Sunday, 3 July 2016

Sunday Blues

As I write this I'm sat watching my kids play in the front garden... the two swifts have just dropped from their nest in our roof and skimmed inches away from Joe and Jessicas' heads, who carry on horse-playing oblivious to these fantastic birds.

Today I made a decision to redraw my patch. I'm not sure of the precise rules of the Patchwork Challenge, but given it's my first year I'm sure there won't be a problem. In my haste to define a patch in January I incorporated a lot of land that is inaccessible. Furthermore, it's been made clear that walkers are not very welcome in certain areas so I've eliminated these too. Thankfully, I recorded no unique birds in these areas so my patch total year to date would remain the same if I'd begun the year with this territory.

The resulting saving means that I've been able to stretch the patch, incorporating all of Langton Woods and the fishing lakes to the North, and all of High Field to the railway line to the South. I attach a redefined map of the patch below, together with labels that I often refer to, as reference.

The Meadow

It wasn't long ago that I was bemoaning the lack of any real meadow in the area, and while this is still true when I consider the meadows I grew up with in Shropshire, Richard's organic farm around St Wilfrid's is starting to spawn some optimism. Grass is forced to compete here with other plants, predominantly red clover...

...and this means that a greater diversity of flowers can be found supporting a greater variety of insects. Here a back-lit meadow brown nectars from white clover...

Beetles are too many to classify. I see plenty of these about but none of my books helped to identify them; I think another expensive field guide is on the cards!

Other flowers that have taken hold in the previous week include this Hedge Woundwort...

...and (I think) Nipplewort....

Ringlet number in scores and large skipper are now turning up in every sheltered corner.

Sunday Blues

I set out before the sun breached the horizon to try and photograph the common blues in Langton Wood. Unfortunately, they've been flying for a few weeks now and the wet and windy weather has contributed to them all looking a bit tatty...

The wind picked up to a bluster, making macro photography impossible, so I decided on a change of plan. Swapping common blue for electric blue, I headed to the Riverine Wood to stake out the increasingly conspicuous kingfisher moving about; I presume due to a newly fledged nest or parents feeding hungry chicks.

Joe and I discovered a messy pile of freshwater mussel shells on the bank last weekend and I wondered who the culprit might be. On my way to the kingfishers I identified a lead suspect in the investigation, caught at the scene of the crime...

After two hours of waiting, my patience paid off and a pair of kingfishers started to hunt near to where I was sat. Unfortunately they didn't show in the open, ignoring what I though was the most likely perch, but I was delighted to get a closer view than I've had for many years.


  1. I keep meaning to check out the patchwork challenge and work out my own area but it is tough to figure out what to cover! Lovely shots of the Kingfisher, it must have been nice to be able to sit a while and watch.

  2. It's quite addictive, Pam! And it's improved my observation of birds enormously (previously I'd have described myself as a general naturalist rather than a birder - and I'm not sure which made me happier).

    Thanks for the comments - I was lucky to get so close!

  3. Cracking Kingfisher shots! I think I will have to borrow your portable hide!

    1. Thanks Nick! I have a dome/tent hide that you're welcome to set up in the magic garden for a month or two. It's a lot more comfortable!