Thursday 1 May 2014

Week 15, Mammal: Whiskers not Whitethroats

Wednesday was a day of mixed fortunes. Lows followed by highs. First off, the “smidgeon of sunshine” I referred to on Tuesday expanded to fill almost the entire day! Very unexpected but by no means unwelcome. I set off as early as possible for Bovingdon Brickworks in the hope of photographing the Whitethroats. There are probably a dozen displaying males now around the complex. They are fairly easy to spot, with a bit of patience, because of their tendency to launch themselves up into the air at regular intervals and flutter to a nearby perch, whilst throwing out a burst of enticing, territorial song as they go. However, they aren’t a confiding species and this makes them tricky to photograph. I had to admit defeat once again yesterday.

The other species to elude my lens, in consummate style, were the male Orange-tip butterflies. They were out in good numbers but insisted on only coming to rest in the middle of the biggest and broadest expanses of bramble, way out of photographic range. After a good hour and half of taking approximately no photographs, I decided to assuage my frustration by simply enjoying what was around. It is usually (but not always) at this point that, with an open mind, something I hadn’t been looking for, or expecting, rescues the day. You know where this is going don’t you...

Enter The Easter Bunny...only a couple of weeks late.

There are rabbits all around the Box Moor sites but they are wild and rarely allow you to observe them in the open. I was extremely lucky with yesterday’s little forager. I had approached the area carefully, and simply stood, stock still, in an obscure/shady spot and waited. The rabbit eventually emerged, just a few metres away from me. It may be a common species but it’s still wonderful when a wild animal allows you to observe it feeding at such close range. I’d had to be far more tactical and distant to see/photograph the Dellfield rabbits (below) at the weekend.

With the sun shining and now filled with a sense of optimism and satisfaction (clever bunny), I thought I’d end the morning with a visit to Roughdown Common. I was hoping to see Box Moor’s rarest species of butterfly. More on that to follow...

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