December 31, 2020

Garden Moth Selection

During 2020 a total of 223 macro moth species found there way into my Kent garden, with a total of 5584 individuals counted and recorded. The three most numerous were Large Yellow Underwing (514), Heart & Dart (357) and Setaceous Hebrew Character (354), and there were 48 species I only recorded once. Some of the less-common Kent species seen were Dark Crimson Underwing, Rest Harrow, Plain Golden Y, the heathland specialists Narrow-winged Pug and True Lover's Knot, and both Dusky-lemon Sallow and Pale-lemon Sallow on the same night. Being able to photograph some of the more spectacular species was also a highlight; a few favourites were Large Emerald, Chocolate-tip and Waved Umber. A selection of photos from the year can be seen below:

Dark Crimson Underwing
Dark Crimson Underwing
Dusky-lemon Sallow and Pale-lemon Sallow
True Lover's Knot
Merveille du Jour
Waved Umber
Chocolate-tip
Black Arches
Large Emerald
Elephant Hawk-moth
Rest Harrow
Webb's Wainscot
Small Ranunculus
Scalloped Oak
Centre-barred Sallow
Pale Prominent
The Sycamore
Broad-barred White
Rosy Footman
The Herald
Autumnal Rustic
Dot Moth
Privet Hawk-moth

July 14, 2020

Heath Fritillary Undersides

During June I had several visits to East Blean Woods for my yearly dose of Heath Fritillary. Having improved my butterfly photography technique since my previous sessions with these butterflies, my photos this year are my best to date. With a big population of several hundred in just a small area, early morning visits produced plenty of roosting individuals, and with so many about I was able to get a variety of photos on different grasses and flowers, as well as a personal favourite, young bracken heads.



Heath Fritillary photographed at East Blean Woods in Kent

Heath Fritillary photographed at East Blean Woods in Kent

Heath Fritillary photographed at East Blean Woods in Kent

Heath Fritillary photographed at East Blean Woods in Kent

Heath Fritillary photographed at East Blean Woods in Kent

Heath Fritillary photographed at East Blean Woods in Kent

Heath Fritillary photographed at East Blean Woods in Kent

Heath Fritillary photographed at East Blean Woods in Kent

Heath Fritillary photographed at East Blean Woods in Kent

Heath Fritillary photographed at East Blean Woods in Kent

Heath Fritillary photographed at East Blean Woods in Kent


June 29, 2020

Yellow on Blue

One of the targets during my lockdown visits to Reculver was to get some photos of Yellow Wagtails, something I've not managed to a good standard in the past. Often tricky birds to approach, and consequently hard to to get good photos of. As with all birds at Reculver this spring, the situation improved my chances of getting good pictures, simply thanks to the fact I've been able to get out more. As I hoped and have found to be the case, heading out each morning is eventually rewarded with some good opportunities.










This year's earliest Yellow Wagtail was on April 6th, and I had my first on the 10th. Throughout the month I saw several during most mornings, but getting pictures remained a struggle and the only successes came with birds on the ground or seawall, not really what I was looking for. My luck changed during the first few weeks of May, with several encounters giving me the chance to get some shots against blue sky. On the first occasion I spotted a distant flush of yellow at the top of one of the trees that line the track down to Coldharbour. I was still some way off but quickly recognised there was an opportunity here if I could just sneak a little closer. It proved quite an accommodating individual and the end results weren't too bad.

Yellow Wagtail photographed at Reculver in Kent
Yellow Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail photographed at Reculver in Kent
Yellow Wagtail

Over the next weeks I had a few more similar encounters with Yellow Wagtails in the same line of bushes. I was able to get a little closer on these next sessions but the light was duller so it was hard to bring out the bird's vibrant plumage. A fortunate flight shot as one of the birds took off from the bush was something different.

Yellow Wagtail photographed at Reculver in Kent
Yellow Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail photographed in flight at Reculver in Kent
Yellow Wagtail in flight
Yellow Wagtail photographed at Reculver in Kent
Yellow Wagtail