Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Frustrating Times!

Sooty Copper (New to our list for France)
I can’t tell you how frustrating the past few weeks have been not being able to get out at Brandon or my local patch! Apparently I’ve damaged my femoral nerve quite badly and the prognosis for recovery is anything from one month to three. So I suppose I’d better get used to it!

Anyway I’m trying hard to make the best of things and Dee and I took the boat out at the weekend along our favourite stretch of the Oxford Canal for a change of scenery. Butterflies were out in good numbers with more Large Whites about than of late and several Peacock were also on the wing. I did manage a few sortie’s up the towpath, although not very far, and had a decent count which included Small Copper, Common Blue, Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Red Admiral.

Sedge Warbler
A large flock of Goldfinch entertained us all weekend, around 30 or so, which were constantly coming and going into the Weeping Willow Tree we were moored under. In the reeds opposite a very busy Sedge Warbler was constantly feeding her brood. Yellowhammers were as prolific as normal and a pair of Raven seemed to be regular in the area too. I’m unsure whether it’s the painkiller drugs or not but a Quail heard several times in distant fields remained unseen and a mystery?

The past few weeks have also given me an opportunity to identify a number of the Butterflies Dee photographed in France. Thanks to Fred Stokes for his help on this one and it appears we’ve now added two new species to our French list with Sooty Copper and Knapweed Fritillary.

Young Tufty @ Wigram's
Common Terns are beginning to pass through the marina on a more regular basis now as we head towards the autumn. Buzzards have had a great summer locally with seven seen in thermals from the window as I write this post. The unusual sight of a family of six Tufted Ducks, accompanied by a not so vigil parent, which have now been on the marina waters for the past 10-days and are becoming quite daring and even competing for food with the local hybrids! A very vocal Barn Owl has been quartering the surrounding fields more recently and Dee and I got some good silhouetted images as it passed over the mooring at dusk the other evening.

It's seems that the word is out that Napton churchyard is a great place to see Spotted Flycatchers once again. Several visitors to the area have emailed or texed me to confirm this. Hopefully and god willing I’ll make that short trip soon!