Sunday, 28 June 2015

A Vulcan and a Chaser

I am the god of hell fire,
And I bring you Fire
Lyrics by Arthur Brown

27th June.  We completed the walk from St Mary’s Island to Holywell Pond today and were thankful for a cooling breeze along the cliffs such was the heat of the day.

Birds were generally scarce, although we found a singing Garden Warbler, Blackcaps, Common Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs along the way and we ended up with a day list in the mid fifties.  It was a flying machine in the form of the Vulcan Bomber that stole the show however and although it was a good way out over the sea when it passed Seaton Sluice on its way to Scotland we had a good sighting through binoculars and telescope.  Sadly the couple stood nearby us on the headland hadn’t even realised that the Vulcan had passed!  The Vulcan Bomber was of course part of our defence system during the Cold War years and this one, the last one still flying over the UK is soon to be grounded later this year.  I’m afraid on this occasion the fourteen Common Scoters flying past were greatly over shadowed by the Vulcan.

Although the Vulcan clearly took the sighting of the day award, it was closely followed in second place not by a bird, but an insect in the form of a Broad Bodied Chaser.  Sam initially got his eye on a dragonfly as we walked inland from Seaton Sluice.  We worked out quickly what it was and watched it at length as it perched for periods before taking to fast flight up and down the area before returning to rest again.  Fully aware of our presence there was no way it was going to give us the opportunity of a close macro image so we took the opportunity when we could to take a record image from a distance.  Despite our failure to be rewarded with a macro image we enjoyed watching this insect at length before deciding to move on.  Despite the sun there was little other odonata species in the area apart from Common Blue and Blue tailed Damselflies.  A calling Common Sandpiper was heard by Sam.

Broad Bodied Chaser Dragonfly

 Butterfly species sightings where today a little more numerous with Small White, Large White, Large Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Speckled Wood (the most numerous), an early Meadow Brown and Ringlet Butterflies all making an appearance.

Our lack of bird sightings ensured we had plenty of time for chatting and catching up on recent experiences.  At Holywell pond we even resorted to checking back over two years at some of our self found birds which have included Black Winged Pratincole, Great White Egret, Marsh Harrier, Woodcocks over the pond, Green Sandpipers, Greenshanks, Little Ringed Plovers et al.  Nothing like that today though so we settled for the flock of Lapwings, Grey Heron, Little Grebes and the other usual pond birds.

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