03 October, 2023

Return to UK

I returned to the UK on the 19th of September. I did not see a walking stick (wrong time of year), but observed numerous birds, reptiles, dragonflies, and more. San Marcos, Texas, was extremely hot (40-43C) every day. At times it was hard to breathe and many of the birds had their beaks open all the time. I was able to get numerous photos and have uploaded them already. I flew from Austin to Spokane, Washington, on a packed flight. As a result, a few days later I came down with Covid. This disease flattened me and so I lost 11 days of my holiday. The weather was cooler and I was in time for the annual Kokanee salmon run. Fantastic! The American White Pelican can be found in northern Idaho and I was able to get a far off photo of a flock. Amazing! All in all, it was a successful trip.

Posted on 03 October, 2023 14:30 by mishanook mishanook | 0 comments | Leave a comment

14 August, 2023

Visiting the USA Adventure

I will very shortly be leaving to go visit the Austin, Texas, region. I have researched what I may encounter there to photograph and contribute to iNat.
I hope to encounter the Giant Walkingstick: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/177993214. What an interesting creature!
I also hope to encounter the Striped Bark Scorpion (of course not too closely) https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/177418379
What I would not like to encounter are snakes, especially of the venomous persuasion. There are a few that are out there at this time. I will not be looking under rocks or under anything that might attract a snake as I have no experience with snakes. If I do encounter something like a Coral Snake, I hope to take a photo from a very far distance.
Butterflies and moths are in full, summer swing so I expect to encounter a variety. Also, insects such as dragonflies. A few beetles would make my day!
Birds to encounter include herons, egrets, kingfishers (2 types), painted buntings, etc. Wow! I will be very busy whilst there, I am sure.
If anyone in the Austin area has inside information that they think might be of help, please feel free to email me. All help is appreciated! Mishanook

Posted on 14 August, 2023 15:31 by mishanook mishanook | 0 comments | Leave a comment

13 August, 2023


On the 10th, I walked from a point near Netherton down towards the canal. There was an explosion (bloom?) of these tiny flea beetles. They were everywhere. I took numerous photos during my walk. The next day, I did the same walk and there were none to be seen.


Posted on 13 August, 2023 10:09 by mishanook mishanook | 0 comments | Leave a comment

24 June, 2023

23rd June 2023 - Little Tern Colony

This past week, I visited Spurn Spit to see the Little Tern Colony. My first error was that this colony is under the control of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. It is not. It is under the control of the National Wildlife Trust. As a result, I had difficulty in finding someone who knew how to get to the site. I knew that it is a protected site and that I would not be able to get very close to the birds.
No matter. I finally found someone who told me that it was at the north end of Beacons Pond. What I didn’t realize was that that was a very long walk away, starting at the Kilnsea Wetlands. I did, however, decide to ‘go for it’. The path was easy to follow until the south end of the pond (lake, really) where I had to crawl up onto a rocked barrier that was secured with heavy-gauged chicken wire because I had neglected to bring along a machete to hack my way through to the site. It was a slow go.
I came upon the warden who ensures that no one gets past a certain point. He had his telescope and was eagerly watching the birds on the other side of the pond. He informed me that their eggs were in process of hatching and that there were chicks in the nests. He said that today was the first sighting of chicks.
I took numerous photos, but of course, they are a bit underwhelming because of the distance involved. Never mind. I also noted Oystercatcher chicks running up and down the sandy shoreline amongst the terns.

Posted on 24 June, 2023 12:23 by mishanook mishanook | 0 comments | Leave a comment

13 June, 2023

Potteric Carr Nature Reserve, Doncaster

11th May 2023

I visited this nature reserve, which is one of my favourite places to visit with its numerous marshes and hides. This time, however, there was little to see. The Black-winged Stilts that had nested and laid eggs just a few weeks ago were the victims of predation (probably a fox) and so they are no longer seen at the Piper Marsh, although there are reports that they may be found lurking at one of the other marshes within the reserve. The nest, however, is gone.

I could hear the Cettis Warbler in various areas and I was able to get a nice photo of a Reed Bunting, but all-in-all, it was a disappointing day. That said, being at a nature reserve is really never 'disappointing'.


Posted on 13 June, 2023 17:10 by mishanook mishanook | 0 comments | Leave a comment

21 May, 2023

Puffins Everywhere

On the 17th and 18th of May, my step-daughter and I made our way to Bridlington, UK, with an eye to visiting both Flamborough and Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserves to see the Puffins.

