Many thanks to Trevor and Angie Tonry for showing us this pair of Marsh Fritillary today in the Upper Fowey Valley, Cornwall. This is a declining species and the south-west now contains about one fifth of the total national population. The butterfly is single brooded and can be seen on the wing in May and June.
Monday 31 May 2010
Thursday 27 May 2010
Monday 24 May 2010
Today the obliging Squacco Heron performed well in the early morning light. Less intensity meant that the exposure was easier to control and I am now happier with these images!
Below is John Chapple's video as shown on his Youtube channel.
View Squacco Heron at Sowlands, Par in a larger map
Posted by swopticsphoto at 22:56
Sunday 23 May 2010
Cornwall's seventh Squacco Heron was found on Sat 22nd May by Bob Davey at Snowlands Fishponds at Par. The previous record was in 2004 at Gorran Haven and all seven records of the modern era have occurred in Spring. (There is an old record from 1907).
Given how close this individual was, I found it extremely difficult to photo. The sun was exceptionally strong and guaging exposure was a real challenge. I will have another look tomorrow at a different time of the day and in a different light.
Friday 21 May 2010
An adult female Asiatic Brown Shrike was found yesterday on the cycle path about 300 yards west of the coast guard houses, favouring the seaward side of the path on the gorse. Always remaining distant, it did give prolonged views as it fed right up to dusk. It was found by local birder Mark Warren late afternoon. Depending on your own thoughts on the much-debated Lizard bird last Autumn, this amazing Spring find will probably take the official First Record for the county. Sadly the Lizard individual never really gave itself up to confirm its' identity. The Land's End female displayed well, and whilst distant for photography, did show all the important id features. 20 minutes from dusk, when most birders had departed, it fanned its' tail for a couple minutes to show the important short outer tail feather. Regarding the conditions leading up to its occurrence here, one can only really wonder where it has actually come from. The local weather conditions had just changed to an easterly airflow following a day of mist and rain. From memory, there are less than ten records in the UK and this is the first Spring record.
Wednesday 19 May 2010
We spent the final day around Cape Kournikatis and a pool near Ercan airport. Photographic highlights included two trip ticks shown below as well as a stunning Wood Warbler, allowing approach to 15 feet. Birding highlights included four flycatchers in the same hedge: Semi-collared, Pied, Spotted and two male Collareds. Nice. And a stone's throw from them was male Golden Oriole, 15 Ortolans, male Cretzschmar's, four Serins and 200+ Bee-eaters. Even nicer, and all this on a bonus day because of a volcano.
The image below has just caught the bill crushing an insect with the resulting guts exploding upwards. I normally crop around 15 to 25% but this shot has been cropped 40% to show this a bit more clearly.
Left side view showing the complete all-white outer tail feather, white semi-collar, white tips to the lesser coverts (second wing bar) and white tips to the base of the primaries.
Yellow Wagtail of the race superciliaris. This striking race originates from S E Russia and was the only one we saw on this trip.
This is the end of the North Cyprus blog and I hope you have found the posts interesting. It seems like I am showing friends all those boring post-holiday images but presumably as birders, there is some appreciation. We saw 160 species in two weeks and I managed to photo most of the important ones. The two that got away were the Isabelline Shrike and aquilla eagle. I took around 7000 shots, 200 of which I am very pleased with. Adult male Barred Warbler with a nice yellow eye was on my wish list and was duly delivered!
As previously mentioned, I was hoping to do a live feed straight on to the blog but sadly the internet connection was surprisingly poor in Cyprus. As we were in the Turkish quarter, the price of connection is prohibitive at £1.68 per minute plus big charges for the image upload. Maybe next time.
Now why can't the Icelandics give us a real volcano and we could have stayed longer?
Posted by swopticsphoto at 20:23
Tuesday 18 May 2010
Sunday 16 May 2010
This long distance shot of the long-staying Woodchat Shrike at Skewjack was taken on Saturday. The bird can be aged as a first summer by the brownish cast to the primaries and grey areas in the mantle. A full adult would show a black mantle and black primaries.
Tuesday 11 May 2010
This post is the continuation of a daily blog on a recent two week trip to Cyprus. I would have posted this earlier but if anyone has noticed, it has also been just a little bit busy in Cornwall this last couple weeks! The photographic highlights today include some harriers. The male Montagu's Harrier is in fact my first male for the island. I cannot recall such a perfect and delightful bird as this. Pallid Harriers easily outnumber Monty's.
I have placed two males alongside each other here and the differences, whilst subtle, become quite obvious with practice. The ringtails below also show obvious boa's and dark secondaries with limited pale barring (in the secondaries).