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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Owen's Wildlife 2024 (1 Viewer)

That’s a good uni to choose for birdwatching. My first time at both. My first time on ynys mon for a good few years. Loved them though. I’d like to give south stack a proper look for flowers and insects and I loved the tern colony

Just had a pair of Manx shearwater from the ferry for 233

Yes, I spent probably more time than I should walking in the mountains and birdwatching rather than studying ;)
 
Back from our brief Irish city break via the ospreys on the dyfi in mid wales. Great to hear how well the species is doing in wales with multiple nests being set up around the country.

As always at the site tons of common lizards.

237 osprey
7 common lizard


Birds 237 Mammals 16 Herp 7 Butterflies 26 Total 286 Lifers 14
 
A lot of walking today hoping for new butterflies for the year. Saw quite a few species but nothing new. Did manage to flush probably the easiest bird I hadn’t seen so far when I almost stepped on a green woodpecker. Can’t believe it’s taken until
June

238. Green woodpecker

Birds 238 Mammals 16 Herp 7 Butterflies 26 Total 287 Lifers 14
 
Was a little worried i’d missed one of my favourite butterflies so paid a post work visit to the Forest of Dean for wood white

Still a handful around and still patrolling determinedly whenever the sun shone. Their flight is unmistakable. Eventually after about 50 minutes of following them one finally settled in range

So lucky to have them nearby one of my absolute favourites.

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27. Wood white

Birds 238 Mammals 16 Herp 7 Butterflies 27 Total 288 Lifers 14
 
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June 6th

I'd been toying with visiting the daneway banks Large Blues but a pair of great birds very close to each other in somerset made me change plans and go to Collard Hill instead.

First stop was Shapwick heath for my first British Gull Billed Tern. Walking from the car park everyone assured me it was still present and very easy but I was a little worried when I got to the hide and found it empty. Was very easy to find preening on a stone. As the hide filled up it eventually started feeding around the lake with a couple of very close flybys. A few hobbys and a brief Bearded tit were nice to see but any time you get to concentrate on a single tern in the air is hard to beat, as the sun improved it looked better and better.

Collard Hill had some nice Yellow Shells, a lot of Meadow Browns and a few small heath but I had to get to the furthest sections before I saw any Large Blue and wait even longer before I found one that didn't keep flying further and further away or sit facing away from me. Some nice bins flight views of the wing patterns and eventually some nice underside views. Still don't have an upperwing photo.

The way home brought a stop at Tealham for the American Golden Plover. I misjudged how close the bird would be and left my scope in the car but the assembled birders were incredibly friendly and generous with lending me scope views. An absolutely gorgeous summer plumage bird. Had a very close bird last year but in much less striking plumage. Distance and heat haze didnt help with photos but watching it in the sunlight was incredible.

a very succesfull day and back with time to spare for the school run.

239 Gull Billed Tern (british tick)
240 American Golden Plover
28 Meadow Brown
29 Large Blue +

Birds 240 Mammals 16 Herp 7 Butterflies 29 Total 292 Lifers 14

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Two weeks ago I had a go for scarce blue tail Damsels and some guys I met there told me to try Lower moor farm in the Cotswold water park for downy emerald. The trouble is with insects a fortnight is a very long time

As soon as I got there I met a great pair of old guys who told me they had pretty much finished for the year. Decided to give it a go anyway and had a very enjoyable few hours general nature stuff. Lesser whitethroat, common lizard a few new plants and bugs and some good photos of large red eyed damsels.

Bins views of a couple of probable downy emeralds out over the lake and then finally a definite on my way back to the car. Nothing close to a photo though.

Ebird turned up some nearby red crested Pochards at a typically cryptic Cotswold water park lake. I can never get to grips with access to the various ponds but I eventually found a lay-by and found a way in across some wasteground. Nice views of a group of cat c ducks and my first actual view of a cuckoo this year after 8 heard onlies

Home via some corn buntings at marshfield when someone found a turtle dove near to home. Enjoyable catching up with some local birders but no sign of the dove by anyone but the original finder. Still a long but very enjoyable day. Not looked at photos yet.

