Sunday, 30 April 2017

Bonaparte's, Plovers, Sandpipers, & Flowers

Over the last month or so Jackie and I have been out visiting various favourite sites between leading groups and we have seen a few nice things.  So I thought I'd put a few of our highlight into a blog with one or two photos which I was able to get.

One of our clients mentioned on a walk recently that he had just seen Pasqueflower near where he lives in Hampshire, a flower I had never seen in the UK so directions were imparted and Jackie and I went off to find this beautiful flower.  When we arrived at our destination we hunted for the plant but couldn't find it but then quickly realised that we hadn't listened to the interaction properly and we were in the wrong place.  After a bit of a uphill walk we came to the correct location and we found ten plants fully out in flower.
Pasqueflower © Nick Hull
Pasqueflower © Nick Hull
Jackie and I had visited Blashford Lakes to see the Bonaparte's and Little Gulls which were to far away to photograph but gave good scope views.  Whilst there we added Little Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper to our year list and our first Common Terns so it was a very successful visit.
Little Ringed Plover - Blashford Lakes © Nick Hull
Common Sandpiper - Blashford Lakes © Nick Hull
A few days later another Bonaparte's Gull turned up at Longham Lakes but it wasn't until the late afternoon when we received a 'tweet' from a friend that whilst watching the gull a Red-rumped Swallow was found.  It was too much of a lure so we quickly grabbed our bins, camera gear and headed to Longham.   When we arrived we found Terry and Mike and a handful of others watching a gathering of swallows.  We joined them but the Red-rumped wasn't in sight at that moment but just a few metres away was the Bonaparte's Gull resting on a floating island, so I took advantage and took a few shots though the light was going a little by then, I managed a reasonable photo.
2nd Calendar Year Bonaparte's Gull - Longham Lakes © Nick Hull
Shortly afterwards George picked up the Red-rumped and it kindly did a fly pass, in fact it flew right over my head and we had a very good quick view as it past.  It then went out of sight and shortly after I found it with other Swallows in a tight ball circling high and then drifting off towards the Christchurch direction no doubt to go to roost somewhere.  Unfortunately it passed too quickly to get any record shots of this beautiful southern Swallow.

Yesterday (29th) we had our granddaughter so we took her for a walk at Challow Hill in the hope the Nightingales had returned. Unfortunately it appears they haven't but we had a good number of Whitethroat, Blackcaps, Chiffchaff and the usual common species Blue Tit, Robin, Blackbird etc.  But we did note that there was no Yellowhammers there this year which was a little disconcerting hopefully they were off feeding somewhere and we just missed them.  What was there and looking superb in the morning sun was Green-veined Orchids just a small stand  but more plants than last year which was very nice to see.
Green-veined Orchid - Challow Hill © Nick Hull
On Our walk back to the car we watched a Buzzard pass over us and shortly after returned and passed us carrying prey which looked like a slow worm in its tallons.  This was the third Buzzard that I have seen of late which was carrying a reptile, the previous birds had a Grass Snake and what looked like an Adder.
Common Buzzard with Slow Worm - Challow Hill © Nick Hull

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