Baby Booming at ANR

I joined other birdwatchers this morning at Attenborough Nature Reserve to check on the great crested grebe family that I first became aware of on Saturday.

A second chick has hatched and both are clearly being well looked after. I expect that if and when the third egg hatches they will move to a less exposed position.

Walking back to the car park along the main path and studying the verges on both sides I caught sight of a couple of baby whitethroat on some bare branches (first image). Over the next few minutes I saw three of these little beauties and managed to get some delightful portraits. Particularly pleasing is the way a triangle of branches frames the birds in the first and last images. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. 🙂

All creatures great and small (at ANR)

First something great. Great news that this pair of great crested grebe have successfully hatched their first egg. Top left the sitting bird is feeding the baby a feather which is believed to help pellet formation of indigestible matter. In the bottom image the chick is being fed with a suitably small fish.

At the other end of the scale I had to tread carefully to avoid these tiny froglets as I was walking along the paths.

It makes a real change to see a wader of any kind in the ridge and furrow field designed to attract them. These are rather distant views of a green sandpiper which I am informed is nesting nearby. In the left hand image I was pleased to spot some purple loosestrife beginning to colour up. It is a common sight on shallow, sandy islands and brings back pleasant memories of the nature reserves I have visited over the years.

After many a try I was pleased to get a reasonable shot of a common tern in flight.

Also view these and further images on Twitter hashtag #beestonbirdman

Curlicues – Twisted Birds

Just for fun I have been exploring some of the lesser used options available in my favourite photo editing program, Paintshop Pro Ultimate. Under the Distortion Effects option I chose Curlicues which gave some pleasing results. See if you can identify the birds in these examples.

A Morning at ANR

I would describe the weather on my morning walk around Attenborough Nature Reserve as breezy but bright. I saw no new birds but more than the usual number of little egrets.

Little egret showing its extraordinary yellow foot and a lesser black backed gull, also with yellow footwear, which distinguishes it from its great cousin.

Mute swan cygnets growing well.

I am presuming these magnificent cattle have been introduced to the reserve for conservation grazing. Hopefully we might get some cattle egrets too.

Weekend Wandering at ANR

I had the opportunity to visit Attenborough Nature Reserve (ANR) twice this weekend and egrets great and small featured each time.

Great white egret doing the Hokey Kokey. “You put your left foot out, your right foot out and shake it all about …………” 🙂

This grouping shows unusual toleration of close proximity of three members of the heron family. More than once I have seen a heron driving a great white egret away from its fishing spot.

Preening those hard to get at places is easy when you have a long, flexible neck.

I saw two pairs of Egyptian goslings at very different stages of development this morning (Sun).

On a smaller scale on our early evening walk yesterday (Sat) a red admiral butterfly posed for us on some cow parsley. I have not seen many butterflies this year so it was a welcome sight. I managed to get a clear shot of a damsel fly on a grass stalk. Because it was not bright blue I assumed it was a female but an internet search makes me think it could be another damsel fly species. Click on the image to see some incredible detail. If anyone has expertise in this area please get in touch.

Wollaton Park: Part (2)

Some more spots from my visit yesterday.

Much of the lake was carpeted with these lovely water lilies. I wonder if the pair of coot chose this nesting spot for the view.

Most of the grey herons have left the heronry housed in this weeping willow tree but a few nests are still occupied.

These mute swan cygnets are taking on more of an adult shape.

There are notices at all of the park entrances warning the public not to approach the deer as it is time for the fawns to be born. Here is a red deer hind eyeing me from the golf course and a fallow deer browsing in the undergrowth.

Finally, and just for fun, can you tell what wildlife this road sign I saw on a holiday in Scandinavia is warning of?

Green is the colour ……………

My first impression visiting Wollaton Park yesterday was how green and fresh it was. The bracken was waist high and the shades of green in the woodland foliage just radiated a sense of calm exuberance.

At the West end of the lake there is a sunken area with pools, dead and fallen trees and scrub. One dead tree has numerous holes used for nesting by these rose ringed parakeets. There were at least five, maybe more.

Finally, continuing the green theme, I was intrigued by the unfurling grown of the new leaves on the bracken plants.

In the Garden

We had another visit from Henry Hedgehog this morning. I have been putting cat food out each evening and something is eating it. I put some out for him and he polished that off so I gave him another portion. I’ll have to get some more.

The left hand insect was crawling up a window (on the outside). A Twitter user identified it as Rhopalus Subrufus. It is quite rare so it doesn’t have a common name. The other insect, also identified via Twitter, is a Death’s Head Hoverfly.

I managed to get a clear shot of a hover fly in mid air and a rare visit by a damsel fly enabled me to get another mid air shot complete with shadow.

Finally our Canterbury Bells are bloomin’ bootiful. I will be posting some images from today’s walk around Wollaton Park by tomorrow morning.

Nature’s colour palette at its best

Enjoying my breakfast porridge al fresco this morning I saw a white-rumped bumble bee gathering pollen from one of our blousy poppies which I had to photograph and on our walk round ANR later on a female brimstone butterfly posed for us on a red campion flower. The male is bright yellow like sulphur. Brimstone is an archaic name for sulphur.

Before we went out for our walk a green woodpecker dropped into the garden for a feast of ants. In the video clip below it is possible to see ants crawling all over its feathers. The best way of viewing this is to go to beestonbirdman.blog. Clicking on the link in this notification email may take some time for the clip to download.

A jay flew across our path as we walked alongside the River Trent and then posed nicely on a branch for me to get several good shots.

Monday Miscellany

I’m not expecting to see a lot more of the NTU peregrine chick as he is spending more and more time away from the nest. The baby down is almost gone and this sequence (taken on Saturday 12th) shows him exercising by doing what looks like the ‘Hokey Kokey‘ – “You put your left wing out, your right wing out, in out, in out, shake it all about …………….”

The great crested grebe nest by the Visitor Centre at ANR was empty when I went on Sunday morning. I’m hoping that the chicks have hatched and are safe. Elsewhere on the reserve I saw another pair nest building which is hopeful.

I suspect this wren singing its little heart out is the same one I saw in the same area on my previous visit. I waited to see the cormorant catch a fish but it was unsuccessful.

Designed to give them a safe place to nest this new platform set up in the pond by the Visitor Centre seems to be attracting some attention from this pair of terns.

Finally, a bit of colour. These delicate harebells come up every summer through the cracks in our drive and buttercups and yellow irises make a bright splash at ANR