Notes on Use of This Blog

1. I have a policy that I always reply to comments on my blog, even if it's just to say thank you.

2. Please don't submit comments that include your own web address. For obvious reasons, they will not be published.

3. I'm now on Twitter - @RichardPegler1

Wednesday, 24 May 2023

Breaking New Ground & Other Observations - 2nd to 7th May, 2023

The following is an account of some highlights from the first part of the month of May.

Tuesday, 2nd May                    Watermead Country Park

With a trio of Black-crowned Night Herons being reported from Watermead Park for a few days, and this being a place that I'd never visited, in spite of it only being half an hour from my home, I decided that I should give the place a visit.

The outing did not start well as, having got about 10 miles down the road, I realised that I'd left my wallet at home and had no means of paying for the car park there. I had to turn back and pick it up. The further complication was that, with the extra miles, I'd have to re-charge our car as I'd originally left home with just enough charge to get me there and back with not much extra in hand. I gave it just under an hour's worth of charge and set off again.

I arrived at Watermead Park to find that the recommended car park, unlike others at this place, was free of charge - grrrrrrr!!! 

The location for seeing the Night Herons was very close to the car park, and I found others already there, bemoaning the fact that the birds had not been seen that day. I stayed a while but, haveing been told of a Tawny Owl that was not far away, I went to check it out. It was very high up in a tree, and impossible to get a clear shot at. It's a long while since I last saw a Tawny Owl, and it will probably be a long while until I next see one, these were the best that I could manage.

Tawny Owl (Strix aluco)  - Watermead CP
I had been chatting with other people whilst looking at the owl, and was encouraged to explore the area further, in spite of realising that I was going to be at least an hour later home than I said I'd be. I was fortunate in being able to accompany a keen birder who knew the area well.

The greatest find for me on that walk was a Whitethroat - not a rare bird but another species that I don't often see - I last photographed one in 2017! I got some shots of it on barbed wire, and then some distant shots of it in a more natural environment.

Whitethroat (Sylvia communis) - Watermead CP
Before departing, I had another look for the Night Herons, but to no avail. As I stood there, a Canada Goose came drifting by. It was now time to go home.

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) - Watermead CP

Wednesday, 3rd May                    Garden

The Large Red Damselflies were still emerging from our mini-pond. I got some shots of this one before it departed. 

Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) - garden on 3rd May, 2023

Whilst checking the pond, I found a pair of flies mating, and took some shots.

Fly (Sarcophaga sp.) in cop - garden on 3rd May, 2023
It then occurred to me that the scene might be better conveyed if I took some video.

If you would like, you can also see this in slo-mo, below.

I then photographed a Blackbird, singing in the top of our Elder. 

Blackbird (Turdus merula) (male) - garden on 35rd May, 2023
There's nothing like the song of a Blackbird to lift the spirits so, again, video seemed to be required.

This female Orange-tip seemed to be ovipositing, but I have only found one Orange-tip egg this year and failed to find the caterpillar after it hatched.
Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines) (female) - garden on 3rd May, 2023

The moth trap went out that night, and only one moth was caught. It was a rather fine one, however!

Waved Umber (Menophra abruptaria) (male) - from garden moth trap, 3rd May, 2023

Thursday, 4th May                    Garden

One of the Azaleas in our garden was blooming more beautifully than ever. 

Azalea - garden on 4th May, 2023
From the conservatory, I noticed a strange insect on the edge of the mini-pond. I grabbed the camera and went out to find this fearsome-looking creature.

Ichneumon stramentor (female) - garden on 4th May, 2023
Friday, 5th May                    Garden

Although Bullfinch visit the garden fairly frequently, they usually make straight for the feeders and then depart again. It has, therefore, been a bit difficult to photograph them. On this occasion I managed a shot of a female - not a good shot, but at least it's a shot of one not on a feeder!

Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) (female) - garden on 5th May, 2023
Saturday, 6th May                    Garden

The damselfly emergences from our mini-pond were tailing off now, and the Robin was having to look elsewhere for food for his youngsters in the nest.

Robin (Erithacus rubecula) - garden on 6th May, 2023
Sunday, 7th May                    Garden ; Saltersford Valley Country Park ; Thortit Lake

This year seems to have been a very good year for Holly Blue butterflies and lately I have been seeing them almost everywhere I go. A feature of the Holly blue is that it tends to rest with its wings closed, and it is often necessary to wait quite a long time for it to open its wings just enough to see whether it has dark tips to the upper side of the fore-wings - denoting it to be a female. I had never managed to photograph one with its wings wide open.

Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) (female) - garden on 7th May, 2023
 - - that was, until this day! What a little beauty !!!!

Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) (female) - garden on 7th May, 2023
That afternoon, I took a trip out to a couple of very local spots, in the hope of finding my first dragonflies. I failed in this respect, but there were other things to keep me entertained.
As I approached the boardwalk I was greeted by a bright stand of Marsh Marigold.
Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) - Saltersford Valley CP
From the far end of the boardwalk, I watched a male Reed Bunting, although it was not very cooperative from a photographic point of view.
Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) (male) - Saltersford Valley CP

Here are some of the other items that appeared in front of my lens during my wanderings.
Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines) (female) - Saltersford Valley CP on 7th May, 2023

St. George's Mushroom (Calocybe gambosa) - Saltersford Valley CP
Alder Leaf Beetle (Agelastica alni) - Saltersford Valley CP

Bog Bean (Menyanthes trifoliata) - Saltersford Valley CP

Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) - Saltersford Valley CP
Having not found any Odonata, and with some time in hand, on the way home I dropped in for a brief visit to Thortit Lake. I didn't find any Odonata here either, but a Common Tern was fishing on the lake. I'd not yet had any real success with the new camera with birds in flight, so thought I'd have a go here. The situation was quite difficult, with a fairly small bird at some distance, against a confusing back drop as far as autofocus is concerned. I was relatively surprised and pleased with the results.
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) - Thortit La
This brings me to the end of this blog post. My next blog post will probably be in about a week's time and will probably feature more visits from home. In the meantime, please take good care of yourselves and Nature.
Thank you for dropping by - - - Richard 


  1. Very entertaining looking at your blog Richard, I wish I could get out and do some exploring with my camera, but I am happy with my foxes at home, I can at least sit in a nice comfortable chair with my camera and have a cup of tea when I want. Take care.

    1. Hello, Mike. I can fully understand your frustration at not being able to get out and about with your camera, but so pleased that your garden is providing you with your wonderful encounters with the foxes, and other wildlife, and I'm a little envious that you can do this in such comfortable circumstances. It gives me the encouragement to know that all is not lost when I loose the ability to roam with my camera!

      I'm very sorry about my late reply to your comment - life got in the way over the past few days.

      My best wishes - stay safe - - - Richard

  2. Some lovely results Richard with that new camera. Love the Large Red shot and the Tawny Owl is superb. Take care.

    1. Thank you, Marc. I'm now getting more opportunities to photograph odonata and finding that I'm not managing as well as I'd hoped for - mainly through difficulty in finding things in the viewfinder before they depart. I hope that I can get used to it eventually.

      Sorry for the late reply - best wishes - - - Richard

  3. Hi Richard! Great photos. It would be really nice to see an owl! We rarely see them.

  4. Hi Richard, I love the photos of the Owl, considering where it was you did well to get these photos. The Whitethroat is new to me, I see they are in all of Europe so I must look harder. As for the flies, well done in getting the video, but we already have too many over here, flies I mean not videos!! As for blues, I have not seen a single one this year to date!

    By the way have you discovered the Merlin app? I have suddenly discovered that we have birds in and around our garden that I had no idea existed.

    Please take care and look after Lindsay, will be in touch. Very best wishes to you both, Diane

    1. Hi Diane. At the momentr, I'm trying to take as many photos as I can in an effort to get to grips with the functions of the new camera - hence the fly sequence.

      I did briefly look at the Merlin app, but for a reason that I don't remember (like so many things these days!) I came away from it.

      Sorry for the late reply - life getting in the way again!

      My very best wishes to you and Nigel - - - Richard

  5. The Tawny Owl is nothing short of wonderful, Richard. Tree branches don't always permit a direct shot of the subject, but that doesn't take away from the splendour of the picture at all; when all is said and done this is nature not a portrait studio. The Whitethroat is wonderful too. Such a lovely little bird and the pictures are sharp and crystal clear. I don't think I have ever witnessed flies in their most intimate moments but I must say they are nothing if not enthusiastic! The tern in flight also reveals the capability of your new camera and it can only get better! Best wishes to you and Lindsay - David.

    1. Thank you, David. I still have some frustrations with the new camera which I need to iron out but, overall, I know I made the right decision to change.

