Sunday, 17 April 2016


Haven't posted anything for a while, life's a bit busy at the moment (understatement) and I'm not getting out much (if at all). I've still been snapping away mainly from the garden and a couple of visits to Far Pasture, and have a stack of photos I was going to post but honestly I just can't be arsed, nor could I be bothered to continue my photographic review of last year, so I've selected about half a dozen just to illustrate the text.

So basically I've seen a few butterflies when we had a few sunny days in March, some bees, in fact quite a few bees, coming to our flowering bush n the back garden (whatever it is). Saw the first worker Tree Bee today, all the others have been queens from 4-5 species.

Small Tortoiseshell
After a good few sightings mid-March, April has been very poor
for butterflies.  

This striking little bee turned out to be a mining bee of sorts

Spring migrants have been in short supply, chiffchaffs pretty widespread, and more recently heard a couple of Blackcaps and Willow Warblers. Have also noted sand martins, house martins and latterly a couple of swallows, all later than expected.

Kestrel in the haze at Far Pasture mid-march

Two for the price of one - Roe Deer and Badger footprints
from Far Pasture same day 

A few frogs appeared the same day, leaving behind many a clump of frogspawn

Skywatching (again during the few periods of good weather) was quite good at times, with Red Kites and Buzzards showing frequently and in good numbers over the village. A distant accipiter at the end of March had me convinced it was a distant displaying goshawk but I think I've been fooled again as it was suggested the strange looking tail made it more likely a sparrowhawk growing a new 'un.

Heavily cropped photos of strange looking distant accipiter had me convinced it was a goshawk.
The short-tailed sparrowhawk theory put the mockers on that though.

I also managed to miss no less than THREE passing Ospreys in the space of 10 days. The first photographed at Far Pasture on March 29th as it flew west, which would easily have been visible had I been outdoors, which I had been most of the morning, skywatching as I dabbled, but went indoors during a shower and got sidetracked by twitter, where I saw the sighting posted 12 minutes previous. I shot outside but obviously too late and cursed myself for missing it.

The second sighting was of one being mobbed by gulls in the Thornley Lane area on April 3rd, no photograph this time but a decent enough description confirmed by another observer later. This time I had been at Far Pasture and saw nowt, had I been at home it would have been viewable but distant, and being mobbed by noisy gulls probably an easy sighting.

I snapped this Chiffchaff along the Derwent walk on the 3rd
Maybe I should have stayed at home to look out for Ospreys

The third was on the 7th, again photographed at Far Pasture, I'd missed it by 45 mins though around the time it was sighted I would have been on the nine-arches viaduct watching a group of around 100 sand martins (and two house) with sprog1. Had I been looking in the right direction it would no doubt have been viewable from there.

Hearing news of a possible fourth at Chopwell Woods a couple of days later didn't do my mood any good either, I spend a good deal of time skywatching when I can't get out and to miss all those is a bit of a bummer to say the least :-(

Overall the spring so far has been cold and wet, as opposed to cold and dry last year. By emerging time for the first damsels most shallow ponds had dried up in 2015, surely won't be the case this year. And persistent overnight frosts last year contributed to a delayed and very poor turnout of early emergers (especially damsels). It's still cool this year but nowhere near as bad, so just waiting for a few degrees rise in temperatures and we should be seeing the first damsels before long.

Something to look forward to anyway :-)          

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