Wednesday, May 8, 2013

So we have finally been blessed with some decent weather! Combining this with the fifteen hours of light per day and things are pretty good. I took the above picture on Appletree Beach waiting for the sun to go down and didn't see a soul. I caught myself out and got down about an hour too early and decided to head up to the Monument half way down Cliff Field Road. Standing proud in the gorse I came across a Stonechat that was happy to pose for the camera.
You can see these guys dotted all around the island but especially on the South end of the island past the heliport. They are easy to see as they often stand proud on the top of bushes and shrubs and make a noise like two stones being rubbed together, hence the name. This one is a male whereas the female is a duller brown colour.
Dunnocks or Hedge Sparrows are very common and often overlooked. They are all over the island and look similar to our more than abundant House Sparrows. The females are rather mischievous and often court multiple males even while already mated. This fools the unwitting suitors into keeping her and her chicks well stocked up with food as they all continue to provide for her offspring.
Once the sun did set I did the wise thing and looked at it through my zoom lens. You can see the 'melting effect'  mirage at the bottom of the sun as it seems to flow into the horizon. This effect is called an Ertuscan Vase Sunset (although not the best example) and is to do with the refraction of light of the warmer air over the cool sea.
After hearing this cuckoo calling for hours outside my window I decided to find him. This is the first time I ever saw one and although I didn't get a clear view I was quite happy. I think they have all moved on now but if you can hear them calling from a long way away and if you are lucky you could see one standing proud and bellowing out its familiar call.
Our ducklings down by the Island Office end of the Great Pool seem to be getting on happily and are growing fast. This picture is of mum just having a stretch while the very buoyant little guys try to learn how to dive for food.
In the same area I saw a Swans nest with eggs although no adult tending to it. It seems to have been abandoned for the last couple of days. I have no idea why it doesn't look good. On the plus side in the distance I saw some new parents taking their two cygnets out on the pool. Unfortunately they were too far away to photograph but I shall certainly be back again....
And that's it for now. Time for bed.