Thursday, 26 June 2008

Rizzo’s dolphin trapped in River Clyde

A Rizzo’s dolphin swam into the River Clyde in Glasgow. It has been said that there is a possibility that the is dolphin is depressed and has gone into the river to die, and is sending out distress signals. Yet another depressing and upsetting story. Read the article if you would like to know more.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Devastating effects of biofuels

In my opinion yet another disastrous proposal regarding the environment. The Kenyan government has decided that due to biofuels becoming low something needs to be done. They are hoping to destroy 80 square miles of the Tana River Delta, and replace it with sugarcane which can be used for biofuels. The consequences of doing this though could be astronomical for the wildlife. An article I have been looking at says:
"Conservationists and villagers living in the Delta, which provides refuge for 350 species of bird, lions, elephants, rare sharks and reptiles including the Tana writhing skink, believe the decision is illegal and are determined to block the development"
The word rare sticks out to me.

Read the article for yourself, and make your own opinion.

Natural Quarry - Book (David Boag)

Miss Ellis, my Geography teacher bought this book the other day, she thought I would love to have a look at it, and I did. We had great fun looking at the photographs. She was right when she said I thought I would love it. A lot of time was spent with us observing the photographs, some of them provided great entertainment. A fantastic book, with some absolutely cracking photographs.
Thanks for showing it me Miss Ellis. Where did you get it from? it's such a fantastic book.

Lathkill Dale

Last week I went on a trip with my Applied Science class to Lathkill Dale. In preparation for my A2 coursework, and what a great day it turned out to be. Lathkill Dale is known for Dippers, and strangely I didn't see one, every other time I have been to Lathkill Dale I have seen one, this time it was not the case. It is luck more than anything, and knowing the habitat of the bird. I did see Grey Wagtails, and a Tawny Owl though. I have never seen a Tawny Owl I have heard plenty of them, usually when I go to Norfolk camping, they are usually all around the campsite. I was so happy to have finally seen one. Yet another first for me.

Tawny Owl:

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Conwy RSPB

It has taken me so long to sort of my photos especially the ones from Norfolk, that's why these photos are being posted a little late, yet I am on top of it now, due to me having a lot more free time to sort them out.

At the beginning of the month I went on a trip to Conwy RSPB reserve in North Wales, with other bird watchers. It was a trip organised by a bird club near me. It was a fantastic day trip, I really enjoyed it. I met loads of really nice people, who I could share my interests, and observations with. A friend of mine from my local bird club went, which was really nice, because he is mad about bird watching. Going on the trip meant a really early start to the day, I had to be up at 5.30 to be at the pickup point for 6.15, very early, but was fantastic to watch and listen to the wildlife at an early time of the day.

A lot of good species seen, including, Dunlin, Curlew, Oystercatchers, Honey Buzzard (another 1st for me, sadly I didn't take any photographs because it was to far away, and also there was sun glare, so it wouldn't have been good anyway), Reed Warblers, and Wheatear.


Bee Orchid:


Monday, 23 June 2008

Norfolk birding holiday - 6th June (final day)

Well this was the final day, and it was not a very nice day at all, there was quite a strong horizontal wind, with rain as well. Yet I wasn't going to let this stop me going to Titchwell RSPB on the way home.

Not a lot of wading birds there, but there didn't seem to have been anywhere in Norfolk, very strange, I wonder why. Plenty of calling Sedge, and Reed Warblers, the odd Cettis Warbler, and a lot of Reed Buntings. I did see plenty of Avocet and Black Headed Gull families. Avocet chicks are so sweet. I did manage to witness the change over on one of the Avocet nests which was nice.
I did manage to see Bearded Tits, from a very far distance, but I did see some.

Bearded Tit:
Seeing the Avocets, and Bearded Tits made me very happy, as they are two of my favourite birds.
So what a fantastic couple of days in Norfolk. Highlights had to have been seeing Bill and Kate, the Bittern "booming", seeing the Nightjars, and the Elephant Hawk Moth. When I saw the moth trap, it inspired me to study moths in a lot more detail than I am doing at the moment, so guess what I have..........yes, you guessed right.........a moth trap!

