Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Hawker in flight

This sequence was taken while at Bellcrag Flow. I have been given permission to show these images on my blog by Jeff Veevers who took them on his Nickoff, OOPS, sorry, Nikon while we were out last week.
What do you reckon?

     Not bad Jeff,          please address any comments to him and not me mind.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Bellcrag Flow

If you are able to put one foot in front of the other i suggested you do so and get along to this little gem.  Part of the Border Mires, Mr. Cheviot and i accessed it midweek via the Pennime Way heading south from Ladyhill where we parked up. Part of the walk was on forest tracks and rides the other over moorland. Plenty to see before we got to the Flow with butterflies, dragons and damsells, as well as a few birds.

     A selection of Hawker and Darter images

      Comma butterfly,
       large numbers of other species included Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Large and Small Whites.

      Both of these species are Common, or so the books say, I think they are special!
      Lizard and Frog

Get along, you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

High Cantle, Breamish Valley

Whilst out walking a few weeks ago with Mr. Cheviot we ascended Cushat Law and took in Bloodybush Edge before returning via High and Low Bleakthorpe. Towards the end of the walk there was plenty of bird activity on the Breamish and i had promised myself a return visit to bird only. While you are out walking you not only see some fantastic scenery but come across loads of interesting fauna but you don't have the time to take time to watch it at any great length. Unfortunately the weather hasn't been the best over the last few weeks so i only got to get back on Sunday so many of the species i had seen have since moved on.
I had a cracking day, parking up at Hartside, a spot used by loads of people, quite often to visit Linhope Spout. I headed off in that direction to start with but turned off over the grouse fells skirting Ritto Hill and on to High Cantle. Obviously at this stage the 2 main species showing were Red Grouse and Red-legged Partridge, with the grouse lifting at regular intervals from the heather with the "old Ticker" being tested on more than one occasion. You know birds will be flying up from cover but you still get a shock every now and again when one.... or twenty lift from under your feet as they burst into the air. Its a lot quieter up here now with Curlew and Lapwing both missing. A lack of Skylarks is also noticeable but still plenty Meadow Pipits keeping an eye on you as you pass through their patch.
On dropping down to the valley and the river, now the House Martins and Swallows appear as you start coming across some dwellings. A few more Meadow Pipits, Grey and Pied Wagtails and a lone Common Sandpiper were all seen "messing about on the river", but overall it was quiet so my attention switched to the butterflies that had started to catch my eye on the clumps of thistles now lining the riverbank. Signs of the oncoming of autumn showing here with flower heads starting to turn to thistledown in a number of cases and the insects having to search for the nectar.
The sun had broken out around midday and by mid afternoon it had become a glorious day and had made for a tranquil return as i sauntered along in the sunshine coming back via Alnhamoor to Hartside. The fact that i only bumped into 8 people while out made for a superb day. My day out had taken me 15.5 km. with an ascent of 515 metres the highest point being 482 metres at High Cantle.

      Red-legged Partridge

      Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell on thistles.

      Fungi with a cuppa.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Moth man.... KEITH COCHRANE, photo of the week, Birdguides.

...........for identification of this specimen. I caught it in the kitchen last night before one of the cats did. I am interested in the small "fleshy" spot on the back.
I'm sure it is quite common, as i think i have seen the same species before on the kitchen window, but i spent an hour trying myself without any result.

      please excuse variation in colouration, messing about with white balance settings.

Thank you to Alan Tilmouth for the I.D. of the moth, a LARGE YELLOW UNDERWING.
Can i mention the feature on BIRDGUIDES under webzine showing moths of the season, late summer. A handy article this. It has featured moths that may have been encountered at certain times during the summer and may have saved a few of us a bit of time looking for that moth we have come across from time to time.
A big up to KEITH COCHRANE who landed the "PHOTO OF THE WEEK" award also on BIRDGUIDES. Anyone who gets to Big Waters will probably have met Keith and will know what a gentleman he is. His images that appear on this site always get plenty of ticks and comments and it's not hard to see why. The picture of the resident Sparrowhawk is all action, the bird coming in over the water, no doubt to send the birds on the feeders scattering. I remember meeting Keith for the first time a couple of years ago and he had only just taken up birding and photography then. It gives all us "wannabies" a bit of hope.
Congratulations, and keep 'em coming. GREAT GUY, GREAT IMAGES!!!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Winged Assassin

I captured this little cutie in the dunes at Crimdon Dene. It is a Fan-Bristled Robber Fly, Dysmachus Trigonus.

      Double click to see more detail.

One of many species of Robber Fly. These insects seize their prey in flight and inject a fluid into its victims that breaks down the muscle tissue so that it may be easily sucked out by the voracious mouth parts leaving only an empty shell. The powerful long legs grasp the victim as the predation takes place and they have stiff hairs on the face to give protection if a struggle ensues.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Elephant Hawk-Moth larva

The Elephant Hawk-Moth actually gets the name from the appearance of the larva. The anterior of the caterpillar looks like a trunk, but when it senses danger it can withdraw this "trunk" creating a bulbous head which then resembles a snake with the large eye like markings. This specimen was found by my son outside the rear door this afternoon.

      An absolutely stunning looking creature which was approx. 75 m.m. long when outstretched.

      These caterpillars however are the larva of the Small Tortoiseshell butterfly, and in the early stage, as they emerge from their eggs they build a communal web which they emerge from to bask and feed. These larvae have a couple of ways to avoid predation. When disturbed the group will jerk their bodies in unison and can regurgitate a green fluid. These specimens were spotted by John (Howdon Blogger) in nettles at Cowpen Bewley.