Thursday, 31 December 2015

End of year favourites - Non-garden birds

This is my final posting of favourites from 2015.  It was a good year for watching owls.  I saw both barn owl and short-eared owls flying in daylight but my only tawny owl shot isn't worth sharing.  Long-eared and little owls are on my wish list for 2016.

I saw more yellowhammers than ever before.  This one was at Branton in Northumberland.

Then a couple of LBJs (little brown jobs) - reed warbler and reed bunting.

And a little white job, a leucistic chaffinch.

Next a few fish-eaters from Gosforth Park.

This is the most endangered bird in Newcastle - a kittiwake.  There is a proposal to put up netting to stop the birds nesting on the Tyne Bridge, which would be a tragedy.  You can lodge an objection through a link here.

And finally a few favourites from the Farne Islands.

So, not a bad year.  I'm looking forward to better photos and new species in 2016.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

End of year favourites - Bees

During this past year I have seen many more bees than ever before.  Some in the garden which have always been there but I hadn't noticed and others I went to look for.

It wasn't the best of years for honey bees but mine have thrived.  Here is a picture of a drone (male) following a worker back to the hive.

Just one bumblebee photo, a Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum), although I have seen all but one of the common seven species in my garden - the missing one was the Garden Bumblebee.

I built a bee house and to my delight three holes were occupied by Red Mason Bees (Osmia bicornis).  Here is one bringing a mouthful of mud back to her nest.

And some mining bees.  Here is a female Buffish Mining Bee (Andrena nigroaenea).

And a female Orange-tailed Mining Bee (Andrena haemorrhoa).

A female Ashy Mining Bee (Andrena cineraria).

This is a Green-eyed Flower Bee (Anthophora bimaculata).

And finally a couple of cuckoo bees.  A female Gooden's Nomad Bee (Nomada goodeniana) and a Common Mourning Bee (Melecta albifrons).

I hope to find many more in 2016.

Monday, 28 December 2015

End of year favourites - Mammals

2015 has been the year of the otter for me, with several good sightings in broad daylight plus night-time trail camera photos.

I haven't seen a badger in daylight but do sometimes pick them up on the trail camera.  I'll never know what happened between the fox and the badger.

This fox comes to the garden every night.

And perhaps the most photogenic, and certainly the cutest.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

End of year favourites - Odonata

It wasn't a great year for dragons and damsels because of the weather but there were a few highlights.  First, two species I hadn't been able to photograph before - a male red-eyed damselfly and a male brown hawker.

Demoiselles are always captivating to watch.  They are usually pretty relaxed about being photographed as well.  Here are a male and female beautiful demoiselle and a male banded demoiselle.

I saw more dragonflies and damselflies in the garden than ever before, perhaps because I am more aware of them and on the look out.  Here are a teneral southern hawker and a teneral common darter.

Finally, a pair of common hawkers in a mating wheel at Banks' Pond, my local dragonfly hotspot.

Let's hope next year is a good one.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

End of year favourites - Garden birds

It's that time of year again, a chance to look back at 2015 and pick a few favourite images.  My garden provides many opportunities for watching and photographing birds.  I have to be careful I don't spend all day staring out of the window. First, three images of birds and their young.

Then some birds in hand.  Most had strayed into the house but the poor woodpecker was stunned on the kitchen window.

Bullfinches are daily visitors with up to four males and two females recently.

The woodpecker and treecreeper photos were taken through an open window but the sparrowhawk through the glass. Memo to self - keep the windows clean.