Back in Blighty...

Nearly two months after returning to our sceptic (?) isle and the feeling that birding just isn't quite so exciting still persists even though some great birds (life-ticks even) have been discovered at our various haunts. It's just that they seem so far away - and they fly away as well - and then there is the bloody weather! Still; stiff upper lip and all that and lets have a look at the highlights so far...

Draycot Reservoir delivered a good view of a Red-necked Grebe back in March although the lighting was poor (no surprise there then) and a pair of Treecreepers entertained us for a good hour as they collected nesting materials around the board-walk and carried them into a crack in a felled tree just a few feet away. That was a good start anyway...

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Red-necked Grebe.

Tree-creeper nest building.
The three Garganey at Middleton Lakes were a great life-tick as they eventually swam close to the path and the sun even came out (briefly) so a few really nice images were possible; it was nice to see a special bird at this new RSPB reserve after so many disappointing trips as well. Getting a good image in flight with the 1.4x multiplier was also a boost to my confidence after such a lean beginning.

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Even the Great Egret showed well at a reasonable distance in the sunshine agains gathering dark clouds as we headed back to the canal towpath.

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Goosanders have shown well this spring as well; a lovely pair were very obliging at Dudmaston (National Trust) and a handsome male flew up the River severn as we walked towards Hampton Load Station on the SVR as we watched Sand Martins returning to their burrows on the far bank of the river. (The trains were good as well).

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Goosanders at Dudmaston on the lake.

Male Goosander flying up River Severn. 100f_344
Male Goosander flying along the River Severn near Hampton Load.

Of course, now that Spring has arrived it is the flowers and insects (especially butterflies) that attract the lens and the Knapp and Paper Mill Reserve near Worcester delivered  some great images as we have come to expect with Orange Tip Butterfly numbers well up on last year supported by Bee-flies, Brimstones, Commas and Holly Blues to name a few.

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Bee-fly on Celandines. 

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This male Orange Tip is feeding from the caterpillar's food-plant.

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Holly Blue Butterfly on Lady's Smock.

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Brimstone Butterfly on Bluebell.
As I mentioned earlier, spring flowers are plentiful at this lovely peaceful Worcestershire Wildlife Reserve, and this time of year brings the strange Toothwort into flower - a parasitic plant that is increasing rare in the UK.
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Toothwort on tree root.
And then finally for this entry; a visit to Packwood House (another of our local National Trust properties) provided cracking views of a Diving Beetle and a Great Crested Newt!

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Diving Beetle on Water Chestnut Flower.
A Predatory Diving Beetle. 100f_77

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Great Crested Newt.

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