Monday, July 28, 2014

Back In Port!

Another week out exploring the canals in some glorious weather and I even managed to complete a circuit of Draycote Water on Tuesday in the company of Bob Hazell, that's on foot of course, not on the boat! The walk itself failed to produce anything out of the ordinary, although a decent count of (5) Little Egret, (8) Common Tern, (7) Common Sandpiper, (9) Yellow-legged Gull, (2) Grey Wagtail and a single Ringed Plover made for a pleasant day in excellent company.

Grass Snake
One of my nemesis species in front of the camera!
However, I must start with the previous Sundays walk with Dee along the towpath towards Braunston when I managed to take my best ever photo of a Grass Snake. One of my nemesis species as far as photography goes but I couldn't believe my luck when one was basking at eye level atop the hawthorn.

Iridium Flare passing through Cassiopeia - My 1st ever attempt!
With some glorious starry nights I managed to immerse myself in one of my other hobbies, astronomy. The above image is my first ever attempt at photographing an 'Iridium Flare', this is the phenomenon caused by the reflective surfaces on satellites (such as antennas or solar panels) reflecting sunlight directly onto the Earth below and appearing as a brief, bright "flare". There's a fantastic App for the Ipad which actually predicts when one will appear and then by holding up the Ipad shows the exact spot in the sky!

Harvest in full swing - this time the Rapeseed
With the harvest in full swing the local birds are taking advantage with some large flocks of Jackdaws, Wood Pigeons, Linnets and Goldfinches swooping onto the fields for an easy meal. On Friday a Peregrine, a bird which I seem to see a lot of on this stretch of canal, had a go at the flock but came away empty handed. The surprise of this outing was an Osprey, which passed high moving south-west over our mooring at Flecknoe on Saturday evening as Dee an I sat sky-watching. Other species of note: Daubenton's BatHare, Common Sandpiper, Curlew (heard only),Sparrowhawk, BuzzardGrey Partridge, Red-legged Partridge, Barn Owl, Tawny Owl and Yellow Wagtails, the latter of which are becoming more prevalent as we approach Autumn.

Brown Hawker Dragonfly - Canon SX50 HS Powershot
Finally the Butterflies, Dragonflies and Damselflies are too numerous to mention, what a stunning year these are having but amazingly the above image of a Brown Hawker is my first decent attempt at this species.