Forgive Me Father

It’s been over a month since my last blog post. In all honesty I’ve just not been bothered by birding of late and even only the second County Glossy Ibis couldn’t tempt me out.

Today however a Twitter message as I finished work alerted me to a County first… a Pied-billed Grebe at Rutland Water. Well, it’d be rude not to. A quick dash along the A47 and I was soon enjoying a summer-plumaged adult. Get in!

After a few minutes watching it was time to get out the excellent Phone Skope iPhone adaptor marketed by Newpro. Clipping my phone in was quick and easy and there’s no way the phone is coming out once it’s in. The eyepiece ring is interchangeable depending on your chosen spotting scope. The fit on my Kowa 883 is perfect straight from the packaging. So, set up in seconds, I was getting some excellent results even at distance.

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All the images and video were taken at 60x magnification.

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Sun Arise Come Every Mornin’

Out with Minnie Mü this morning on our usual walk around Stafford Orchard when the sunrise was just stunning. Time for a few comparative shots with the iPhone4S camera apps.

First up was the camera+ app… nice but the colours are a bit cool.

Sunrise Camera+

Sunrise Camera+

Next I tried the Pro HDR app – this makes the whole scene more balanced across the tonal range but lacks the oomph of a sunrise.

Sunrise Pro HDR

Sunrise Pro HDR

Finally I used, what is becoming a bit of a favourite 645PRO. This replicates a medium format camera (though you can a range of ratios, from square to 16×7). I used the 645 ratio with V50 colour film.

Sunrise 645 PRO

Sunrise 645 PRO

To me without any editing, other than a crop, this is the best and getting the colours just right.

 

Bookshelf

Britain’s Day-Flying Moths

A field guide to the day-flying moths of Britain & Ireland

David Newland, Robert Still & Andy Swash

WildGuides/Princeton Press

ISBN 978-0-691-15832-7

Britain's Day-Flying Moths

Britain’s Day-Flying Moths

Over recent years there has been a real increase in birders becoming mothers, whist some birders may well have become mothers in the truest sense, I am putting the emphasis firmly on the last syllable… mothERS. To many, me included, moths present a huge ID challenge, indeed some are only identifiable by dissecting their genitalia – not for me. Consequently many birders give moths a miss and concentrate on butterflies and dragonflies in those lean summer months. If this is the case there is a group of moths, mostly just as colourful as the butterflies and very easily seen. These are the day-flying moths. These are often confused with butterflies by many (The Valley of Butterflies on Rhodes is in fact a site for 100000s of Jersey Tiger moths).

This handy guide follows the usual WildGuides format and allows you to identify confidently most of the insects you will encounter in the field or even the garden. A useful introduction looks at the separation of moths and butterflies before looking at moth biology; the naming of moths and their taxonomy. The introduction then focuses on identifying moths, looking at habitat and has a handy section on gardening for moths (and other insects by default).

Before the species accounts proper there is a useful glossary of terms. The species accounts themselves start with an introduction to the species family. Each moth then gets a full page with a large photograph and a small inset photo if there is a confusion species. The text guides the reader through all you need to find and identify the moth. There is a quick reference guide down the right-hand of the page with a distribution map. The photographs are universally excellent and annotated to highlight key ID features.

Speckled Yellow

Speckled Yellow

At the end of the book is a list of day-flying moths with quick references to habitat, flight season, larval food plant and conservation status. There then follows a section on conservation, legislation and recording. For those wanting to get more involved there is a section for further reading and useful websites before a comprehensive index.

Finally the inside of the rear cover has a handy life size comparisons plate of the main species families. The book also comes with a weatherproof plastic cover.

Life Size Comparisons

Life Size Comparisons

This is truly a field guide to slip into your bag or pocket and use in the field – get a copy and get ready to enjoy some moths this Spring.

John Hague

Shepshed Dynamo FC 3-1 Quorn AFC

Programme

Programme

Action from Tuesday night’s (wet and much postponed) Charnwood derby game at The Dovecote, Shepshed.

Fußball

Fußball

Corner

Corner

Liam Turner

Liam Turner

Ouch

Ouch

The Dovecote, Shepshed Dynamo

The Dovecote, Shepshed Dynamo

The Dovecote, Shepshed Dynamo

The Dovecote, Shepshed Dynamo

The Dovecote, Shepshed Dynamo

The Dovecote, Shepshed Dynamo

Lino!

Lino!

Should Have Gone To Specsavers

Should Have Gone To Specsavers

Rain

Rain

Northern Lights

Last night the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights put on a fantastic show in the UK. Social media sites such as Flickr, Facebook and twitter were filled with shots taken by people from Shetland to Kent.

I’m happy to say Leicester shared in the fantastic display. This was a photo I took from my living room at 22.00.

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Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights

Oh, hang on. No! Wait… we saw nothing.

IQ40 Club Sack UKIP Member In “Sluts” Slur

The IQ40 club have sacked UKIP identification panel member Brigadier-General Sir Henry Frightfully-Stupid after he called female Red-necked Phalaropes ‘sluts’ a twitch at High Shincliffe in Durham. The comments were recorded as a birder, who wished to remain anonymous, was videodigiscoping the Yellow-rumped Warbler. The unnamed birder immediately sent them to The Daily Fail,

UKIP

Brigadier-General Sir Henry Frightfully-Stupid at a Grouse Shoot Last Summer

Sir Henry was heard to make the remarks during a discussion about Phalarope breeding behaviour. He shouted out that the females were ‘gaudy  sluts’ and described them as sexually aggressive predators. Sir Henry, unaware his remarks were being recorded also blasted them for not returning to clean their nests but carrying on seducing men by whirling round on the water coquettishly picking midges from the surface.

An IQ40 spokesman said that Sir Henry’s comments did not represent the ‘liberal attitudes that the IQ40 Club wished to engender.’

Sir Henry refused to comment when approached and went off to Lebanon on an illegal hunting trip.

Blade Runner Birding

This morning I headed back North for another bash at the Yellow-rumped Warbler at High Shincliffe in Co. Durham. Our car consisted of Brian Moore, Dave Gray and me and we rendezvoused with John Walters, Colin Green and Steve James for a McDonalds breakfast at Markham Moor before heading North. We passed through a snow storm near Scotch Corner but otherwise things weren’t too bad and we made our destination by 08.00.

Thankfully the Yellow-rumped Warbler was on show as we arrived and despite the Baltic conditions we enjoyed it for well over an hour. It never gave itself up for photos though. Here’s a rubbishy video grab.

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Yellow-rumped Warbler… Honest!

After having our fill we headed off to RSPB Saltholme. A cracking reserve in a very Blade Runner like landscape. The reserve staff were welcoming and we soon got ourselves into the café for a coffee and in my case a sausage bun*. Out on the reserve we failed with the Green-winged Teal (and dipped it again later) but the birds and landscapes kept us entertained.

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Little Egret, RSPB Saltholme

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Middlesborough Transporter Bridge

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Industry

Our next stop was Cowpen Marsh where Greeny picked out the Tundra Bean Geese at distance. They did fly closer but dropped out of view. A Short-eared Owl was very welcome as it hunted below the tip.

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Tundra Bean Geese