Friday, 5 October 2018

Brown Shrike and other Autumn finds

One of the guys (Tony Blunden) put up a post on the local What's App group last Saturday evening "Shrike sp report from soapy, mobile and elusive. Does not sound like the red back that was there". Tony had received the news from a well known local birder. Soapy is a common haunt of mine (as it is just across the heath from Windmill) so I went down, the next day, at first light. I walked down the valley and as I got to the last big bush on the right I saw a Shrike on the top of a bush on skyline above me - the stonking black eye-stripe stood out immediately and it had a long thin tail - the bird had gone before I got my camera out. I went up onto the hill (out of the valley) nearly standing on Wryneck on the way but could not find the Shrike. I phoned Tony to tell him there was a Shrike there but I did not get enough on it...he said he was inbound. Just after I called him the Shrike flew across the valley and I saw a uniform pale brown back and tail - again the thin long tail stood out - I was excited!! Tony (and the original finder arrived about 30 minutes later) and then a few more local birders arrived. It took until about 3pm before we were all confident enough to put the news out. Gutted I did not get any shots - and I have been working since, A great bird - my second Brown Shrike on the Lizard (Tony had the 2009 bird).

Other highlights this Autumn have been a couple of Wrynecks (poor shot of one below) and a Tree Pipit - both in Soapy:

I also had a Buff Breast a couple of weeks ago, for about 15 minutes before it flew off:
Looking forward to the next few weeks! Happy birding to all.


Budding Naturalist

Just a quick post to wish my little friend Charlie Francis-Trevail (CFT) a happy 9th birthday! Charlie loves nature and has been down to Windmill Farm a couple of times now. He is particularly interested in dragonflies and is looking forward to the expanding his knowledge of odonata and other wildlife species. On his last visit Charlie took this ace picture of a male adder:

I look forward to sharing some great finds with him in the future. Happy birthday Charlie.


Sunday, 29 July 2018

Croatia (around Cavtat) late May 2018

Sarah (my wife) and I went to Croatia at half-term; what a fantastic and beautiful country. We stayed in Cavtat which is about 15 miles south of Dubrovnik. We got out and about in boats and hire cars and I always had my cameras with me to ensure that I got some average shots lol.

I had 35 bird species - no ticks unfortunately - I did try for Rock Partridge a few times but no joy.

I had a few new other beasties though.

Here is a list of my sightings:

Glass Lizard
Grass Snake
Hermans Tortoise
Balkan Terrapin

Green Frog

Eastern Spectre
Balkan Golden Ringed
Southern Migrant Hawker
Broad Bodied Chaser
Scarlet Darter
Blue Eyed Damsel

2 Tailed Pascha
Scarce Swallowtail
Red Admiral
Great Sooty Satyr
Large Wall Brown
Southern White Admiral
Meadow Brown
Clouded Yellow
Painted Lady
Balkan Marbled White
Adonis Blue
Amanda's Blue
Ilex Hairstreak
Hummingbird Hawk Moth

Alpine Swift

Cirl Bunting

Eastern Spectre


Glass Lizard (at least 3ft long)

Grass Snake

Spanish Sparrow

Subalpine Warbler
Adonis Blue

Blue Featherleg - female

Great Sooty Satyr

Great Sooty Satyr

Silver Studded Blue and Ilex Hairstreak

Large Wall Brown

Southern Cyprus April 2018

My birding holiday buddy, Greg Adams, and I spent 5 days in Southern Cyprus in early April (11 - 16). We flew from Bristol to Paphos, picked up our hire car and proceeded to our apartment in Pissouri Bay. Pissouri Bay is well placed to get to many of the South's birding spots - such as Akrotiri area, Paphos Sewage works, Mandria and the mountains - all of which we crammed into our short trip.

We were out early every day and had a great time - we found over 100 species with a few lifers amongst them. I am off to Northern Cyprus in late August - can't wait

Here are some of the birding highlights:

Bee Eater

Black Headed Bunting

Collared Flycatcher

Cyprus Warbler

Cyprus Wheatear

Glossy Ibis

Pallid Harrier

Purple Heron

Red Backed Shrike - juv


Spur Winged Plover


A few recent beasties.....

I went down to the reserve with my mate last weekend - he wanted to try out his Fuji mirrorless kit. He was using a Fuji X-Pro2 with an F2.8 80mm and he just bought the Fuji X-H1; can't wait to see the results of that. I think mirrorless is the way ahead!

Here are some of the results.

Large Skipper


Red Admiral

Black Tailed Skimmer - very mature female

Beautiful Damsel

Red Admiral

July High Flyer

Black Tailed Skimmer - male

Green Veined White
Emperor - female
Common Blue

Common Darter - teneral

Monday, 11 June 2018

Bits and bobs

Just got back from a week in Croatia - hence no post last week. I will upload some Croatia highlights soon. Anyway what a cracking weekend we have just had. I had Friday off and went for a walk around St Levan and Porthgwarra where I got a butterfly tick....a Green Hairstreak.

On Saturday Sarah (my wife) and I went down to the Farm. I heard 2 Lesser Whitethroats and one showed really well for us. It is good to see them back at the Farm after an absence of 2 years. Then yesterday we had a walk around Predannack Headland and found lots of nice creatures.

Six Spot Burnet
Common Lizard
Marsh Frit
Little Magpie
Lesser Whitethroat




Friday, 25 May 2018

Dragons are coming

Popped down to the Farm late this afternoon and saw 9 species of Odonata - Red Veined Darter, Broad Bodied Chaser, Black Tailed Skimmer, Emperor, 4 Spotted Chaser, Azure Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Blue Tailed Damselfly and Beautiful Damsel. Also found a new adder - 1st year baby boy I think!

Not sure if the RVD emerged from the Farm as it was an adult male. Any comments are welcome.

Teneral Black Tailed Skimmer

Common Blue Damselfy

Common Blue Damselfly
1 Year old Adder

The Adder above is definitely a first year snake - not certain of the sex but the tapering of the tail makes me think male?

Anyway my 15th individual at the reserve this year.