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Sunday, 27 April 2014

Adders in the fells!

After posting a few blogs from my recent holiday to the Caribbean,I`ll move closer to home now with an account of a lovely morning up in the lancashire fells.The weather was given to be good with plenty of sunshine which persuaded me to venture out, in the hope of locating our only venomous snake the Adder.Its about this time of year that they start to eme
rge from their hibernation dens.They are also ready to mate at this time of year, so on a warm day there is usually plenty of activity.The youngsters are born in Aug/Sept about the size of an earthworm,so are always likely to be predated by birds of prey and even pheasants!The Adders are masters of camouflage amongst the bracken so you have to be careful where you walk.A bite from one of these can be really painful,causing swelling and a lot of discomfort.There hasn`t been any fatalities from Adder bites in the last 20 yrs,but you do have to take care.I was wearing some strong leather wellingtons just in case! The day started off quite cold for me,so I spent a few hrs trying to get a few images of the brown hares which frquent the moors,there were a few about, but albeit rather distant.As soon as the suns warming rays were felt,I headed to a known spot where I`d previously found Adders before.I searched the hillside bracken keeping out a wary eye and it wasn`t too long before I found a group of 5 Adders all catching the warm sun! With it being early Spring,they are easily approached,unlike summer when they tend to bolt into the undergrowth at the sound of footsteps.I managed to capture a few images of the Adders,then left them to go on with their morning rituals.They seemed to be in the early stages of mating,as one or two were intertwining.I`m sure there were 3 males and 2 females present in the group so hopefully they`ll add to the population.This is one of only 2 sites in Lancashire were Adders are known to inhabit,so they are not at all common.I hope you enjoy the images below, and will catch up with you soon with more tales of nature from the surrounding countryside!!!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Grand Turk (turks & caicos islands)

Killdeer.This wader is similar to our ringed plover that we have in the british isles.Its about 15% larger with a longer bill and strikingly longer tail.Noticeable are the 2 black chest rings.Last year one of these birds dropped into a local wetland causing much excitement amongst the birdwatchers.Its call includes the classic `kill-dee` whence its name derives.A lovely bird to observe with quite a few being present.

Very approachable with the camera!

Blue heron were also quite accomodating.

Iwas surprised to find this Whimbrel amongst the scrub by the lagoon,good numbers are migrating north through the country as I type this blog now.Lancashire was always a good stop off  point for the birds to refuell.The river ribble nr to brockholes nature reserve was a favoured area.

An American Kestrel rests atop a telegraph post.Plenty of insects were available for it to feed on!

The northern mocking bird is similar in size to our blackbird.Its babbling song contains much mimicry and was a constant sound to be heard on the island.

This brief view of a warbler turned out to be a prairie warbler,very common in southern america!Almost in full breeding plummage.There wasn`t too many birds to be seen really on my walk around,but I think that was due to the time of day.Early morning would surely produce many more species.

Well another sunset to finish off the day.always totally relaxing to watch the last embers die down!!!

Tortola (caribbean)

So a few days later we were on another island for the day.It was time to spend an afternoon on the beach.Whilst my wife sunbathed,I went for a short stroll were there seemed to be some bird activity.The brown boobies were diving for fish,so a pleasant hour was spent trying to capture some of the action

It was difficult trying to keep the focus locked on the birds,as they came down like exocet missiles.

A royal tern was joining in the action,trying to catch some food!

At the back of the beach was a small saltmarsh lagoon were this Lesser yellowlegs was feeding.

Back on board ship,I spotted this magnificent frigate bird with wing tag attached.When I returned home,I recearched the internet about the scheme and sent off an e mail with attached photo.A day later I received a reply from the person who actually tagged the bird,telling me that it was a 3 yr old female which she had tagged on a neighbouring island as a chick.These birds wander far and wide so she was pleasantly surprised it was still in the vicinity!

As ever another stunning sunset to savour.I never get tired of watching the sun go down in the Caribbean seas! Again thanks for dropping by and looking in,and I`ll post more images from the caribbean shortly.