Monday, May 25, 2009

Digiscoped Scarce Chasers at Woodwalton Fen

It was very warm on Sunday, and we had a few insects in the garden, including Broad-bodied Chaser, Azure Damselfly and Blue-tailed Damselfly at the pond. We also had a Red Admiral (a migrant) in the garden and a few Painted Ladies were passing through, seemingly heading north-west. I figured it would be a good idea to head out to Woodwalton Fen, which is famed for its Scarce Chasers at this time of year.
SO, down there I went, and the place was buzzing with the beauties, seemingly along every ditch, including the Great Raveley Drain where you park. There were also a whole load of Painted Ladies passing through, also heading NW, like the ones at home. It turns out that this movement of migrant PLs was far from local, with probably millions passing through the country on that day.
The Scarce Chasers were very obliging, comprising largely orange-toned sub-mature males and females, but with one or two males gaining pruinescence (powdery blue). I started with some digiscoping, but later moved onto DSLR (see below the Kazakhstan posts).

Pair in tandem. The male (left) is not quite fully mature, with still some orange tones in the veins of the wings. He has clasped the female round the back of her head, and she in turn is grasping the male's abdomen, which causes black patches among the blue in this species. Note she has a bit of black in the wingtips and a hint of pruinescence of her own on the underside of her abdomen (facing up here).

Maturing male

Maturing male

Maturing female (note broader abdomen than male and black wing tips)

Kazakhstan Part 3: Steppe 3

Male Bluethroat (digiscoped)

Networking: rescuing a Long-tailed Rosefinch, two Paddyfield Warblers and a Bluethroat for ringing

James Lees with a Paddyfield Warbler (while the local ringer removes another in the background)

Paddyfield Warbler

Long-tailed Rosefinch

Sociable Lapwings on the breeding site (digiscoped)

The Birdlife team looking after the Sociable Lapwings

Our gang try and photograph the distant lapwings shrouded in heat haze...

Andreas Pittl from Swarovski poses for the ladies...

Steppe Eagle and Rook entourage (digiscoped)

A green lizard in a reedbed

Sharon 'The Birdchick' photographing wild tulips

Steppe Merlin (the pale steppe form; digiscoped)

Male Siberian Stonechat (digiscoped)

Our huts on the steppe

Tree Sparrow (digiscoped)

Male Cuckoo (digiscoped)

Booted Warbler (digiscoped)

Kazakhstan Part 2: Steppe 2

Tree Sparrow (digiscoped)

Home on the steppe at Korgalzhyn

Ringing a Spotted Flycatcher

The camouflaged birder

Male Citrine Wagtail (digiscoped)

Red-necked Phalarope (digiscoped)

Musical ecstasy

Dominic Mitchell snaps a baby lark in-hand

Short-eared Owl


Steppe Marmots (digiscoped)

Marmot DSLR photographers move in...

Steppe cowboy

Orientation at Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve

Steppe cemetery

Feeding time for the Pallas's Gull

Kazakhstan Part 1: Steppe 1

On phalarope beach (the dots on the far right are Red-necked Phalaropes)

Steppe Gull

Male Pallid Harrier

Male Red-footed Falcon

Photographers trying for Red-necked Phalarope (check out that extreme handheld digiscoping technique!)

Lesser Whitethroat

Gull-billed Tern

Great White Egret

Green Toad

Lark chick – I'm not sure which sepcies, but Black Larks and Sky Larks were common at this site

Demoiselle Crane

Black Lark

Demoiselle Cranes