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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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Sunday, July 19th, 2009 | Author:

Here are David’s sightings for June.

‘I have recorded how many times I’ve seen each species. So in e.g. 6/6 means I saw a particular species six times in each of my six visits. In brackets I put down the maximum number of a species I saw together at once’.

Little grebe 4/4 (2)
Grey heron 2/4 (2)
Mallard 3/4
Moorhen 3/4 (2)
Coot 4/4 (9)
Stock dove 1/4 (1)
Woodpigeon 4/4 (4)
Collared dove 4/4 (2)
Swift 3/4 (6)
Kingfisher 1/4 (1)
Great spotted Woodpecker 4/4 (2)
Wren 3/4 (1)
Dunnock 1/4 (1)
Robin 3/4 (2)
Song thrush 3/4 (1)
Blackbird 4/4(3)
Chiffchaff 4/4 (1)
Great tit 4/4 (2)
Blue tit 4/4(3)
Magpie 3/4 (12)
Jay 1/4/(1)
Jackdaw 4/4 (13)
Starling 4/4 (16)
House sparrow 4/4 (5)
Chaffinch 4/4 (3)
Goldfinch 3/4 (2)
Greenfinch 3/4 (5)
Bullfinch 3/4 (2)
Month total species

He saw a female Tufted Duck on the mere on Saturday 18th July morning (about 8 am). Though not a rarity, he had not seen one down here before

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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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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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Saturday, May 09th, 2009 | Author:

Sheila tells me this is the first (only?) Gadwall seen at the reserve for 18 years! This is a male, which unfortunately flew off shortly afterwards.

There were five Moorhen chicks out and about. They look pretty ugly if you ask me – little balls of black fuzz with a bald head and stubby bald winglets.

This Magpie was admiring his reflection in the new pond.

And finally a snail – Arianta arbustorum if my ‘looking things up on the web’ skills are not mistaken!

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Thursday, April 30th, 2009 | Author:


The sightings board is revealing lots of Spring activity




Lots of bluebells and whitebells (ok, I made it up) in the shady place

moorhen chicks – (actually you don’t seem to pronounce it correctly – I pronounce it ‘myrrhhen)’ . The mother was discretely furtive with them, generally managing just to obscure them from my view (hence bad photo) 



Friday, February 20th, 2009 | Author:
There is now a ‘sightings’ board in
the bird hide so interested parties
can see what wildlife has been
around in recent weeks. Any
comments will then be recorded
into a sightings book. Sorry it is
such a poor photo – the flash
kept going off as it is so dark
in the bird hide! There is also
a small ‘sightings’ blackboard
on the outside of the hide which
doubles up as an announcement
board for events and working
party details.






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Monday, February 16th, 2009 | Author:

A balmy day at the reserve today. I can almost feel the plant life spring back up. The kingfisher was extremely accommodating – perching in the sun close to me. This is a male as the whole bill is black. A female would have a red lower bill (though juvenile males have some red on the lower bill).

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