241 red crested pochard
242 cuckoo
243 corn bunting

Birds 243 Mammals 16 Herp 7 Butterflies 29 Total 295 Lifers 14
 
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Enjoyable visit this afternoon to WWT Llanelli to see the two (swedish ringed) Caspian Terns that have been hanging around the Loughor Estuary since last weekend (when I dipped the first one by about 3 minutes)

My first Caspian was at the same site from the same hide a few years back and it was great to watch two together at quite close range. Nice flybys by one of them as well.

I set myself a target of 500 birds this year and its nice to be closing in on half way

244 Caspian Tern

Birds 244 Mammals 16 Herp 7 Butterflies 29 Total 296 Lifers 14

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Sunny but very windy and not that warm. An hour or so around the Alun Valley provided aboslutely no evidence of large Fritillaries. Will have to go back some time soon but I did find one sheltered gulley that had a new Wasp for me and my first Large Skippers and Small Pearl Bordered Fritillaries of the year. Will probably see loads of skippers but thats likely to be my only Small Pearl Bordered unless any are hanging on when I go back for the big guys.

30 Large Skipper
31 Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary

Birds 244 Mammals 16 Herp 7 Butterflies 31 Total 298 Lifers 14

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June 19th

After springwatch my mum wanted to see Nightjar so we signed up for the RSPB gloucestershire night walk at Cannop Ponds. I've done it a few times before as its often led by an ex-pupil and it's near work although it hasn't always actually worked out for nightjar.

It started at half 8 but as I said it's near work so I got there about half three and did a bunch of wandering around first. Had an absolutely magical encounter with a family group of boar, I went a few meters off the path in the direction of some snuffling and then stood and waited. Bracken was above my waist so the boar were largely concealed but you could work out where they were from the disturbance and catch glimpses between vegetation. I got a snort whenever I took a step closer and after about 5 minutes the adult led a bunch of juveniles off in a line. By pointing at a relatively sparse piece of bracken I got some photo evidence of the presence of brown smudges but that didnt stop it being a great experience. Glimpsed another one crossing a path at distance later and then had one snort very close and walk across about 10m in front of us but it was very dark by that final encounter. Throw in rabbit, squirrel, Roe and four bat species and it was a good mammal day.

Amazing close views of Dipper including a begging but full size juvenile, firecrest and double figures of roding woodcock for my british year list (saw both in Estonia) and a lengthy aural encounter with a begging tawny owl juvenile and eventual shadowy flight views. No nightjar though apart from one brief and distant churr. Finished the night off with 7 glow worms which like the general experience of night time in the forest were great.

In my earlier solo wandering I'd tried a few of the clear fells we visited and felt the regrowth was too high, I'm in dorset tomorrow night so might try there or back in the valleys next week sometime.

245 Tawny Owl
17 Pipistrelle
18 soprano pipistrelle
19 noctule
20 daubentons bat

Birds 245 Mammals 20 Herp 7 Butterflies 31 Total 303 Lifers 14

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Down in Dorset for two days although I think I’ll probably be venturing into Hampshire tomorrow.

Didnt get off especially speedily but still managed to fit a lot in. Little terns at ferrybridge were numerous but largely lost in heat haze. Church ope brought wall lizard and my first small skippers of the year. It’s a lovely spot and seems to have grown back from a real cutback last year but butterflies are much thinner on the ground there than five years or so back.

No sign of little owl at Portland but lots and lots of marbled white. They don’t really make it as far west as us and they are of course gorgeous.

A brief sea watch was well timed for a small group of Balearic shearwater.

The original plan had been arne this evening for nightjar and then looking for sand lizard tomorrow morning but I thought I might as well have a look this afternoon. Went to a lovely heathland reserve where I’d been told they were relatively easy. No sign in about 30 minutes at the designated spot so wandered out onto the Heath. Some cool sun dews and tons and tons of silver studded blues. Lovely ones to see and like marbled white not one we get at home.

Despite it clouding over I thought I’d give the lizard spot another go and was rewarded with a very patient common lizard that didn’t mind close views and a briefer but still amazing view of a glowing green sand lizard.

The final U.K. reptile I’d not seen (barring sea turtles and some weird escape species) and with a couple of slow worms earlier on Portland it made a 4 lizard day.

Weather looks a bit dodgy for nightjars so might just get a curry instead but tomorrow looks good for a few more southern specialties.

