August — three days in

Trying to make somewhat shorter posts – so here’s the first augustine one:

Most of the pictures on here are taken around Godfrey’s pond and the Chesterfield canal.

The pond used to be owned by a local butcher; name of Godfrey. Precisely how it came to be the council’s property, I’m not aware. Anyhow, they’ve renamed it “Sandhills Lake” but I prefer the former name. If you know where you’re looking you can see my flat off the south-east edge of the pond.
It was originally a sand quarry and I think that traces of an old loading wharf can be seen on the canal between the winding hole and Morse Lock on the non-towpath side.

Local anglers are increasing their use of the pond – can’t say I really welcome or even understand them but some are smashing people – others not.

The pond is home to quite a few bird species: mallard, coot and moorhen all breed here every year. Great crested grebe also bring up a clutch, last year there were two families; this year one pair are now sitting on their second batch, having reared and evicted four chicks already. Tufted duck are semi-resident but not breeding, although one has managed on the canal this year. Goosanders and scaup have also been semi-resident: mostly in the winter. A mandarinlink paid a brief visit last year and a couple of years ago I saw an ospreylink.
There’s usually a couple of swans – not the same pair all the time and the occasional canada goose invasion. Herons have one or two favourite places to stand – they’re easily scared off though and don’t care for anglers. Early in the mornings there’s occasionally a cormorant. There might have been a pochard pair too. We’ve one or two resident black headed gulls whose numbers are augmented “when there’s bad weather at the coast” as they say. Please use the “search” box at the top of the page to rootle around.

I should just say that it is the grebes that are to blame for me taking an interest in photography. I saw a pair doing the mating dancelink on the pond and tried to snap it with my little Fuji camera. They were too far away for a real picture and the rest is history (probably £1500 worth of history altogether!).

This year I began to take an interest in ‘land’ birds: spring was so late that the trees were bare long enough to see a lot of less common species. Siskinslink and goldfincheslink come especially to mind although a flock, over a hundred, of waxwingslink on the shopping centre car park has to be fairly memorable. There’s chiffchaffslink too – smashing little birds.

I should make a caveat: I’m new to this nature stuff, so identifying beasties is not my strong point. If I’m wrong, please tell me.

Once the leaves cover the trees, birds are harder to see, so butterflies come to the fore. After a little spurt of decent weather which brought out a few overwintering peacocks and so on, another cold spell put a stop to that.

First up as the weather warmed were speckled woods, with gatekeepers, meadow browns and ringlets following soon after. There’s also one or two cinnabar moths that live on the ubiquitous, round the pond, ragwort. Commas and peacocks are also quite common and various whites: small; large and green veined.

Saw a new one to me t’other day – a silver studded blue butterfly.

Anyhow: on with the pics:

Please click pics to see ’em bigger.
A lot of the pics have captions visible when you “mouse” over.

Thursday 1 Aug

There’s a patch of thistles in among brambles and butterflies seem to love it. The moorhens were quite young – wonder how many will make it?

Friday 2nd

There’s one or two rowan or mountain ash trees on the top of the hill: their berries are really colouring up now. There’s two views of the silver studded blue and just one of a small copper before the rather “commoner” butterflies. The family of mallards at the bottom were diving and flapping as one on the canal.

Saturday 3rd

There was a fire at the local “reclamation centre” (tip) this morning. Smoke covered the north-west of the town.



Jack the dog

Jack the dog

A guy I often see around the pond asked me, about a week ago, to snap hiis dog, Jack. The pics I took then were frankly crap! So I took some more when I met him again:


You don’t notice robins so much in the summer but they’re still there!

Robin on litterbin

Robin on litterbin

Swallows are equally tricky to snap when they’re over grass:
Swallow over the rugby field

Swallow over the rugby field

A few of the fairly common butterflies with a blue tailed damselfly whose blue tail is bent.


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