Friday, July 13, 2012

Alternate Pass Time!

Large Skipper
With the appalling weather continuing, the excitement of my recent Whiskered Tern in the past and not a lot of movement on the birding front its difficult to compile a post that will excite my reader. In fact I'm missing more than I'm seeing at the moment, a sighting of Marsh Harrier at Brandon Marsh recently and more Otter sightings by my colleagues are typical examples.

Of course this time of year with the birding reasonably quiet I'm normally concentrating on Butterfly and Dragonfly movements, but as you would imagine the weather is having a devastating effect on species populations. Having said that a rare opportunity did presented itself last Tuesday at Brandon and I did manage a small array of Butterflies with Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Common Blue, Small and Large Skipper all being recorded. I'd unfortunately missed a couple of Little Egrets on East Marsh Pool early morning but a Greenshank, Ringed Plover, two Little-ringed Plovers and Hobby sort of made up for it! It was also a pleasant surprise when 9 Shelduck overflew the reserve around mid-morning, possibly a family party but there was no sign of them dropping in anywhere

♀Southern Hawker
Thursday until around mid afternoon was probably the best break of weather for many weeks and although work took precedent at Brandon Marsh it was noticeable that a far greater number of Dragonflies were on the wing. I managed Emperor, Ruddy Darter, Black-tailed Skimmer and Southern Hawker, the only bird of note was a lone Green Sandpiper on Wigeon Bank. *I did intend to clear some of the vegetation to the front of Carlton Hide but didn't have the heart when I found at least 8 photogrphers (lenses poking out of the slats) being entertained by a young Kingfisher. How the bird put up with the constant shutter noise I'll never know!!

The Amazing Red Arrows!!
With things a little slow I took the opportunity to concentrate on another passion of mine aviation, and Dee and I had a terrific day at RAF Fairford on the 7th enjoying the Royal International Air Tattoo. Dee had originally booked when we learnt that the only Lockheed Super Constellation in Europe, and indeed one of only three in the world flying, would be appearing for the first time in the UK in over eight years. Sadly a few weeks prior to the show the Connie blew number two engine and was withdrawn.

Mig-29A Fulcrum
However, despite the weather the line up was exceptional with the first display of the Avro Vulcan (Vulcan to the Sky) after it too had recently damaged engines. Also worth a mention and a real favourite of mine was the amazing Mig-29 Fulcrum of the Polish Airforce and some astonishing aerobatics from the Korean Black Eagles, the Swiss Patrouille, The Royal Jordanian Falcons and of course the amazing Red Arrows!