Friday, March 31, 2006

Of Blackthorn and Sallow

If you want insects at this time of year look for these two dominant flowering trees. Its been really sunny for the past couple of days but the strong wind means its hard to observe insects. If you can find a sheltered spot with Salllow and/or Blackthorn it can be great. The sunny leeward side of Jones' Covert was buzzing with Bumblebees this morning and these shots were taken at The Boardwalks LNR at lunchtime.

Small Tortoiseshell and Hoverflies (E. tenax) were also nectaring on these trees, which are used by moths at night.

Really starting to get the hang of the P4 now. This was a very pleasing set of photos; the second Peacock was digiscoped very successfully. Higher resolution versions can be viewed by clicking these pics.

Comma (Polygonia c-album)

Peacock (Inachis io)


Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)

Sallow (Salix caprea)

All taken with Nikon Coolpix P4.
* Digiscoped handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77

Willow Chiff Warbler

A silent phylloscopus warbler in spring - always tricky. At first sight I thought this one, feeding in sallow blossom at the east end of Jones' Covert, was a Chiffchaff but as these photos show it has a longish primary projection and pale legs with yellowish feet. There are some good tips on separating the two species on the following link:

Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)

Coolpix P4 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Coltsfoot at Serpentine

Parts of this wierd landscape are covered in flowering Coltsfoot at the moment.

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)

Nikon Coolpix P4

Long-tailed Tit

A pair of Siskin were using the niger feeder in the garden this morning but typically as soon as got into position to photograph them they vanished. So I made do with this Long-tailed Tit. It is certainly proving easier to get reasonable digiscoped images with the P4 than it was with the 995.

Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)

Coolpix P4 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Ferry Meadows flowers

More fun with the P4. A few spring flowers and an obliging Blackbird.

Lesser Cellandine (Ranunculus ficaria)

Coolpix P4

Common Dog Violet (Viola riviniana)

Coolpix P4

Blackbird (Turdus merula)

Coolpix P4 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77

Monday, March 27, 2006

Digiscoping with the P4

My trusty coolpix 995 has been developing the odd fault in recent months, including persistently failing to focus on anything (but acting like it has). This has meant some priceless photos have been ruined so it was time to look for a replacement. On paper the P4 looked a good bet but it had only just arrived in the UK so it was a bit of a leap of faith.

So far I'm very pleased with it. It doesn't focus as close as the 995 but as recent moths photos show it is more than OK for the macros and I think the 8 megapixels will provide enough resolution for smaller subjects too.

Of course it needs to perform as a digiscoping camera too and that looks to be very good. Early days yet but with a superb 50 pence adapter initial results are encouraging. The Grebe here was taken in bright conditions with the sun in cloud and the Great Tit was on a very dull and wet day.

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

Coolpix P4 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77

Coolpix P4 handheld to 32x eyepiece of Leica APO77

Great Tit (Parus major)

Coolpix P4 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Satellite

The weather finally changed at the end of last week and with the much warmer, but wetter conditions came the first of the spring moths. A smattering of Hebrew Characters, Common and Small Quakers and a first for the garden: The Satellite. Unlike the Orthosias which are just emerging from pupae, The Satellite over-winters as an adult so can in theory be seen at any time between the late autumn and early spring. It gets its name from the two tiny white 'moons' orbiting the large white spot on the forewing.

The Satellite (Eupsilia transversa)

Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica)

Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi)

Nikon Coolpix P4

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

We Saw a Rail

Another very early start for another extremely rare american bird (others being Grey-cheeked Thush and Green Heron). The 4:30 start was worth it though as Mike, Tony and I got great views as the bird fed in a frozen ditch at dawn. It was rather too dark for photographs really but its nice to have these record shots.

Sora Rail (Porzana carolina)

Digiscoped with Nikon Coolpix 995 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Eggs on Birch

I was checking the birch trees in the garden for early stages of moths like this one but only found these eggs. No idea what they belong to at the moment but hopefully someone will know. They were fairly abundant.

Nikon Coolpix 995

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Nuns on parade

I rather dislike the nickname 'White Nun' given to the adult male Smew - but then I generally dislike most of the nicknames birders give to birds. But you can't argue that they are impressive beasts. This party of four adult males and two 'redheads' (the females or immatures) were showing very obligingly near the perimeter road at Eye Brook Reservoir today.

Smew (Mergellus albellus)

Digiscoped with Nikon Coolpix 995 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77

Friday, March 03, 2006

Sewage Works Birds

A lunchtime bike ride along the North Bank of the Nene east of Peterborough - a place I have neglected recently. The warm outfall from the sewage works along here often attracts birds during cold spells of weather like this but the numbers today were quite low.

Redshank (Tringa totanus)

Stonechat (Saxicola torquata)

Digiscoped with Nikon Coolpix 995 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77