Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Where did May go?

They say once you retire, you wonder where you found the time to go to work. Well that is so true. I've been so incredibly busy sorting out the detritus of retirement that May has almost gone. I have managed to get out and do photography fairly often and I now have a new car, life insurance sorted, home insurance sorted and am slotting into the retirement groove very well.

I have seen some very nice beetles at different spots in Somerset and adjacent counties. One I saw at Martin Down was, I thought, a new record for Hampshire. A little research then threw up that Martin Down is in VC8 (Wiltshire) for record purposes and then the Hampshire beetle recorder told me that he had already found that species elsewhere in Hampshire so no cigar for me. It was a very nice beetle anyway.

Agapanthia villosoviridescens

Agapanthia villosoviridescens

My other real "find" was suddenly discovering that Sand Lizard can be found on Dawlish Warren. I've been going there for years and had not heard about them. As I was wandering around in the sand dunes looking for insects to photograph, one suddenly sauntered onto the path right in front of me. It seemed churlish not to take its photograph.


Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Spent some time today sorting out my fast dwindling financial empire in preparation for paying off the mortgage. Spent a frustrating hour talking to people about cars. I think Ford must have one "test-drive" Fiesta Econetic in the whole south west that they borrow from each other. The Citroen C3 Picasso looks nice and roomy but it just strays into the £120 per year tax bracket so that is a bit off-putting. The ordinary C3 has much less boot space for all my moth gear. I'm going mad weighing up all the options.

I finally got outside with a camera late this afternoon and spent a happy time in the local field that doubles as my outdoor photographic studio. I just hope the farmer doesn't suddenly get it into his head to plough it all in and grow something. Mind you if I see him, I might be cheeky and ask if he'll let me have an allotment on part of it. We've already run out of planting space in the back garden.

Saw a nice Green-veined White and for once it didn't disappear into the far distance while I was still stalking up to it. It had probably just had its cocoa and was thinking of turning in for the night.

Green-veined White

Monday, 4 May 2009

Apion frumentarium Spent the weekend mostly in a field near my house, taking pictures of any insect stupid enough to stray close enough. It may seem strange to some people but I find that standing next to a patch of Cow Parsley for a couple of hours really gives you a feel for biodiversity. Try to choose a nice warm day if you do it as that helps both with the diversity and countering feelings of futility.

Spring is definitely in the air, with new stuff hatching out all over the place and immediately indulging in activities to make new stuff.

Hoverflies are really starting to emerge now that May has finally arrived. Leucozona lucorum below is one of my favourites, so clean looking.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

My retirement started with a rush of rarities. On April 30 I went straight down to Portland Bill and in the early evening saw a Collared Flycatcher. I then had an early night with a 3 am start on Friday morning to get to Dungeness for first light. My younger son Dave came with me to add a new bird to his life list. Once there, finding the Crested Lark was not a problem, we just followed a group of birders who started running over the shingle just as we got out of the car, having just found it. We had a good look round the Dungeness area, seeing Hobby, Marsh Harrier and several newly arrived migrants, singing for all they were worth. A Jay was a Dungeness rarity and looked quite incongruous as it flew in from the sea. We saw some nice moths at the Dungeness observatory, including a Light Feathered Rustic of the pale "shingle" form.

Dragonflies were very much in evidence, including a fine male Hairy Dragonfly - Brachytron pratense.

Brachytron pratense

I tried several times to photograph singing Sedge Warblers and they invariably dropped into the vegetation as soon as a camera pointed at them. This one was more of an exhibitionist.

Sedge Warbler