Tuesday, 26 July 2011

isle of wight day 8-return to the chine

Today was a very pleasant day, but it started badly! My mum spent the whole night throwing up, so we were unable to really do anything. As a result my dad and brother and I decided to go to the Amazon World Zoo just down the road, because mum didn't want to go to that anyway, while she stayed at the caravan and rested.

We walked to the zoo and when we got there looked around, although it was smaller than I remember, it was still a good attraction although some of it was being re-furbished. despite that, there was still a good variety of birds and animals, including a few sunbitterns on the terrapin pond, which was a real surprise, although still nice.

we also got views of the giant anteater, something we didn't see last time because it was too busy sleeping, and they also had a few new additions including a southern turmandua, which is one of my favourite animals.

-Southern crowned pigeon


-Bali starling

-Turaco sp.

-Southern turmandua


-Giant anteater
even though Amazon World is one of my favourite zoo's the real wildlife was waiting outside. When we got back to the caravan my mum was feeling better, so my dad suggested that they would go to a garden on the far side of the island, not far from whale chine as a matter of fact. And i decided that while they would be looking at the gardens, I would return to whale chine and try to grab a photo of a male keeled skimmer.

When I got there the weather had clouded over slightly, but it was still pleasantly warm. I decided to take some photos of the site, just to remind me when I got back about how spectacular the site was. And so here, as promised yesterday are the photos from whale chine, showing just how spectacular it is.


-Various photos from whale chine, including photos of the "pools" (the bottom ones)
Having gone through yesterdays photos overnight I was disappointed with some of my beetle photos, so decided that I was going to have to take more, and better, ones until I was satisfied. There was still no shortage of them, with about 4 every square meter.

-cliff tiger beetle

The next stop was the spiders web, to try and take some more photos without the rush of having to go and catch a bus. And i also remembered to get a photo of the web, or at least what I could see, with most of it infringed by grass. What I really wanted to feature was the weird zig-zag patterns on the web, that it seems could only be there for decorative purposes.

-Wasp Spiders web, with spider
I continued my search for dragonflies, but only found one female. I went back to the beetles, as i could guarantee I would see some, and was not disappointed, looking down there was one near my foot. I got down and took a few photos from its level.

-Cliff tiger beetle
Also of note was the number of large crickets and grasshoppers. The gorge is kind of like its own miniature world, which giant crickets weird spiders and beetles and obviously the rare dragonflies.

-Massive cricket
I walked along the raised beach platform thing, until In reached the landslide area. I had gone no further that this yesterday, so maybe there would be more male dragonflies up ahead. I could see reedbeds in clumps across there so I decided to go for it. There was a larger pond up there and there were male dragonflies, but sadly they were very flighty, and so photo opportunities were limited. luckily though patience paid off and i got some photos of male keeled skimmers-though not of the quality i really wanted.

-Male keeled skimmers
They really were quite spectacular in their own way, and well worth having a second shot at for. There were quite few, although the second photo down is only an immature male, and so is not really of the stunning blue type that i was looking for, but is nice to see anyway, and adds another dimension to the life story of these animals. Most of these photos were not really what I wanted, but as i said they were just too flighty, anyway its not all about the photos, as I got some really good views, at a high price, as at one stop I accidentally put my sandal over a black meadow ants nest, and they were not happy!

But there were more encounters to have yet. I spotted this male attempting, but failing to get the attention of a female who was rested. I watched them for a while, until the female foolishly decided to try and move perches and was ruthlessly grabbed by the male who carried her off down the ledge and presumably onto the beach.

-Male and female, only the male on the bottom pic
There continued to be hundreds of beetles and they seemed to be screaming out for me to take a photo of them, so I took more photos of them, especially the one below as it seemed more keen to attack me rather than to run away from me, allowing me to get some photos of its vicious jaws and fearsome eyes.

-Cliff tiger beetles
I returned to the first pool as i had no idea when my parents were returning and there was no signal down there, neither in the canyon nor on the raised platform. There were more dragonflies, albeit mainly females but i did find one male who i followed around, hence why there is a photo of him on two different perches. One thing you notice is that the dragonflies like to rest on the floor, maybe to absorb warmth from the floor.

-Keeled skimmer female (1st) and male (2nd-4th)

I decided that it would be better to try and stay as close to the entrance as possible, so I decide to return to the wasp spider and try to improve on yesterdays shots, but not before taking some more beetle photos!

-Cliff tiger beetle

-Wasp spider photos
I was well pleased with the new spider photos. I then decided to go up to the top and explain the signal situation via text to my mum and dad. however on my way up i spotted another beetle climbing the cliff next to me, and I realised that it would soon be on eye level with me. I waited until it was and then was able to get some photos of a cliff tiger beetle, up a cliff and at eye level with me, so I didd'nt have to get down on the floor for the photo.

-Cliff tiger beetle
when i got to the top I was plesantly surprised to see a party of four ravens on the cliff edge, my guess is that they were a family party. They were hessitant to fly but were obviously startled by my sudden appearence, and so after a few seconds left. but luckioly not before I got a photo.


Back down on the platform I spotted another cliff tiger beetle at eye level with me, and so another oppertunity had presented itself for a photo, so i took it.

-Cliff tiger beetle
after about 10mins my dad appeared coming down the path, so I took him to see the keeled skimmer males furthur up the beach, and luckily there were still a few out and about.

-Keeled skimmer male
On our return to the car I showed my dad the wasp spider. It was while we were admiring it that a large grasshopper jumped into the web. the spider reacted with unpredicted speed, wrapping the grasshopper up with sheets of web, it being so quick even the camera could hardly cope, hence the poor image quality, but either it was pretty special and spectacular to see/watch!

-Wasp spider
so ends the list of special encounters at whale chine, a pity to leave

nothing else happened today, but after wahle chine we went to look around a small town and there found a small pill millipede, my first, just to complete the day!

-Pill millipede

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