice birds such as Eleneoras Falcon and some nice scenery and it should work out to be a cracking trip.

Below Nose Horned Vipers from Corfu 2009 and 2011.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Slow Worms and Water Voles

Last week I went to check on a Slow Worm Anguis fragilis population in the Peak District. I found a total of 10 with an equal split of males and females. This population is on the edge of a village and many of the gardens also have the legless lizards. Just down the road on the River Wye there are Water Voles Arvicola terrestris so I had a look for them as well. I saw a couple but the first was the best sighting as a female was moving her young to another nest, she came back taking one at a time with a total of 5. There is also a good place 10 minutes from where I live on the South Yorkshire side of the Peak District where I saw about 5 animals.




Also at the Water Vole site were a couple of Common Lizards Vivipara zootoca and I keep adding to my number of bird photos.
 Common Lizard
 Great Crested Grebe
 Grey Wagtail