Norfolk birding holiday - 5th June

Up very early this morning, it was going to be a hectic day, yet I had the feeling it would be a fantastic day. I was off to Pensthorpe Nature reserve at Fakenham, the host of Springwatch, and where it was being filmed from. I admit the prospect of seeing Kate Humble and Bill Oddie, made me eager to go. I arrived and saw the film crew having a meeting, there were miles and miles worth of cables, all over the reserve, a good start to the day to see all the goings on of the production team. When you visit places where there is a large scale filming operation involved you really do appreciate how much work goes into producing the program......believe me it is an awful lot.

I spent a lot of time photographing the foreign birds and the birds which are involved with the captive breeding programme. I went back to the car for lunch, and went back to cover the other half of the reserve, which I had not yet had chance to explore. On the way round, guess who I saw.....yes, Bill Oddie, I was so happy. I carried on walking and then saw Kate Humble, I have to say I was very shocked, I never thought I would see them. I was lucky enough to watch them filming as well, and having a joke with the producers, and film makers. The way I was going round the reserve, they went, they stopped at a location to observe a filming sight, and there was a lot of discussion over it. Bill Oddies manager gave me a two signed postcards one from Bill the other from Kate. I never got to see Simon King, but that was because he was in Scotland, in the Cairngorm mountains filming Wild Cats, and Pine Martins.... so lucky, I wish I had his job. Simon King is a wildlife camera man, he travels around, studying nature, being out in the glorious natural world, being out in all weathers and studying how the wildlife copes with weather changes. I would love his job, it would be great, filming the wildlife, brave all weathers, it would be my idea of absolute heaven.

I have been lucky to see Simon King. I entered a competition 2 years back, the prize was to go to the Birdwatching Fair at Rutland Water, and go for a walk with Simon and to have lunch with him. When I arrived I was very shocked to finally meet him, I was almost in tears. Little did I realise until I got there that I had also won a pair of Zeiss binoculars, which he presented to me. He was such a nice man, and such an inspiration, I learnt such a lot from him. It was the best day of my life, and one I will never ever forget. I was happy to win the binoculars, but seeing and meeting Simon King, was the absolute highlight.

Throughout the day at Pensthorpe I seemed to attract the local geese, they wouldn't leave me alone, they were constantly following me, I don't know what it was that I had that attracted them, but something surely did.

There are so many photographs, I will name them all, the first lot of photographs will be of the foreign birds.

Red Brested Goose:

White Stork:


Bald Ibis:

Black Winged Stilt:

Black Stork:

Marabou Stork:

Male Smew:
(the Smew is a winter visitor to the UK, but I am not classing it as a wild species, as it is captive bred here)

Now for the native British species that can leave the reserve whenever they want.


Banded Demoiselle:

Common Blue Damselfly:
Juvenile Coot:




Greylag Goose family:
Barnacle Goose:
What a fantastic day, the highlight had to be seeing Bill Oddie and Kate Humble. I know a lot of people find Bill Oddie annoying, but he is very passionate about wildlife and the environment, and he has helped so many young people to become interested in wildlife, which is great. We are the people who hopefully in the future will be able to help. The more young people that become interested the better, Bill Oddie has helped do this, give credit to him.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Norfolk birding holiday - 4th June

At 9.00 in the morning I was walking down East Bank (east of Cley NWT) enjoying the lovely weather, and listening to the frantic calls of the Reed and Sedge Warblers. Marsh Harriers were exchanging food in mid air, with what is known as "sky dancing" it was a magnificant sight, and one I will remember for the rest of my life. So many birds, added to the brilliant start to the holiday, with a flock of Black Tailed Godwits flying over head, a Ringed Plover feeding and Avocets (one of my favourite birds) sweeping their bills from side to side to disturb the prey.

I briefly heard a noise which sounded like someone blowing over a milk bottle, I didn't think anything of it to start with. A few minutes later I heard it again, this time I paid more attention to the sound, it then occured to me that it was a Bittern booming. I was so thrilled, I had never in my entire bird watching years heard a Bittern "booming" and it made my day, I was shocked to have heard it, and felt privileged, as a lot of people I had spoken to so far in Norfolk had not heard the Bittern "booming". I never managed to see the Bittern (I have seen them before), yet I was happy enough to have heard it.

Reed Warbler:

Later on that morning I went to Salthouse Heath for a little while. I got good views of a Grey Heron, and of Marsh Harriers.

Grey Heron:

I took the opportunity while I was by grassland to study the insect life. I managed to see a Scorpion Fly, a Yellow Tailed Moth Caterpillar, and a Blue-Tailed Damselfly.

