Waxwing

Waxwing
"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Monday, 25 April 2011

First blue tit egg, Waved Umber and Common Newts

When we checked the pictures from the nestbox camera this morning we were thrilled to see that the female blue tit had laid the first egg. This is 3 days earlier than last year when the first egg was laid on the 28th April. She has covered the egg with feathers and hasn't visited the nestbox much today but, going by last year's experience, she will lay an egg a day and only start incubating when she has finished laying and the clutch of eggs is complete.

I am still trying to identify two moths from Saturday night's mothing session - one is a carpet and the other either a large micro or a small macro and a definite LBJ of the moth world i.e. hard to identify! I trapped another two Shuttle-shaped Darts and a Waved Umber - see record shot below. Its a beautiful looking moth and I was hoping to get it to pose on some silver birch bark while I took a photo to show off the brilliant camouflage. As usual, it flew off almost immediately I opened the box so I was fortunate to get a photo at all!!!

Waved Umber




I spent half an hour or so at lunchtime trying to get some photos of the common/smooth newts (Lissotriton vulgaris) in the garden pond. Using the standard 14-42 mm lens was a waste of time so I tried the 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens with varying degrees of success. Some photos were taken with the camera handheld and some with me, camera and tripod leaning precariously over the water. The photos aren't brilliant as the water is not that clear and the sunlight on the water was making things even more difficult but the newts regularly come up to gulp air or take an insect and I was also able to watch the interaction between males and females (the males have their crests now) in the shallower water at the edge of the pond. There were at least six individual newts to be seen.
















8 comments:

Dean said...

Well done with the Waved Umber, Caroline. That`s one species that still eludes me.

Ragged Robin said...

Thanks Dean. Lovely moth - I've just had one sighting before (towards the end of May last year). According to the Townsend and Waring moth "bible" they are more common in the south of England and London area so perhaps they are moving northwards. Hope you get to see one soon.

Pete said...

photography through water is flipping difficult!

Ragged Robin said...

Virtually impossible for me plus I think you need the patience of a saint! Trying to manouevre the tripod and get the lens to focus was a hoot!

The Wessex Reiver said...

Have you tried the wildlife filming trip of making something that resembles a light shade to do photography underwater? A similar contraption is used by aquatic watchers. The wider part of the shade is placed just onto the water surface, this cuts out the glare. Mind you, the newts may not oblige, but maybe if it was left there on a stand, that may work. It is v difficult photographing through water.

Ragged Robin said...

Thank you so much for that tip Andrew - that's a really good idea. If my husband has time I will ask him to rig something up. As you say it would be best left in position probably where the newts lurk most often. To be honest, the murkiness of the water and my lack of photographic skills may mean getting a good photo would be difficult :D.

Ian said...

like the photos of the newt an amphibian that we don't have in Oz. Enjoying your blog and thank you for your thoughts on the reunion,we were very pleased to see them this morning.

Ragged Robin said...

Thanks Ian - glad you liked the photos - we are really pleased to have spotted so many in the pond this year as we have only had the occasional sighting before. They are fascinating to watch.

I enjoy your blog too - its fascinating to read about the different creatures you have in Australia and some that seem similar to those here. Must admit I would love to be able to see wallabies in my back garden!