Category Archives: Photography


Rather than throw the honey jar away while there was still some in the bottom, I decided to leave the lid off and place it on it’s side on the Bar-B-Que. In truth I was hoping that it may attract some late night -flying moths.  However, after checking it at night for a couple of nights and finding nothing, I gave up the idea, but left the jar.

A day or two later the rain had stooped and the sun was briefly shining. I took a stroll down to the Bar-B-Que and was absolutely amazed at the number of Honey Bees and a couple of Wasps all guzzling as much as they could of the (now solidified) honey.  By the time I got there there were two dead Honey Bees and two live wasps amongst the tightly packed in ‘gang’! I watched it quite closely for a while and was surprised to see that both the bees and the wasps all ignored each other.

Honey Bees in Jar Honey Bees in Jar


The last remaining Wasp
The last remaining Wasp



Stody Estate mass poisoner gets…..10 week suspended sentence

Many of my readers will no doubt recall the case of Mass Poisoner Gamekeeper Alan Lambert. This opting by ‘Raptor Persecution Scotland’ blog will surprise many. A totally unbelievable outcome to the case, presided over by district judge peter Veits.

Raptor Persecution UK

allen-lambert-stody-estateGamekeeper Allen Lambert, convicted of mass raptor poisoning at Stody Estate, Norfolk, has been given a 10 week suspended sentence for poisoning 11 raptors (suspended for one year), a six week suspended sentence for possession of firearms and dead buzzards (suspended for one year) and has been ordered to pay £930 prosecution costs and an £80 victim surcharge.

This sentence will infuriate many. Lambert’s crimes contributed to one of the worst incidents of mass raptor poisoning in the UK. Although it’s not the worst incident, it’s right up there near the top of the list and is certainly the worst mass poisoning of raptors uncovered in England.

District Judge Peter Veits said Lambert’s crimes ‘had crossed the custody threshold’ but his sentence would be suspended. Why? Sentencing is supposed to serve two purposes. It’s supposed to be a deterrent, not only to the convicted criminal, but also to others…

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The Garden at Night – 1

I may have mentioned before that the last thing I do at night is to take our mini longhaired Dachshund out into the garden. During the spring and summer when it was dry, she would spend more and more time sniffing about and mousing. So as not to rush her too much I started looking around the garden with my torch.  I have to say, for someone who is keen on Entomology, it was like someone had opened a door into a different world.  And when I think of how long it has taken me to realise this…..

So before long the torch was accompanied by camera and flash and extension tubes and goodness know what else to try and get shot of insects that were, in some cases getting smaller and smaller.  However, all things being equal I will hopefully starting posting some of the pix here.

Today I am going to start with, what is one the smallest orb spiders in the garden Araniella cucurbitina. These guys are so small the spread the web across a single leaf in many cases.  Hope you like it.

Small Orb Spider
Small Orb Spider


I was doing some computer housework today and just having a general clean up and sort out. I found one particular photo that I took a while ago. It’s in Rogiet a small village about 5 miles from Chepstow, for those who are not familiar with area, Chepstow is where the Severn Bridge crossing is, the Gateway to Wales. However, there is a small little hideaway in Rogiet and it is owned by the Gwent Wildlife Trust (GWT) it is a very old area where many moons ago, so I believe, there was some kind of Gypsy dwelling. Later on it also became a local tipping place where the locals would take there rubbish to dump. I understand some nice little finds have been found there over the years. Especially if you are a collector of ‘say’ small tincture bottles and the like. Today is has been cleared and cleaned up by volunteers with GWT into a small nature reserve, and on a nice day it is a lovely place to go and just sit and watch and listen to nature. I have spent many hours there over the years and I have seen everything from newly born Rabbits to soaring Buzzards, not to mention 1000’s of flies of all types and sizes (great if you are a Bug person), bees, birds and a plethora of wildflowers. For those of you who live in the area, I can recommend a 20 minute stroll at The Rogiet Poor Lands site, and it doesn’t have to be a nice sunny day either. I have also been there on a crisp Autumn morning and watched the songbirds hunting for food.

A welcome resting spot to stop and absorb all that is nature
A welcome resting spot to stop and absorb all that is nature

There is no charge to go in and in most cases, depending upon time of year and day you may well be on your own where you can contemplate……..well anything really.

Hen harrier Sid ‘disappears’ in North Yorkshire

And yet again another sad story of a missing hen harrier. If you haven’t signed already please sign the petition to ban grouse shooting! If you read this Reblog to the end (it’s very short) there is a place for you to link to the petition.
Many thanks for your time.

Raptor Persecution UK

sidSid was one of the successfully-fledged hen harriers at Langholm this year. He was satellite-tagged on 3rd July and his movements have been mapped and shared on the Making the Most of Moorlands blog all summer.

In late September Sid flew to North Yorkshire. His satellite tag stopped transmitting from an area of moorland near Hawes. The location has apparently been searched but there’s no sign of Sid or of his sat tag.

Nobody will be surprised by this news, nor the proximity of his last signal to driven grouse moors. Cue outpourings of ‘sadness’ from the usual suspects and the long list of possible explanations for his ‘disappearance’ apart from the most probable one.

The petition to ban driven grouse shooting has reached 18,000 signatures. It’s time it had some more – sign here, for Sid.

Photo of Sid, from the Making the Most of Moorlands blog.

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Night Time Flyer

As I have mentioned earlier there is something quite magical about strolling in the garden at night in the Summer. Not that it would take very long to stroll around my present garden, just a regular small suburban garden. But you would be amazed at what you can find there if you have the right stuff planted and, you are not too keen about keeping it too tidy.

This is a photo of a Large Yellow Underwing moth – Noctua pronuba – that I discovered one night quite late. It was feeding on my neighbours Buddleia tree that overhangs into my garden, which I am very thankful for.

Large Yellow Underwing moth feeding on Buddleia
Large Yellow Underwing moth feeding on Buddleia


The best laid plans of mice and men! I know I said I was going to try and improve my blogging timescale but unfortunately, (or fortunately) I have had more pressing duties.

However, having said that lots of good stuff has happened in the past couple of months. One of which was me actually getting down to my local Nature Reserve (Magor Marsh) at 5.30 am twice! It has been quite a while since I was able to get out at that time of day, and the light at that time is just so wonderful and unique. It was so quiet, I was the only one there (or so it seemed) and all you could hear was the waking of nature.  That is until the the US Presidential Air Corp moved in. Suddenly it was like I was a war photographer in Viet Nam! The noise those low flying helicopters make is considerable to say the least. Of course they were all in town for the NATO Conference which was happening in Newport (Wales) during July 2014, and is about 5 miles from the reserve. But they were soon gone and it was back to just me and a warm glowing ‘Pink’ sky.

Saw lots of Dragon and Damselflies about and of course the great Kingfisher which I have posted at the top of the page. I just dropped by the Bird Hide for a few minutes, I was there no longer than 5 minutes when the beautiful bird landed on a perch, I managed two quick shots and he was gone as quick as he had arrived. I guess he was there no longer than 2 seconds!

I continued my walk along the stretch of reen (Welsh for drainage ditch) where I saw more Odonata hunting and looking for mates. I also saw a Bird box (there are many on the reserve for obvious reasons) but this one look abandoned which would have been just about right for the time of year. But then I saw a wasp fly into the box and back out again, I watched this activity for about 5 minutes and then raised the camera, zoomed right tight into the entrance hole and gave the box a very gentle tap with my mono pod that I was using as a walking aid. A wasp immediately flew out, I missed the shot and it flew straight at me and stung me just under the left eye! It serves me right, and it was his way of saying clear off! It could have been a lot worse, but he just gave me a slight sting then retreated back into the bird box .

Home of the Wasp Nest
Home of the Wasp Nest

But all in all a gorgeous morning and one I shall look forward to repeating as often as I am able.

Monmouthsire Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Since my last post I have also become a member and contributor to the Monmouthsire Butterfly and Moth Conservation. Basically I record the butterflies and moths I spot during the month and pass them on to the Monmouthshire Recorder Dr Martin Anthony. He has been a tremendous help to me and very patient in helping me to identify the Lepidoptera.


As a member of the GWT I was kindly invited to the Annual General meeting. It was nice to meet up with likeminded people who basically all have the same interest at heart, that of wildlife conservation and protection.

During the evening the prizes were presented to the winners of the GWT 2014 Photographic Competition. Unfortunately, due to holidays and other time pressures a number of the winners were unable to attend.  Having said that however, the overall winner Gavin Vella was able to attend and he was presented with his prise by GWT President Mr Roger James.

The overall winner of the 2014 GWT Photographic Competition. Mr Gavin Vella being presented with his prize by GWT President Roger James
The overall winner of the 2014 GWT Photographic Competition. Mr Gavin Vella being presented with his prize by GWT President Roger James

There was one other winner who attended and that was Ieuan Rose. Ieuan won the runner up prize in the under 16’s with a fabulous photo of two Azure Damseflies in cop.  I know a number of older photographers who would have been very happy with that pic! The next generation of Wildlife Photographers perhaps?

This young gentleman  is Ieuan Rose who came runner up in the under 16's with a great photo of a pair of Azure Damselflies in cop. He was presented with his prize by GWT President Roger James.
This young gentleman is Ieuan Rose who came runner up in the under 16’s with a great photo of a pair of Azure Damselflies in cop. He was presented with his prize by GWT President Roger James.

Just two more mentions I would like to make about GWT before moving on, is the  appointment of a new CEO Ian Rappel and the Chairman Richard Waller. Along with all GWT members may I wish them a very successful year and more to come.

Standing is the newly appointed GWT Chairman Richard Waller. Sitting immediately to his right is the newly appointed CEO Ian Rappel.
Standing is the newly appointed GWT Chairman Richard Waller. Sitting immediately to his right is the newly appointed CEO Ian Rappel.

East Scotland sea eagle chick fledges: what fate awaits this one?

I tend to reblog these posts from Raptor Persecution Scotland, mainly because I feel as many people as possible should have some idea of what is going on in Scotland as far as Birds of Prey are concerned. When will this Government ever do something for the people?…..No NOT the people who own the Grouse moors and who donate to the Government coffers. I mean the ordinary person, people like me who just love wildlife and want to enjoy the countryside, and probably more importantly, ensure that there is something for my grandchildren to enjoy.
We must call for stiffer penalties for those convicted of crimes against nature. Especially those who are employed in the countryside and are supposed to love it, not poison Eagles and buzzards and the like. Take their licenses off them, both trading and shotgun/firearm licenses. Stop them working in the industry. And the Gamekeepers I have met in my time would never resort to the kind of tactics that these Scottish types are up to.

Raptor Persecution UK

For the second consecutive year, a young white-tailed eagle has successfully fledged from a nest in east Scotland.

His sibling, who hatched in 2013, un-mysteriously ‘disappeared’ earlier this year in a notorious raptor persecution blackspot in the Cairngorms National Park (see here and here). He was the first sea eagle to fledge in east Scotland in over 200 years but he didn’t even survive to see his first birthday. His satellite transmitter went silent after he’d visited a driven grouse moor where previously a head gamekeeper had been convicted of poisoning offences (2006), a poisoned golden eagle had been found in 2011 (no prosecution), a poisoned buzzard had been found in 2011 (no prosecution), poisoned bait had been discovered in 2011 (no prosecution) and a short-eared owl had been found in 2011 that had been shot and shoved underneath a rock (no prosecution). The police raided the estate in…

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