The things that went wrong and the things that went right

These are the bee-eaters we could have seen.

These are the bee-eaters we could have seen.

These are Egyptian geese; notice the one on the right is ringed.

These are Egyptian geese; notice the one on the right is ringed.

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The ruby tiger moth.

The ruby tiger moth.

We think this is a sort of hawker dragonfly.

We think this is a sort of hawker dragonfly.

The comma butterfly.

The comma butterfly.

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The nesting great-crested grebe.

The nesting great-crested grebe.

First, the things that went wrong.  Last Wednesday, me and mummy went to East Leak quarry near Loughborough, Nottingham, to see if we could see the bee-eaters that had started nesting there.  On the way to the viewing point, we found a ruby tiger moth, which neither of us had ever seen before.  Its wings were a burgundy sort of colour, and its legs were a bright red and black.  When we’d got to the viewing point, we asked if anyone had seen them, but apparently, they hadn’t been seen since six a.m.  There was a very tame young robin that hopped within a few feet of you, and a lot of hedge brown butterflies, also known as gatekeepers.  There had been seven individuals, and three nest holes dug, so one of the seven didn’t have a partner.  We saw a whole group of tufted ducklings, and when they dived, they almost leaped out of the water!  They were black and very cute.  There were also some kestrels hunting, but unfortunately, no bee-eaters.  After a few hours, still no bee-eaters came, and other people began to wonder if there nests had failed because of the wet, which is not what they would be experiencing if they had stayed in Spain or the Mediterranean, where they’d be getting a heatwave!  When we were driving, I spotted some sand martins.

Now, for the things that went right.  After that, as it was close by, we went to Attenborough Nature Reserve.  We saw Egyptian geese,  and when we started walking, we quickly spotted a common tern, the first we’d seen this year.  We think we might have heard a cetti’s warbler in the hedge, but we could have easily mistaken it for a wren.  There was a comma butterfly perched on a leaf.  They are called this because they have a notch in each wing that resembles the shape of a comma.  There was even a few toadlets hopping around.  We were lucky enough to see a female blackcap in a blackthorn bush.  We looked out onto the lake, and there was a great crested grebe sitting on a nest, and we couldn’t work out whether or not she had chicks under her feathers.  This type of grebe’s chick sit on their parent’s back until they are old enough to swim by themselves.  They have black and white stripes all over their downy bodies and dark red eyes.  The nature reserve runs along side the River Trent, and while we were walking along side it, I got a really good film of a common tern hovering, but unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get it diving.  We also saw some arctic terns, which were the first I had seen in this country, and the only time I’ve seen them before is in Finland.  The only way I can distinguish these terns is that common terns have a black tip to their blood-red beaks, and arctic terns don’t.