Thursday 2nd - Saturday 4th October 2014
Beer - with Beer Brook running alongside Fore Street towards the beach
No, the village in Devon, not the beverage. It now seems, after days of rain and wind, or fog, that in my few days in SE Devon recently with Linda, we really had the last gasp of summer. A few photos here of this lovely corner of England (going a bit misty-eyed there, sorry about that).
Aboard a tram on Seaton Tramway, with the Axe Estuary on one side and Seaton Marshes on the other
A juvenile Black-tailed Godwit snapped from the moving tram
Coastal scenery between Beer and Branscombe
Always nice when you look for something and find it, this Clouded Yellow was at Branscombe Mouth beach
This Red Admiral was also on the beach at Branscombe, dodging the surf at times
Picturesque cows at Branscombe village


Pink-footed Goose at WWT

Sunday 5th October 2014
Some photos here of the juvenile Pink-footed Goose at WWT Slimbridge allowing close study as it fed/swam/wandered around the Big Pen.


Speckled Bush Cricket

Wednesday 1st October 2014

Linda alerted me to a "strange grasshoppery thing" in the kitchen last night - it was this Speckled Bush-cricket. It's missing a hind leg, but still an impressive insect.



Tuesday 30th September 2014
Pisaura mirabilis (Nursery Web Spider) - quite a few of these around at the moment
As I contemplate the repair estimate for my scope - an accumulation of wear and tear culminating in a fault on the focusing - my attention has turned of late to Spiders. My curiosity has been sparked by Collins Field Guide: Spiders - Britain and Northern Eurpoe, a recent birthday gift, and a desire to try and identify the local Araneae (a low-scoring scrabble word that). The author, Michael J. Roberts, isn't big on common names, but I've included here those used elsewhere. I must add, it is an excellent book. Anyway, here are a few pics from the garden and local environs.
Pisaura mirabilis (Nursery Web Spider)
Pardosa amentata (Spotted Wolf Spider) - several in the canal area but I haven't yet seen one in the garden
Meta segmentata (Autumn Spider), male (left) and female (right)
Meta segmentata (Autumn Spider), male
Salticus scenicus (Zebra Spider) - only around 6mm long
Zygiella x-notata (Silver-sided Sector Spider) - this one tends to hide in the corner of window frames
 I've also seen a few of these recently - Dark Bush-crickets, one in the garden and several around the canal-side vegetation:
Dark Bush-cricket
And a couple of local moths I've spotted, the first two in the garden, the third one near the canal:
Light Brown Apple Moth, Epiphyas postvittana - originally an Australian species - one or two in the garden recently
Beautiful Plume, Amblyptilia acanthadactyla, I've seen a couple of these in the garden too
Common Nettle-tap, Anthophila fabriciana, near the canal



Saturday 6th September 2014
Three of the Curlew Sandpipers
At WWT Slimbridge this morning with Mike and Mark a good selection of birds around, including a GARGANEY, five CURLEW SANDPIPERS, five Ruffs, a Spotted Redshank, five Little Stints and 20+ Black-tailed Godwits from Zeiss Hide, six Common Cranes (presumed GCP birds but too distant to confirm), six Ruffs and six Green Sandpipers from Robbie Garnett hide and a Greenshank from Holden Tower. The pics here were taken with my S4 phone through Mark's scope - my own scope decided to play up and is being sent to the scope hospital.
Spotted Redshank among Lapwing and Common Redshanks
It was a good birders meet last night at the Fromebridge with a good crew and lots of merriment on the occasion of Andy J's 50th. Below is Jeremy's pic shortly before mass high-fiving the local crew in a random act of bonding.


Marsh Sandpiper at Frampton-on-Severn

Thursday 28th - Saturday 30th August 2014
Marsh Sandpiper (right) with Greenshank
Now, I do like a nice rarity, especially a county first, so the brilliant find on Thursday by Martin of a juvenile MARSH SANDPIPER at Frampton was very welcome. Being on leave for the week, I was able to get to see the bird quite quickly; and returned for second and third helpings during its stay. It was always a bit distant so photography was a struggle, but it was a joy to watch this elegant wader feed among the Greenshanks and Ruffs.
Pic taken Thursday morning
Marsh Sandpiper with Ruff and Greenshank
Phone-scoped pic
On Sunday (31st) I visited Clevedon Court and was amazed at the number of dragonflies on the wing, mainly Migrant Hawkers, but also Common Darters and Ruddy Darters. I counted 11 Migrant Hawkers resting together at one location in the gardens and whilst it is hard to estimate the total number present it must have been in the order of 30 - 40. I also saw a Brimstone here - I saw one in my garden earlier - and several Large Whites.
Migrant Hawker, Clevedon Court
And finally, a Forest Shieldbug in my garden:
Forest Shieldbug, Quedgeley


Orchids and Birds

Friday 22nd - Sunday 24th August 2014
Autumn Lady's Tresses, Breakheart Hill
Friday I went in search of Orchids at Swift's Hill, near Slad, in particular Autumn Lady's Tresses and am grateful to the gentlemen there who pointed some out to me and also told me they were far more numerous at Breakheart Hill near Dursley. I went on to Breakheart Hill were, as the chap said, they were plentiful, and bigger (they're still a small plant) than the specimens at Swift's Hill. I also noted at least eight Chalkhill Blues here too, also a Redstart.
Swift's Hill, looking towards Stroud
Autumn Lady's Tresses, Breakheart Hill - not so spiralled flower spike as most specimens
Chalkhill Blue, Breakheart Hill
View from Breakheart Hill
On Saturday a morning out with Mark produced a nice selection of birds at Walmore Common included five Whinchats, a Wheatear and c20 Yellow Wagtails, also a  Migrant Hawker dragonfly. We then went on to Crabtree Hill where the best birds were a Spotted Flycatcher, two Redstarts, two Stonechats and four Whitethroats.
Four of the five Whinchats
Walmore Common
I went out in search of orchids again on Sunday, this time to Edge Common (aka Rudge Hill - but I prefer to call it Edge Common) looking for Helleborines and hoping to find some still in flower. Of the many Braod-leaved Helleborines I found just a single flower still just about photographable, although a few Green-flowered Helleborines were less aged - I must go earlier next year!
Broad-leaved Helleborine, Edge Common
Green-flowered Helleborine, Edge Common
Green-flowered Helleborine