Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Three of the best

A visit to Samphire Hoe was on the cards and when we got a call to say there was a Hoopoe down there it became a certainty for a family visit. With Jack and Josh, it was almost guaranteed that one them would be sharp eyed enough to find other interesting things.

Wasp spider (Argiope bruennich) Picture Pete Morris.

And so it turned out. While we were looking under stones for Slow Worms, Jack spotted this stunning Wasp Spider. This was a big one and it was female as the males are less than half this size. The male has a bit of a difficult time. To reproduce he waits until the female has shed her skin, to become mature and while her jaws or soft nips in to mate with her. All very cunning, but many males get eaten while mating, presumably her jaws aren't that soft!

We finally got to the end of the Hoe and followed the sea wall for a couple of hundred yards until we got to the area where the Hoopoe had last been seen. After a short wait it moved and Pete and I saw it simultaneously.

Although at times it seemed pretty inactive it did have spurts of energy while it fed among the plants. It was somewhat streaky underneath and with many feathers having pale edges we (Pete) concluded that it was probably a juvenile.

Steve Ray joined us, and after posing in various positions for a while it suddenly decided to move to the next open area. This bit didn't really suit it and it was soon off to a large grassy slope. A didn't see where it landed, but we hope that returned to be in view for the admirers on te way to see it. I've put some more photos of it on flickr

Slow Worm - picture Pete Morris

On the way back the boys were thrilled when Pete found two Slow Worms. These legless lizards are favourites of mine. Josh showed his ever growing knowledge of the natural world by showing us that it could blink, because unlike snakes it has eyelids.

1 comment:

margaret said...

The third picture of that birdie is sooooooo great. I love it. The only birds I get to photograph are pigeons and gulls and even then I can never get the cappuchino pigeon. I'm off to check out your Flickr :)