Yellow Tailed Moth Caterpillar:

Blue-Tailed Damselfly:
(This is a teneral female- newly emerged)

On the way back to the campsite, I saw plenty of Barn Swallows and House Martins. To me when I see Swallows, Martins or Swifts, I always think Spring is here.

Barn Swallow:

Off to Cley Nature Reserve in the afternoon. Hear I heard the Bittern "booming" again. There were a lot of Black Tailed Godwits, Shelduck and Gadwall. There were very few Waders, a lot of people agreed with this, know one seems to know why.

(Female with chick)

Back to the campsite for something to eat. The campsite seemed to be invaded by rabbits, and Wood Pigeons.


Wood Pigeons:

Later that evening I went back to Cley NWT, were I saw a Lapwing chick, which I saw earlier. One of the parents was keeping a very close eye on it, especially with a family of Redshank near by. Both the Redshank family and Lapwing family felt threatened by one another, even though they posed very little threat. They have to be protective though with predators around.


My dad got talking to someone who said there was a Nightjar Walk at Kelling Heath, by this time it was 20.00, and the walk began at 20.30, it was a reasonable drive from where we were. On the way back to the car I saw a Barn Owl hunting, it was very close. It did manage to catch something, which was fantastic to see.

Barn Owl:
(sadly very far away by the time I got my camera onto it)

The walk was excellent, we were led by a very experienced guide, who was very, very knowledgeable. I managed to see quite a few Nightjars, and heard a lot of them "churring" and clapping their wings together. The Nightjar was a first for me. After the walk there was a Moth trap set up, the same group that went on the Nightjar walk came and looked at the Moth trap. A lot of people left. There was nothing exciting to begin with. We waited, yet I was getting very tired, so we said out farewells, and began walking back to the car, when someone shouted "there's an Elephant Hawk Moth", I had to go back and see this. What a beautiful moth it was, one I had wanted to see for years, I saw a caterpillar last year at my families allotment, yet never thought I would see the actual moth. A fantastic way to end off the first day.

Norfolk birding holiday

About a month back I went on holiday to Weybourne, north Norfolk to go bird watching for a few days. I bet you are wondering why I am posting it now aren't you? Well.....I came back home with over 450 photographs, which is an awful lot, due to only staying in Norfolk from the 3rd of June to the 6th of June, I bet you can see now why it has taken me a long time to sort out my photographs, due to the amount.

I will do each day separately because each day was that action packed it would be very difficult to put it all in one entry. I will begin with the 4th June, because, although I arrived in Norfolk on the 3rd, I didn't go bird watching that day.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Rutland Water

A couple of weeks back I went to Rutland Water to go and have a look at the breeding pair of Ospreys, and what a fantastic day it was. My dad told me when I was a lot younger, and wasn't really into birdwatching as much as I am now, I saw one. As I am now a very keen birdwatcher it would mean a lot more for me to see this fantastic bird.

I arrived at the Egleton side of the reservoir and had only been there for about 15 minutes when the first Osprey flew over, it was very far away, but it was an Osprey. I stayed at the Egleton side for about 3 hours, and in that time I saw 3 species of birds that I had never seen before; Hobby, Cuckoo, and Black tern.

Unfortunately the Cuckoo was quite far away, and the light was in the wrong place, so it is only a silhouette.

Reed Bunting:

It was then off to the Lynton Side of the reservoir for the afternoon, this is where I would hopefully have the best views of Ospreys. This is the area of the reservoir, where the nests are, and where they are therefore breeding. A few moments after arriving at the viewing hide I was already having fantastic views of Sedge and Reed Warblers.

Reed Warbler:

Sedge Warbler:

I saw the pair of Ospreys on the nest, and was thrilled, but the best was yet to come. I waited for over an hour. Finally the moment came when the male Osprey left the nest and went hunting. It caught a fish, which it then took back to the nest, and shared with the female. I was so overwhelmed and privileged to have witnessed this extraordinary event. I managed to photograph it, which was a real bonus. The eggs have not yet hatched, and until they do, only the male hunts while the female incubates the eggs. The male only usually hunts once a day, as there are only two mouths to feed, yet when the chicks hatch this becomes a lot more frequent.

Male Osprey hunting:

Osprey perching:

When leaving the Lynton side a few hours later, I went a bit further around Rutland Water, where I heard a Nightingale calling, sadly I didn't see it, it would have been nice, and it would have been a first for me, but you can't expect to win them all. I also saw a pair of Egyptian Geese.

Egyptian Goose: