Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius
Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me
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Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Sunday at Sandy

Went to the RSPB reserve at Sandy on Sunday morning, and although the birds seemed in short supply, I was entertained by Dragons and Damsels instead. And spent too much money in the shop.

The feeders outside the shop were a little quieter than usual, so I made my way down to the hide. It was early, so I had the place to myself. A couple of young Chaffinches making fleeting visits, and a couple of Jays, too far off in the distance for decent pictures. I sat for a while anyway, just enjoying the peace and quiet, and then a female Great Spotted Woodpecker decided to fly down to investigate what food was available.

She was soon joined by a juvenile male who was having some trouble trying to stay in a nearby tree.

It did give me an opportunity to see his under wing though, while he flapped about to hang on.

Off to my left a couple of Rabbits were enjoying some grass,

and some Manx Loghtan sheep were sheltering in the shade of a tree.

A native breed to the Isle of Man, which almost died out in the 1950's; there’s up to a 100 of this rare breed, grazing around the reserve. Both sexes are horned; the females smaller than the males.

I left the comfort of the hide, and made my way to one of the trails that leads through some heathland. The reserve is working very hard to restore a lot of this land, with some good success. And plenty of plants to see on the way; even if the birds were shy.

Thanks Rob for the ID..........Rosebay Willowherb

Common Centaury

And down by one of the small ponds, some Water Forget-me-nots.

A Kestrel glided overhead, and a Green Woodpecker flew laughingly into the woods. They never seem as co-operative as their Spotted cousins.

Eventually the path splits into two ways. One to the Quarry trail, the other to the Garden. I chose the Garden first.

A largish formal garden; lawn, shrub and borders, packed with some beautiful looking flowers all vying for attention. The centrepiece is the ‘swimming pool’;

maybe it was once, in days gone by, but I’d call it a large pond. As ever, it attracted plenty of Damsels,

A Red-eyed male

Large Red, male

And a few Dragons, out in the morning sun. Difficult to pin down long enough for a picture, although this Four-spotted Chaser did keep still for a short while.

And a Green-veined White, gently fluttering from bloom to bloom.

As I walked round the edge of the ‘swimming pool’, a few swimmers were about.

Koi Carp, following my every move, mouths open presumably waiting for food. I wondered if they ever lost any of these to the Kingfisher, who quite often puts in an appearance. Today though, he was absent.
People weren’t though. More and more were beginning to wander the poolside, noisily enjoying the sun of the morning.
Time to leave’, I thought, ‘and head for the Quarry Trail’.

But before I left, a quick ‘go’ at the constantly hovering Emperor Dragonfly, darting over the water, searching for a snack or two.

Very little to see along the Trail this morning, and hard going in the hot sun up and down the steps. One Butterfly that did catch my eye though, was this one.

My first thought was a Gatekeeper, with the two ‘eye spots’ on the wing; but the orange markings were more consistent with that of a female Meadow Brown, although she only has the one ‘eye spot’ each forewing.

I’ll put that one down as a ‘not sure’ for now, but I’d be interested if anyone can put me out of my misery.
(Thanks Roy.......Meadow Brown....female)

End of the trail, and end of my visit for the morning. Short on birds, and eventually short on money, after I browsed the shop.

An enjoyable morning nonetheless.


  1. ...the female Great Spotted Woodpecker is a gorgeous bird. I love the markings. The tree the sheep are resting under is magnificent. It is so huge...and the branches low to the ground. I don't see that too often (if ever around here!). Gorgeous.

  2. Lovely report Keith of a rewarding day out. Love all of the pictures: the female woodpecker is outstanding, as are the flowers, butterflies, damsels and dragons.

  3. What a day you had, superb images, something for me to aspire to. Thank you very much for the post.

  4. Great observations, Keith. A Woodpecker learning to hang on to a tree - nice one. I think that Koi Carp is singing.
    The Purple Loosetrife is Rosebay Willowherb, I reckon. The flower with the Green-veined White looks like a bit of PL. (I wouldn't know that except both are out around here and I've recently looked 'em up.)
    Can't fathom that Gatekeeper/ Meadow Brown though.

  5. nice woody and love the damsels

  6. Hi Keith, nice lot of photos from good old Sandy. The flutterby is a female Meadow Brown.


  7. Great great spotted woodpecker pictures - whenenevr I've come across one lately it's either been way up in the trees of disappearing into the distance...

  8. A lovely post, the Woodpecker photos are beautiful and I loved all the damsel ones especially the one with the Forget-Me-Nots. You may not have captured many birds but you made up for it with all the other photos.

  9. Thanks Kelly. The Great Spotted Woodpecker is a lovely bird, with the red splashes of colour. I think that tree is quite old by the looks of it; probably even older than me lol

    Emma, thanks for your comment. Appreciated.

    Thanks for that Adrian. :)

    Rob, thanks for the ID’s; corrected it.
    That young woody was quite amusing to watch in that tree.

    Pete, thanks. It was good to get something from a rather quiet day.

    Roy thanks for the ID confirmation. I thought it was, but the ‘wing spots’ were throwing me a bit.
    I seldom see a great variety at Sandy, but always enjoy visiting there.

    Phil thank you. The branch he’s on is close to a feeder, and most of the birds stop there before going for the food.

    Thank you ShySongbird. I think it’s a quiet time all round for birds at the moment. Thank goodness for the Damsels, Dragons and flowers, or else I’d go mad. lol

  10. Fabulous photos! you had a great day out with your camera...the birds are laying low in the heat here...you have to get up before dawn to catch them busy....What caught your eye in the shop? Inquiring minds want to know. .

  11. Thanks for taking me on another interesting trip around Sandy. Loved the flapping juv GS trying to stay upright. Can't image what you spent your pennies on!

  12. Come on Keith, Dixxe has asked the question I was dying to know, you have to tell us now :)

  13. The juv Woodpecker flapping his wings is a great capture.So is the dargonfly in flight.They are so elusive.Thanks for taking us along to Sandy.

  14. Thanks Dixxe. It was an enjoyable few hours of escapism.
    The shop is fairly well stocked with an assortment of books, dvd's, bird feeders and food, binoculars, gifts and clothes. A few little odds and ends found their way into the bag; amongst it all a waistcoat with many pockets, designed for birdwatching. Much cooler than the coat I was wearing, with equally bulging pockets.

    Cheers Frank. I always enjoy visiting Sandy, even though I tend to miss most of the 'star' birds. Sundays missed 'star' was a Spotted Flycatcher. Oh well, always another day :)
    The main purchase was the waistcoat; couldn't wait for the redesigned one from 'Country Innovations', so I got the old one.
    No patience sometimes. lol

    ShySongbird, as above. I shall now resemble a somewhat cooler human mule when I go out, pockets stuffed with gear. Only trouble is the weather has changed since I got it. :(

    NatureStop, glad you enjoyed it. I think the Woodpecker was the highlight on a rather quiet day.

  15. It's remarkable how beautiful the simple and common "things" can be. We have the same species here - woodpeckers (levely shot with the great postted one), dragonflies, butterflies and flowers and sometime I don't post such a pictures because "it's to common". Your post makes me to change my mind.

  16. Thank you Andor.
    I think we are all guilty of overlooking the 'common' ones sometimes :)

  17. Lovely stuff as always Keith. I've just returned from a couple of trips so have been away for awhile.
    Always a treat mate. Love the Woody !

  18. Cheers Nick, I'll look forward to what you have from your trips :)

  19. Wow amazing shots!!!! Wonderful work!! Sarah

  20. Sarah, thanks for dropping by and commenting, appreciate it.
    Hope to see you back again.