Not only did we see Puffins, but we say Fulmors, Gannets, Razorbills, Guillemots (3 iterations of the Guillemots), Kittiwakes, assorted gulls and numerous perching birds. The days started out cold and cloudy, but as the days progressed, the sea gave up its spectacular birdlife. The weather was never totally warm and sunny, but was the best that could be found on the East Coast of the UK!

The Guillemots that I saw and photographed were in different iterations of that species. The first one was still in winter plumage, which was surprising considering that we were in the middle of May. The second was two examples of the Bridled polymorph. This strain has thin white circles around its eyes that stretch back as a thin white line. The third, and most prevalent, was the traditional, Common Guillemot.

I have started to upload the photos, but I have to say that it will take some time to do so as I have taken so many photos. Everywhere you looked, there was something to see.

Posted on 21 May, 2023 14:44 by mishanook mishanook | 0 comments | Leave a comment

17 June, 2022

American Mink - Devastates Sand Martins

On 15th June, I was walking the River Calder and taking photos along the way of anything that moved. I have a spot that I especially enjoy where I sit across the river from a large embankment which is peppered with Sand Martin nest holes. There is also a tree root (branch) that transects the scene. On a usual day, the branch is a favourite of a Common Kingfisher for sitting with a fish in its mouth. So, I usually sit there for up to an hour as this Kingfisher will usually appear over that amount of time.

As I was settling down, camera at the ready, I noted a brown mammal of some kind at the bottom of the slope. This was at about 15:40 in the afternoon. It was an American Mink and was at first trying to climb upwards to get to the nests. It failed and slid down and appeared to have left.

Unfortunately, it did not leave and instead, it went up top to the grassy area above the embankment and decided to climb down from above. It managed to slide down into one nest hole and quickly came back out. I was surprised to see such a large creature fit into the nest hole! It quickly climbed back up top and I noted it was now on the right-hand side of the bank edge.

By now, the Sand Martins were going berserk, flying and darting everywhere. The mink then slid down this right-hand side into one fairly large hole and disappeared into its depths. Again, I was surprised at how this very large mammal was able to easily fit into the nest hole. I waited, anticipating that it would grab what it could and come back out quickly. It did not. In fact, it poked its head out whilst the birds were harassing it from the air.

At 15:42, per my photo information, the mink emerged with a dead bird in its mouth, slid down the embankment and was off. It took about 15 minutes before the Sand Martins calmed down and returned to their normal behaviour of going into the nests, flying off and skimming the water for insects. I did not see the mink again. I also did not see the Kingfisher which may have decided not to use his favourite branch.

I have put all of my photos up and in order per the order of this journal entry.

Posted on 17 June, 2022 13:52 by mishanook mishanook | 1 observation | 0 comments | Leave a comment

17 December, 2021

Donna Nook Grey Seal Colony, Marsh Lane, Donna Nook, Louth, UK

Today I went to the Grey Seal Colony at Donna Nook. It was a very foggy day and most of my photos appear to have a 'haze' on them. Well, in fact, they did. It was around 4 C but not windy. The seals were not plentiful, but also the crowds of people were not plentiful. I spent a relaxed few hours strolling along the fenceline.

I got several interesting photos besides just the seals. The first was a cow which was helping her pup molt. the other was a Caspian Gull which was feeding on the carcass of a dead pup. Nature is so very interesting. Great day out!

Posted on 17 December, 2021 17:59 by mishanook mishanook | 0 comments | Leave a comment

03 June, 2021

Owly Sulphurs - 31 May 2021

I went walking at Voutenay-sur-Cure, France, along a field type road. In the parking lot, there were a multitude of Owly Sulphur. Everywhere I looked, they were zinging by in flight and then alighting on stems of grass. I chased one down and took several photos of it. I then marched on and chased another one down and took a photo of it! I have ended up with 6 distinct specimens from different areas on the walk and at different times.

The weather was perfect. I got to the start point at about 11:00 and it was already 23 C. The sun was out, but not so sunny that it was stifling. There was a cool breeze every now and then.

Posted on 03 June, 2021 16:41 by mishanook mishanook | 0 comments | Leave a comment

19 February, 2021

19th February 2021 - Timarcha goettingensis Explosion

Today I went for a walk (10km) near the village of Bessy-sur-Cure in the Yonne department of France. As we approached the village on a paved road, I began to see multiple examples of Timarcha goettingensis. I have uploaded 13 observations. The beetles were evident all through the village and out the other end. After that, I did not see anymore.

The weather was warm 17 C, sunny, warm, fresh. It was quite spectacular to see the population explosion of these lovely little beetles.

Posted on 19 February, 2021 18:11 by mishanook mishanook | 1 comment | Leave a comment