Friday, 29 June 2012

All Things Bright and Beautiful.....

Or Ladies Day at HESC

It has to be said that, although the songs from a myriad of warblers, continue to ring out around the reserve, apart from the occasional bird perched on a reed or bush, generally the birders at HESC may have a thin time of it for a month or so. Particularly in respect of the main lake which is now very bare of birds.

View from the Near Hide - Not a Feather in sight.

The excessive rain since April has, as you will know, caused the water levels to rise quite dramatically at times and this seems to have taken its toll on many of the margin nesting birds eggs and offspring. Young Moorhen, Coot and Grebe are all conspicuous by their absence. Both pairs of Oystercatchers and Lapwings, that appeared to be getting down to the business of starting new families in April, look like they gave the idea up as a bad job.

Undeterred, by the lack of birds and keen to make the best of the few warm (even hot) sunny days this week and with the aim of broadening my knowledge and identification skills in both butterflies and odonata, I have, once again, been tootling around the reserve with the camera.
Pyramidal Orchid

I had been advised of the location and given permission to photograph the tiny, but stunning, Pyramidal Orchid, which I think, has made a solitary appearance this year, and on the edge of the pathways, found and snapped some Bee Orchids, which are also out in small numbers.
Bee Orchid

Further along the the pathway I spotted and took pictures of a female (orange around the wing eyespot) Meadow Brown

 and then perched amongst the grass was this pretty what I thought was an Essex Skipper (also female – no black line on wing), but have since been advised is a Large Skipper .
Large Skipper (Butterfly even though it looks a bit like a Moth) I originally thought this was
an Essex Skipper but the hooked antennal club suggests Large

The dragonflies are also becoming more numerous and in fact the Four-spotted Chasers are positively plentiful at the moment.
Four-spotted Chaser

I was very lucky to find a female Emperor ovipositing in one of the ponds (note the close attention of the curious four-spot)

and encountered a couple of, you guessed it, female Black-tailed Skimmers clinging to the grass.
Black-tailed Skimmer (female or immature male)

All in all a lot of fun and it just proves what a great spot HESC can be for some colourful wildlife, even when the birds are on their summer holidays.

All photograhps taken by and © Tony Bedford


  1. You've got some great shots there Tony.

    Sorry to say but I think you'll find that your Essex girl is in fact a female Large Skipper...the hooked tips to the antennae and the light spots on the wings are the giveaway...the Essex Skipper just has black tips to the antennae with no 'hooks'...[;o)

    1. Thanks Herald, I did wonder about that,you might also enjoy (or not) my personal blog at

  2. Liked the close-up of the Pyramidal. Perhaps that should be "Cheops-up"?

  3. Somewhat like yours truly, King Cheops (also known as Kufu) was believed to have been the ruler of a very advanced group. Unlike yours truly he was very rich and well respected.