Thursday, 24 March 2011

Past two days of SUN and horny wildlife.

Well it may only just be Spring but after the past two days (Wednesday and Thursday) anyone would have believed we were in Summer.  Yes it may of only been 14-15 Celsius but for the people that don't know me that's the perfect temperature for me before I start to bake!!  So on both days I decided to make a little time in going just a short distance from home and from work and got some nice little sightings.

Spring has sprung and all the birds are at it... literally!!!  And after work on Wednesday myself and Liz took Briony for an early evening walk in Stanley Park, Blackpool and my first sentence in this paragraph became real, when I clamped eyes on a male and female Great Crested Grebe doing there courtship display in the middle of the lake. (Click image for larger view)

Great Crested Grebe - Stanley Park, Blackpool 23/03/2011
This elaborate courtship display involves beak to beak head shaking, to fluff out and enhance the crest feathers (see below pic).  Male and Female dive under the surface to grab at pondweed, then raise themselves out of the water, breast to breast, by paddling very rapidly.  The water frothing at their feet, their bodies raised up and their heads swinging from side to side, a sight to be seen... well I believe so. (Click image for larger view)

Great Crested Grebe - Stanley Park, Blackpool 23/03/2011
On to Thursday.  Seeing as I was stuck in work and the previous day I hand not headed out during lunch, I decided that seeing as it was a glorious day I would go for a walk up the River Ribble.  I would recommend this walk to anyone on a quiet day, when there is no idiots setting fire to the side of the river bank!!!  Location below

I made a point of looking out for butterflies as its starting to be the time of year they come out of hibernation.  And not surprisingly the only species I saw was the Small Tortoiseshell, which is very common in the UK and one of the first to come out of hibernation during a warm spell.  Luckily enough this pair were at it as much as the birds were. (Click image for larger view)

Small Tortoisehell - River Ribble, Preston 24/03/2011
For anyone who has not had sex education the male is on top and the female is on the bottom (not always the best LOL).  The male is drumming his antennae on the hindwings of the female, making a feint sound that is audible to the human ear but I heard nothing.  The female may fly a little distance, with the male in tow and the process is repeated.  This can go on for several hours (lucky sods) with the couple spending alot of time basking in the warmth of the sun together.   In the early evening the female leads the male into a small patch of vegetation, usually nettles and eventually they will mate and what most women will like here is that they remained coupled until the following morning, to which the male will then do one... like SOME blokes LOL.

Anyway there is a post on the mating habits of 2 British species of wildlife and something that you can all witness IF YOU GET OUT MORE!!!! So what you waiting for... get outside, the weather is beautiful!!!


  1. Nice Small Tortoiseshell photo Neil, I've never managed to get two together like this & didn't know that about the drumming of the antennae.

    Re. the Grebes at the park, I've photographed them quite a few times doing their weed dance - trouble is the park lake seems to be bereft of weeds, so they use a gob full of soggy leaves instead - it's not got quite the same ring to it - the soggy leaf dance, doesn't look quite so attractive in a photo either as a mouth full of greenery. Still great to watch though.


  2. Hey Cliff am highly envious of your Great Crested Grebe shots. I never seem to be able to get them pin sharp as you!!!! Either eyes or lens.

    Glad I have pointed out a mating ritual to you.

    Also you missed a corking night last night when me and Dave went out looking for Amphibians.... await the post!!!