Monday, 4 July 2016

Black Hairstreak at Glapthorn Cow Pastures, Northants

The Black Hairstreak is a very localised little butterfly with a distribution which is restricted to about 45 colonies in the South and East Midlands and with having a flight period of just a few weeks makes it an elusive little creature. There are a couple of sites near me where this butterfly can be found, but until yesterday I had failed in my attempts to see one. Glapthorn Cow Pastures is a Wildlife Trust site near Oundle and is nationally known for having a colony of the Black Hairstreak, indeed people have travelled from the other end of the country to see one. The flight period is coming to the end now and so we were extremely lucky in seeing at least 5 individual butterflies still looking in pretty good nick, apart from one that was very tatty.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Brown Bear in Lentiira, Finland

Have just got back from a weekend in North East Finland, close to the border with Russia. This was primarily to try and see if we could get views of the wild Brown Bears that frequent the forests there, but also to see other wildlife that we were told was found in good numbers in the area. We stayed in the Wild Brown Bear Lodge that is situated close to the town of Lentiira, in a very picturesque setting by a lake and in the middle of the forest. Unfortunately, the only wildlife that seemed to be in abundance were the mosquitoes, millions of them, and despite being caked in mosquito repellent, wearing protective bands and covered from head to toe, the whole group succeeded in being bitten to 'buggery'! We did, however see a couple of brown bears, including the one in the above photos.

Now, something that I dislike with a lot of wildlife watching and it seems to be extremely prevalant where mammals are concerned is the naming of these magnificent beasts. Don't get me wrong, I know why it's done, but it just stinks of anthropomorphology to me. This bear could easily be called 'A1' or some such thing to differentiate him from others, but instead he is known as 'Brutus', a fitting name for one of the largest (250kg +) and oldest (20 yrs) bears in the forest, but I still prefer 'A1'. He was seen after 12 hours in a hide and was quite a magnificent sight as he moved logs that 2 men would struggle with as if they were matchsticks. Always wary for such a large animal, but brilliant views were had until something spooked him and he was off!

More photos will follow, although I am disappointed with all of them.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Great Knot at Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk

Not a great photo, but the Great Knot can be made out if you look at the bird in the centre of the frame at the front of the main flock (and if you click on the image). This represents only the fifth record of this species in the U.K., a bird that breeds in North East Siberia and overwinters in Australia, so goodness knows what it is doing in Norfolk!

This bird has been present at Titchwell in North Norfolk for almost a week now and tonight was the third visit that I have paid to the site, with the previous two drawing blanks in the way of sightings. Tonight was different with the bird present on the fresh marsh with a large flock of Knot. Always distant and most of the time with its' bill firmly tucked under its' wing, but on the rare occasion it moved the assembled masses were treated to okay views of this rare wader from the East.