Wednesday 26 August 2009

Berry stealers!!

As I was driving back today from a very uneventful trip, I came across a couple of people collecting, in a very proffesional method, the Rowan berries that seem to be everywhere at the moment. The fence path on Haughmond hill is in proliferation, fantastic sight after what seems like years of poor crops. As evident in the amount of fruit at Venus Pools this summer, and very tasty it is to! so they say!!
Now being curious as to just what they were going to do with this massive crop this year, and being unable to stop at the time, a quick trawl on the net produced the following interesting explanation.

The berries of European Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) can be made into a slightly bitter jelly which in Britain is traditionally eaten as an accompaniment to game, and into jams and other preserves, on their own, or with other fruits. The berries can also be a substitute for coffee beans, and have many uses in alcoholic beverages: to flavour liqueurs and cordials, to produce country wine, and to flavour ale.
Rowan cultivars with superior fruit for human food use are available but not common; mostly the fruits are gathered from wild trees growing on public lands.
Rowan berries contain sorbic acid, an acid that takes its name from the Latin name of the genus Sorbus. Raw berries also contain parasorbic acid (about 0.4%-0.7% in the European rowan[6]), which causes indigestion and can lead to kidney damage, but heat treatment (cooking, heat-drying etc.) and, to a lesser extent, freezing, neutralises it, by changing it to the benign sorbic acid. Luckily, they are also usually too astringent to be palatable when raw. Collecting them after first frost (or putting in the freezer) cuts down on the bitter taste as well, now is this part of the reason we see these wee fellows
SO! with the Winter slowly creeping up on us, of course we have the fantstic colour changes to come first with the fantaastic first frosty mornings heralding the Rut, it will be slow I hope but then what do we get this year, more wet and miserable? who knows

Sunday 23 August 2009

Searching for Unicorns!!!

Well it is certainly quite around the county with very little moving through at the moment a sporadic group of waders like Ruff, Blackwits and a very quick Spoonbill, that buggered of pretty quick from the res at Chelmarsh, damn it missed another one!!!So it was practice time at VP with a few flight shots of whatever was around at the time.
OH! as for Unicorns take a look at the tines on this guy, that central one will be the decider in many matches he will get involved with this autumn as the rut gets under way through out the nation.

A few shots of the Black tailed godwits at VP the other day Saturday actually.

And the final shot from the other day before the Memorial hide was removed after this catch it was down the gullet really fast.
So no real super birds or rarities but a nice round of birds for this time of year
hopefully this will change as we move more into the September when more movement gets under way?
I Hope.

Thursday 13 August 2009

A veritable wader fest!

It was just like business as usual at VP this morning, over a long watch that is, the Kingfisher having been missing from my list this year put in several appearances very early on in the morning.And for a pleasant change stayed for more than a few minutes on two occasions.
Then after quite a few hours of waiting they arrived, they being two Black tailed godwits one adult and a juvenile which I believe were of the islandica race? but after a few lapwing disturbances they were of, just enough time for a wash and brush up.
A lovely summer plumage jobby really nice colours.

Sadly they never ventured close enough for other than a record shot. However the Green sandpiper was very confiding and performed in front of the hide for what seemed like ages allowing some nice clear shots

And finally the adult Little grebe venture a little closer to the hide with juvenile in tow but not for long though.
The Juvenile was really giving it what for in its search for fish, which it did not succeed very often.

The moorhen had a set to when a juvenile bird ventured much to close and really got the full wrath of the adult bird for around ten minutes of repeated attacks.

It was a definite aggressive go, in the water and on land feathers certainly flew.

The morning also produced a young Grey wagtail and a young Little ringed plover so a good morning at VP just for a change!!

Wednesday 5 August 2009

A Walk in the wild!

The start of the day proved a bit of a wash out but as the sun got up and the temperature with it there was plenty happening around the reserve. for a change! the Kingfisher was evident around the place on occasions, but the top field really produced the goods with not only plants I had never seen before but some really nice condition butterfly, as you will see. Oh! and a Green sandpiper hiding in the grass by the memorial hide.The first Clouded Yellow was found in the morning and it was really one of those confiding individuals, for a change.
Small Tortoiseshell

Another Clouded Yellow
A Large white.

Buglos, if that is how it is spelt?

A very small seed pod.


Sow Bread

Field Pansy

A big blue thing in the field

It was a very interesting day with some real rare things being seen and marvelled at.
take a walk round the field and see what you can find.

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Little and Large!

It's true! only a mother could find these fine looking birds pretty!

Now on the othere hand this little guy is much prettier

Whilst not pretty it is certainly more elegant.

This is by far more elegant?


Splash and Grab!

It is always a joy to watch these master of fishing no matter where they are and today (Sunday) was no exception, it had as had been the norm over the last week, appeared early and circled the fishing pool several times and disappeared, only to re-appear a while later on a mission!One circle and it was locked on to the target.

Did it or not?

A bit of a struggle ensued, as it strained to get air born again.

Gordon Bennett!! no wonder, as it got up with what must have been close to 10lbs of trout

More fighting from the fish pulled it down some more.

The final tug of war between fish and water against a moulting and tatty Osprey.

Resulted in a fly of with no breakfast, peed of or what?
A few more circuits of the pool and it was of, or so we thought then it was back between trout pools and VP and still no breakfast. A brilliant fight to watch and try to get on film from far away.

What next?