Bittern by the bug


Kyle Reese battling the Terminator. 

It was nearly a classic EFRS set up.  We had the bikes, we had the sun and we had the gear (more on that later!).  The only fly in the ointment (more on that later) was my slight time restriction.  It is the season of barbecues in the garden and I was required to attend.  Still, we had a solid few hours.

Cycling through the enchanted wood I spotted a heron standing sheepishly in a ditch.  I was keen to try out my new purchase.  A Sigma 170-500mm.  Unfortunately as soon as I stopped he was off across the fields.

Next stop was the bridge.  What a wonderful spot.  Andrew is in his element here.  Its an unwritten rule that we have to spend at least 10 minutes looking up and down the river.  Today we also tried for some swallows.  Sadly they were too fast and I was to much of a newbie with the lens to get much. 

Andrew got this though.

At Ham Wall we pulled up at VP2.  Immediately we were greeted with a flock of Cuckoos (3 in fact).  One of them not cuckooeing but make a softer sound.  Probably some sort of Lionel Ritchie style love ballad in cuckoo language. (Andrew - It was a Female)

We moved on to Tor Hide.  Here things really kicked off.  Look at this - A MOORHEN.  Told you it was good.

Actually something good did happen.  A Hobby zipped by a few times before making a plunge at a hapless Dragonfly.  Andrew caught the moment perfectly...

The aftermath of the Hobby attack. About 0.005 seconds to late...

Moments later it flew about 5 inches in front of the hide.  Wowing the on lookers.  What you need is a 30mm lens for birding...

Another Moorhen

The first few reasonable shots with the Sigma- Hooray!

And these were okay as well.  Its probably the best Bittern shot I have managed (no sniggering, I know its not that good).  They were all over the place.  At least 6 flights.

Andrew caught this Little Grebe which I completely missed.

Extra Heron and Gull goodness

Whilst in the hide we met two very nice fellows who had heard of us... We discussed a wide variety of topics including a cross dressing harrier. Andrew handed out our business cards and then they left (probably to radio a nearby Apache gunship with exact coordinates above our heads)

Next stop was Westhay.  Here I saw very little except for a distant Harrier (not sure if it was a cross dresser).  This critter always exists at the edge of my camera range.  Even with a 500mm.

Then one of those big ugly bug(gers) decided to bite me.  Horseflies just don't care.  They will confidently land right by you and simply walk up and give it some.  When you swat them away the just come back again .  As Kyle Reese once said in The Terminator

"It absolutely will not stop..EVER!" 

Soon my wrist had a nice red blotch on it and then the itch started (and is ongoing as I write this)

Meanwhile Andrew vanished into hedges and hides.  Here is a small selection (ahem) of
Bugs from Westhay.

Andrew - Awfully sorry about the delay guys but I've been a bit busy to what with trips to Geneva and the South of France on business but I'm back now and ready to keep you all up to speed. Unfortunately I haven't bought my Ladybird book of creepy crawly things yet so no names.

Yes indeed while I left James to play with his 3 foot drain pipe and grandad's glasses gaffa taped together (If it's not white and have an 'L' in the name it's not a real lens :¬P ) I was pointing things downward and looking at the world through the lens of a Gynecologist. It's scary down there as I'm sure you all know. If your a birding purest I'm sure this is all a bit boring. Should we start a separate section for the bugs? Tell us :¬)

This was in the Hide at Westhey

So was this

And this

Then out along the drove. You don't have to go far at all. I set it all up before we started cycling down London Drove but soon realised cycling and macro photography really don't go together!

Finally getting my hand in with Bee pics

These are beautiful - Hover fly isn't it?

A bit better again

Behold the gates of HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Those sticky buds that was the inspiration for Velcro

Oh! so close to being the one

I did google "Red Backed Spider UK" and got the Daily Mail telling me that the country is infested with them all the way from Oz and will kill yah has soon as look at yah. Yeah right

Not seen one of these before!

This Emperor Dragonfly was eating a Bee (Thanks Tim Taylor for the ID over a cuppa at Eco-friendly Bites)


Beautiful Green Bottle?

Hi there :¬) This is what comes out of cuckoo spit isn't it?

This was a beast. Quit pleased with this shot to

Erm! shouldn't this have spots??

You can feel the sexual tension!!

He was twanging her threads to no avail. She turned and went to wash her hair

Punks not dead

When I popped back to VP2 at Hamwall I looked along the woodwork of the platform. I've been wanting to get those tiny red mites that scurry around. Didn't see any but did see these bigger brothers that eat greenfly!

Nest on the back of the Bird ID board

I enjoyed the Macro lens so much I popped out again on Sunday to Catcott heath. That wonderland of a secret wood full of wonders. The car park was a bit full though!! Turns out those wonderful guys and gals of the Somerset Wildlife Trust volunteers were tidying things up a bit. Cracking job their doing to. Cheeky to boot!!

Cuckoo Spit. Amazing stuff

A slightly out of place flower I thought

Really like the colours on this

A rather shiny (Due to the flash) ant farming away

A Ladybird waiting to happen

Snug as a bug (pun intended)

First Ladybirds I've seen all year!! Not a good sign

Something about this shot I really like. The light seems better. It's using the flash as well!


Reminded me of this.

Quit precarious getting this Water Skater

I don't think this spider was very well.............. or alive

A black bee

AAAARRRRHHHHH!!!!! This was a beast to rival the one found by Tim. It had muscles on its wings!

So thats the macro. Can you tell I'm really loving this Yashica 100DX Medical? I've modified the man bag to be a hip bag that clips onto your belt. I'm pondering devising a method to clip it to the bottom of my 70D to make it completely self contained.

So back to James...............

Andrew got these rather nice Hobby pictures at VP2 on the way back after I had left. Grrrr...

Andrew - Can I just interrupt again to go........... :¬D

So a successful day overall. 

Just before I wrote this up another Horsefly tried it on whilst I was doing the weeding.  Buzzing around with that slow, confident swagger.

  I didn't have a shotgun on me sadly.  But this time I was prepared.  It never knew what hit it.  The full force of an 11 stone 5ft 12" white collar worker is a thing to be reckoned with I'll have you know.

Hopefully the rest of them will bugger off as well.

1 comment:

  1. Fabulously entertaining read as always, great pics too!
    As for those Horse flies, my youngest now goes into a total screaming meltdown every time any bug buzzes a bit too close, ever since she saw me flapping like a big girl at a particularly persistent horse fly last Summer! :/