Author Archive

Friday, October 09th, 2009 | Author:

a sunny but cold day, the light barely falling on half the reserve by midday.

this male mallard had me looking twice: he’s become entwined with a postman’s elastic band.
As far as I could see, he was still feeding ok and untroubled by his new headgear.
Hopefully, it will wear away safely in a few days.

white bryony is the creeper, I think. It’s durable and still going strong.
We are nearly in mid October and the plant is still flowering and attracting bees.

a dunnock attempts to sneak past me, serving to illustrate the furtive nature of these birds.

still present are young moorhen.
They have bred well this year and are still pestering the parent birds for food.

another young moorhen catches the warming sun on the bridge.

still the star of the show, a male kingfisher.
Anyone seen a female recently?

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Saturday, August 22nd, 2009 | Author:

up to 30 degrees during the afternoon.

up above the Mere, on the railway embankment, a young robin takes a breather.

a blackbird had similar problems last week in the heat, same place.

a young heron was on the site, poking about in the bog area, catching tiny fish and worrying the moorhen parents.

to my surprise, the heron stopped to take a prolonged drink, before continuing his hunt.

one of precious few painted lady butterflies about, despite reports of many nationwide.
On the ground of the butterfly meadow, despite all of the attractive flowers above.

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Thursday, August 06th, 2009 | Author:

a few snippets from today

the adult little grebes seem to be feeding only some of their young.
Those that can dive and feed are chased away, much like a coot would do.

There’s regular fish for those still in favour

a fleeting attack over the Mere from the sparrowhawk.
I was watching the grebes, when everything on the water scuttled away in a panic.
Then along came the predator. He failed to catch anything this time.
Record shot.

a distant view of a red kite. Others have been seen near Verulamium Park,
Gorhambury residents we believe. Record shot.

here, I have broken my own rule for photos. on the Mere.
I only post what I capture on site, but to do justice to red kites
have included a ‘real’ image taken by myself in Wales,
just to show what is circling above our heads!
Always look up when you are meandering about, don’t tread on anything nasty. . . .

two shots of a gatekeeper butterfly

what I first took to be a muntjac in the Pyghtle area.
My reference book informs me it is a female roe deer, which does not have antlers.
Both sexes of muntjac are horned to a greater or lesser extent.

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Friday, July 31st, 2009 | Author:


just popped in as I was passing.
To my surprise spotted two adult little grebes, plus their 5 chicks.
(my best estimate)
There have been adults here for the last two winters, first a solitary grebe, last winter two grebes, now chicks.

Also present, 2 mute swan, plus 6 cygnets.

a chiffchaff, fleetingly captured amongst the leaves, hence the green hue to the picture.

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Saturday, July 04th, 2009 | Author:

lovely butterflies these.

I really like the fact that commas are so well adapted for camouflage,
yet are such a dazzling insect when they spread their wings.

01.07.09 – 02.07.09

a speckled wood.

a young dunnock seems overcome by the heat.
I know how it feels.
A similar pose that adopted when “anting”, but aimed at getting ventilation.

this coot, though a parent to 8 chicks, still collecting nest material.

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Saturday, July 04th, 2009 | Author:


sounds pleasant, but is a foul smelling algae.

We seem to get it every year, but this year it is turning nasty.
What else can you expect when temperatures reach the thirties?

I was prompted to include this as there was a BBC report on it’s dangers just today.
Basically, don’t go near it.
Jack and myself were wondering if some sort of analysis could be done, good old BBC.

It starts off green, then turns black and nasty (and smelly), the flies love it.
Also there seem to be purple bits too.

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Friday, June 26th, 2009 | Author:

it’s been a while since I posted anything, so,
spread across the last month or so, here goes.
Newest stuff first, backwards in time as we move down the page.

Summer, while popular with most people, does not afford much in the way of photo opportunities bird-wise -too many leaves!

Hence some of the other creatures included here.

a nuthatch popped up for just a brief appearance in front of the hide.
So brief, that this was my one and only shot, as he left.

a heron flies in for a bit of easy poaching, moorhen and coot chicks in mind, no doubt.
Instead however, he flew into a territorial fight with another heron.
Lots of squawking ensued.
Hard to photograph in the trees.

the ever cheerful coot.
Just after a huge territorial bust up with a moorhen, he/ she started gathering nest material.
Odd, considering the 2 adults on the Mere have 8 chicks of all sizes at present.
Here is a youngster helping mum, or dad.

just managed to catch this shy great spotted woodpecker.
Hard to get a clear shot amongst the ropes and pulleys.
Think it’s a female.

a broad bodied chaser.
Handsome isn’t she?
I think its a female, males are blue according to the reference books.

one of those tiny blue things we see zooming about all of the time,
a blue tailed damselfly.
Still for just one moment here.

on a day devoid of birds, I found this fellow.
Call him Clint, as I don’t know his name!

a nice view of a dunnock’s tongue.

lovely colours on a male gadwall, he didn’t stay long I gather.

a large white butterfly, nice background, cannot remember exactly what it was.

a lovely orange tip, they rarely settle it seems to me.
Try to photograph one and you’ll see!
If only the sun was out along with the insects


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Sunday, February 15th, 2009 | Author:

snowdrops that is.

here is a picture taken before the recent snowfall.

I looked at the spot where the snowdrops stood during the snow, and all there was to see, was . .
. . snow, indeed, they must have been squashed by the weight.

Once the snow had cleared, what do we see?
You guessed it, snowdrops, seemingly little troubled by the conditions.

caught the song thrush again, so nice to see, and hear of course.

recently blue tits have been showing signs of interest in the nestboxes, I backed away from them to avoid interrupting them at this critical point in their year.

showing well, a blackbird

a robin, always charming, picking up seeds under the feeders.

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Saturday, February 07th, 2009 | Author:

after many months of searching, several sightings and much frustation, we finally have pics of the elusive water rail.

Water rail have been seen for at least the last 3 winters,
by almost everybody but me, it seemed.
I only saw him for the first time late last year.

Today, there were many encounters, here are the results.
The best ones are those that got away -and I did miss some great chances. All due to the secretive nature of this bird.

If you ever see one, you may notice the rail barely out of cover for more than a few seconds, then it’s gone again,
-perhaps best illustrated by the last picture in the series.

I also have a suspicion that two rail are present on site,
that make take quite a while to confirm.

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Wednesday, February 04th, 2009 | Author:

it’s the reed buntings, who were first spotted last year, 23.03.08
-today I saw two, but photographed one.
They may have been here all year long,
-but if they were, I didn’t see them . . .

there was a “fly over”, of perhaps 10 redwing.
Elusive, noisy, shy and fast, they remain a difficult bird to “capture”.
This one was 100 yards along the railway track from the Mere, after the fly over,
-so it’s one for this site as far as I’m concerned.

always worth including, the ever obliging blue tit

the lovely, elusive, ever-on-the-move, long tailed tit

two shots of what currently, seems to be our resident song thrush,
-on this misty morning, pointed out to me by Jack.

a young mute swan

mallard may be common, but they always look full of character,
-this female looks a bit threatening.


mallard, included here purely because I quite like the pic;
-they had their eye on me and soon made off.

little grebe, snapped way after the pair had been spotted.
Looking eerily atmospheric in the mist.

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