      I'm sorry for the late response, due to a mixture of making the most of fine weather and a number of medical excursions like, for example, waiting in a hospital for four hours on Friday so that I could drive myself home after having dilation drops in my eyes, as Lindsay was unable to drive me.

      Best wishes to you and Miriam - - - - Richard

  6. Hello Richard
    the tawny owl pictures are really top, well exploring new ways and then such beautiful shots, now you have drawn my attention and I will try new ways too..
    Greetings Frank

    1. Thank you, Frank. What I am trying to do is find interesting places that are closer to home, so that I do not feel the need to travel long distances. This is better for my pocket, and kinder to the planet!

      Best wishes - - - Richard

  7. Hello Richard, a great post with lots to see. Your start was not that much fun but once you were there you did get to see a lot. Ofcourse The Tawne Owl a bird I still have to encounter. The White troath such al loveley bird with a great song. You say that you did not see them verry often that is to bad. Here they are to be seen verry often. I love the way they sing. The flies that are having a good time you captured verry well. All in all a great post Richard,
    Take care and enjoy nature.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Roos. It's good to know that you see Whitethroat frequently. It is not rare in this part of UK, but I think that it is just that I do not go to the right places to see them!

      Stay safe - best wishes - - - Richard

  8. Fantastic range of nature. I love the Whitethroat and Tawny Owl, beautiful Richard.

    1. Thank you, Bob. The day with the Tawny Owl and the Whitethroat was an exciting one for me. It had been too long since I'd seen both. Best wishes - - - Richard

  9. Happiness is a cup of fresh coffee and a new post from Richard to explore!

    For me, any day which includes seeing an owl is a special day! Many would not even attempt a photograph with the the subject in such a difficult position. We are grateful you did and the results were successful! (Yes, I know. We all wish this or that could have been better. But you produced an image of a Tawny Owl that day. The rest of us did not.)

    Holly Blue revealed! Those frustrating species which are reluctant to show us their upper beauty. Outstanding!

    Nice work with the Common Tern! I struggle with in-flight shots. Some day ---

    Thank you for sharing your outings!

    Gini and I are well and getting out and about quite a bit. We hope both you and Lindsay enjoy this new week and all it has to offer.

    1. It had been so long since I'd seen a Tawny Owl, Wally, that there was no way I was going to go without trying for a photo, but it did require a fair amount of patience!

      Sadly, this week is going to be a bit of an unproductive one, with having to be in today as, at some unspecified time, we have a technician arriving to come and give a verdict on a faulty new reclining chair. Tomorrow it's a call from a legal eagle (again at an unspecified time) about a grievance (you can probably guess what), Thursday I take Lindsay to physio in the morning and then I have an eye injection in the afternoon, and then on Friday I take Lindsay to see her surgeon. It's another week when life gets in the way! Other than that, all is good!

      Take good care. Best wishes to you and Gini - - - Richard

  10. Hello Richard!! Great video and beautiful series os pictures of nature... I love the melodious blackbird and the striking azalea flowers... The tawny owl so adorable... Happy week muy friend...

    1. Thank you, Ana. The azaleas and rhododendron have been spectacular this year. Something has happened that suits them well!

      I hope that you too are having a happy week. Take good care - - - Richard

  11. Precioso tu blog, me gusta porque me encanta la naturaleza. Soy tu nueva seguidora. Saludos.

    1. Gracias, Teresa, por tus amables palabras y por seguirme. Con mis mejores deseos desde una Inglaterra fresca y nublada - - - Richard

  12. Bellas fotos de naturaleza, me encantan las Libélulas, aunque son muy difíciles de fotografiar, pues no paran quietas.


    1. Gracias, Jesús, por tus amables palabras. A veces, las libélulas se detienen, pero también me gusta tomarles fotos en vuelo, que es, como dices correctamente, ¡bastante más difícil!
      Mis mejores deseos - - Richard

    2. Mi antivirus Norton me ha impedido visitar su blog, diciendo que es un sitio peligroso conocido. ¿Tal vez necesites arreglarlo con Norton?


Please Note: Blogger seems to be making it difficult for some (many?) people to leave comments on blogs, and also making it difficult for the recipient of comments to detect that a comment has been left. If you have any difficulties leaving a comment on the blog, please feel free to email me on However, if you are solely trying to promote your own blog or business by leaving a link in your comment, it will be blocked. If anyone wants to find you as a result of a comment that you have left, they can do so by looking at your profile.

Please, Blogger, get this mess sorted out.