Friday 12 December 2008
Thursday 4 December 2008
On the way to Cannock Chase, just before Lullington, I came upon a female Kestrel on a post. My camera was already at the ready beside me, and so I wound the window down and took some safety shots during which the bird flew on to the next post. I then attempted to draw up a little closer, and only got one shot off before the bird flew off, away from the road. The results are far from good, but I am rather fond of these birds for some reason, so I publish one of the results here.
Wednesday 3 December 2008
On the way back home, I dropped into Croxall Lakes. Although there was nothing of major interest there, as far as I could see, there were plenty of birds to keep me occupied. At one point, a busy flock of Redwing made their way through, feasting on the abundant crop of berries beside the railway. I managed a photo of one of the few (2?) Fieldfares that were about in the fading light.
Tuesday 25 November 2008
Sunday 2 November 2008
Friday 31 October 2008
Common Kestrel (female)
Monday 27 October 2008
Western Bluebird (female)
From the Visitor Centre we took the relatively short Alcove Trail (designated a nature trail). As we joined the trail a Cotton-Tail rabbit crossed in front of us, and ‘hid’ under a bush at some distance. There were some Robber Flies about which looked and sounded a bit like dragonflies in flight, but looked very handsome, if a little sinister, when they settled.
Soon we were seeing a number of lizards of various species (I have attempted to identify these but am no lizard expert so any input would be much appreciated). The first, a lizard with a striped back, I believe to be a species of Whip-tailed Lizard, but I can find no reference to a lizard with this few stripes - the Plateau Striped Whiptail is said to have 6 or 7 pale stripes, not the 4 that this had (perhaps it was a juvenile PSW?). This is the only one I saw, so I give you the best of a bad bunch of photos.
Whip-tailed Lizard species
I am not particularly interested in plants, but do have a passing interest in cacti, so was pleased to find Echinocereus Triglochidiatus.
There were a couple of Western Scrub Jays seen (but not photographed), and several LBJs (little brown jobs) which seemed to be hiding from the sun in dense cover. With a total lack of experience of American birds, the LBJs were as good as impossible for me to identify.
I attempted to photograph a hawk (unidentified) that passed by at some distance but my camera had gone faulty just before the holiday, with insufficient time to get it repaired, and so had a tendency for the lens to electrically uncouple itself from the body, thus rendering autofocus and light metering non-functioning. The temporary solution was to give the lens a gentle twist until it connected again, but grabbed shots were virtually impossible to achieve for the whole of the holiday.About half-way along the trail a Chipmunk (possibly Cliff Chipmunk) was seen scampering along the edge of a rock ledge, and then stopping under a bush.
Chipmunk (possibly Cliff Chipmunk)
At one point my wife was (unusually) just ahead of me, and suddenly put up a Hummingbird which hovered noisily for a split second and then shot off, never to be seen again (in spite of hunting for it for half an hour). It was all over and done with in maybe half a second. I did not notice any colour tendencies, so do not know what species it was, but I think that Broad-tailed Hummingbird is most likely.
Plateau Striped Whiptail Lizard
After this walk, we got into the car to explore the scenic qualities of the Monument from the various viewpoints. From these we saw Turkey Vultures and American Kestrels in the distance. There were also plenty of White-throated Swifts around.