246 little tern
247 Balearic shearwater
8 wall lizard
9 sand lizard
32 small skipper
33 marbled white
34 silver studded blue


Birds 247 Mammals 20 Herp 9 Butterflies 34 Total 310 Lifers 15

Phone photos only for now
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After a very enjoyable thai meal I decided to try a few nightjar sites. A nice walk around the Heath became less enjoyable and less likely to succeed once some light rain started so I switched to driving very slowly around the Heath lanes. Lots of deer and rabbits and eventually a few 100m from the Arne rspb car park a male nightjar flying in loops around my car maybe attracted to the headlights.

A car coming up behind me meant I had to drive on in the end and parked up as soon as I could. Constant churring from all directions but the rain picked up again before I had any more visuals. Great to see one very close though when there was still a little light.

248 nightjar +
21 sika deer +

Birds 248 Mammals 21 Herp 9 Butterflies 34 Total 310 Lifers 15

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My two main targets for the day were decent photos of Lulworth Skipper, one of 5 british species I didn't have a photo of, and ticking Southern Damselfly (Mercury Bluet outside places where southern means hampshire).

I was keeping an eye on the Roseatte Terns at Normandy marsh but they hadn't been reported for a few days (did get posted again yesterday evening) so decided to go in the opposite direction and add a bit of history to the experience by going to Lulworth itself for Lulworth Skipper. A bit of a climb to the Bindon Hill iron age fort overlooking the cove but when I was up there i was very pleased I'd made the trip. It was windy and a bit cloudy but as soon as I got into a few sheltered gullies I came across loads of the skippers and got tuned into what made them different. An absolutely gorgeous location and yellowhammers and a single Adonis Blue were a great supporting cast.

A suprisingly slow, maybe not to any locals, drive up into the New Forest and the Crockford Stream site that birdforum had given me gen on. An enjoyable walk from a nearby carpark and then a rather muddy stomp that came from following the what three words directions a bit too slavishly (the walk out was a lot more sensible) and I reached a small series of pools and shallow chalk streams. Loads of odonata of various species and Southern Damselfly was probably the most common. Good to focus on the giveaway viking helmet/mercury symbol, I'm going viking helmet even if vikings never wore them as I don't know my alchemy.

Nothing was showing on birdguides so tried a nearby enclosure that had woodlark on ebird, an enjoyable walk but no sign of woodlark at what was quite a busy stretch of the forest.

A very enjoyable trip South, great to finally finish all of britains native reptiles and to visit Lulworth. Not sure how many dragons and damsels are left, that might be next years quest.

35 Lulworth Skipper + phototick
36 Adonis Blue

Birds 248 Mammals 21 Herp 9 Butterflies 36 Total 312 Lifers 15
 
Popped to cannop ponds after work as it had been a baking day and I’d seen reports of white admirals elsewhere. No admirals or fritillaries bit a lovely walk around the forest and fresh Ringlets were the most common butterfly.

37 ringlet
boc shot
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Birds 248 Mammals 21 Herp 9 Butterflies 37 Total 313 Lifers 15
 
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We're lucky enough to have one of the countries last remaining High Brown Fritillary sites about 20 minutes drive away. It also has the lookalike Dark Green Fritillary. A butterfly far too beautiful and cool to be relegated to being a distraction from the rarer one but that is usually how it is treated there.

Not today though because Fritillary numbers were so low that any sightings at all were very welcome. Very few butterflies and almost all of them confined to one brambley gulley that cut my legs to shreds. I did eventually also find a well settled Dark Green on the windy heath. An enjoyable morning and for year listing the sightings did everything I needed but compared to a few years ago it was impossible not to think that numbers of a very vulnerable species were well down.

Top 2 Dark Green bottom 2 High Brown

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38 High Brown Fritillary
39 Dark Green Fritillary

Birds 248 Mammals 21 Herp 9 Butterflies 39 Total 317 Lifers 15
 
Back in post 1 I said that one of my main targets this year was a photo of white admiral. They aren't a common butterfly in Wales but I have seen quite a few but generally bombing around at head height or higher. Been ages since I had one settled.

Today I managed to find a very sheltered part of an otherwise very blowy wood and had great views of four or five of them. Still not many sitting with wings open facing me but I think the gorgeous underside is probably the highlight anyway. I might be wrong but I think it just leaves Northern Brown Argus as the only british butterfly i've not photographed.

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40 White Admiral phototick

Birds 248 Mammals 21 Herp 9 Butterflies 40 Total 317 Lifers 15
 

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