Venus Pool - 9 Mar 17

The fine and sunny weather today tempted me to Venus Pool where some of the highlights were:

How close can you get? Canada Goose of course.

Always a favourite, especially when lit like this. A drake Gadwall.

And his intended: I know the flanks look blurred, but they only look blurred.

One of the 12 Curlews present today (Wigeon asleep in the foreground).

And a trio of Curlews (at least one of the drake Wigeon is awake now).

With the 5 Curlews there are drake Teal, drake Shoveler and a Moorhen. Two partially hidden ducks are likely duck Teal.

A rather scruffy Blue Tit. Note the long toes.

A female Blackbird. In close-up like this we see the pale fringes to the feathers and see why they are sometimes confused with Song Thrush. A tip for separation is that if in doubt it isn’t a Song Thrush. Seriously: a female Blackbird shows pale spots on a dark background; a Song Thrush black spots on a brown background.

Another angle.

A male Chaffinch showing all its intricate colouration. If it were rare it would be much more appreciated.

A female Chaffinch eating a seed. Her colouration is quite subtle.

A male Brambling: the head will go jet black in a few weeks time as the pale tips wear away and he acquires smart full breeding plumage.

Another angle.

And from the back: the dark around the eye is the easiest way to separate the sexes from this angle. The female would look greyer on the head though that depends whether you are familiar with the tones.

Compare and contrast: female in front of the male.

And compare and contrast those rear views, female in front.

Male and female Brambling and male and female Chaffinch.

Naughty male Bullfinch – eating the buds of the Blackthorn.

And the flowers. The abundance of the flowers and the sun tempted some insects and managed a few shots.

My first butterfly of the year – a Peacock. Likely hibernated as an adult in the UK [later a Brimstone flew by].

A Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapdarius).

This looks to me like a Honey Bee sp. (but I do not have any detailed literature on this group).

This was my first hoverfly of the year: The markings are reminiscent of Epistrophe eligans though the date is a bit early. I had an expert check this photo as the structure looked more like an Eristalis and he agreed: too early for E. eligans and almost certainly Eristalis tenax.

Not sure about this little critter: it almost looks wasp-waisted but is hairy like a bee.

(Ed Wilson)