Thursday, August 30, 2012

Azores Common Dolphins (part 2)

Finally managed to upload some more photos of the fabulous Common Dolphins seen off the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores. Hope you enjoy looking at them.

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Risso's Dolphins in the Azores

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Llandegla Mountain Biking

Zipped out to Llandegla in North Wales yesterday for a spot of mountain biking. The day warmed up quite nicely and by the afternoon we were seeing good numbers of Peacock butterflies, Black Darter dragonflies and even a Common Lizard scrambling around in the top of the heather - wish I'd taken my Canon camera and macro lens! Hopefully the weather will be warm enough next weekend for a return visit. Biked the blue trail then rode some jumps and drops.

Me, near the Black Grouse sculptures.
Black Darter - record shot with compact camera.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Common Dolphins in the Azores (part1)

Common Dolphin is such an undistinguished name for what is a truly fabulous animal. The Common Dolphins in the Azores are the Short-beaked species and they are engaging, delightfully agile, and downright beautiful animals. I hope these photos from my recent trip manage to capture some of their beauty.



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Summer Days

I had a few days off last week after my holiday in the Azores and I visited North Wales on a number of occasions; once mountain biking at Llandegla, then a walk up Tryfan in Snowdonia followed by a walk to Aber Falls with my family.
Here are a few recent images. More Azores dolphin photos coming soon.

Dung Beetle at Aber Falls, North Wales.

Juvenile Common Cuckoo at Meols, Wirral. It was great to see
this bird not far from my home as they are sadly declining in

Common Blue Damselfly at Cors Bodgynydd, Gwynedd. There
were plenty of Keeled Skimmers on the wing at this Welsh
Wildlife Trust reserve, but none came close enough for photos.

This is me on the Cannon (again!) on the
climb up Tryfan in beautiful Snowdonia.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Risso's Dolphins in the Azores

On my five dolphin watching trips from the island of San Miguel in the Azores at least two produced sightings of Risso's Dolphins, including a scattered party of about ten animals. Unlike Common Dolphins, the Risso's are shy and don't usually come close to the boat. They are quite big and lack a prominent beak. Interestingly, they are born black but as they age they become progressively paler turning almost white; they also acquire extensive scarring which is thought to be a result of encounters with other Risso's Dolphins.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wildlife of the Azores

My week on the island of San Miguel in the Azores was mainly spent on the dolphin watching boats, but I tried to photograph some of the other wildlife when the chance arose. I was surprised that the Azorean Yellow-legged gulls (race atlantis) were not interested in the bread that I tried to tempt them with, they obviously have a better diet than my local gulls. So although this was the most numerous species around the harbour in Ponta Delgada, photographic opportunities for this species were limited. The dolphins were such a draw that I also didn't find time to visit the areas where the endemic Azores Bullfinch could be found; but that's a good excuse for a return trip.

Cory's Shearwaters were seen in good numbers from the
dolphin-watching boats.

Male Canary at Lagoa Furnas.

Clouded Yellow photographed at Lagoa Furnas.

Loggerhead Turtle photographed on a dolphin-watching trip.
It was about the size of a dinner plate, a lot smaller than my
last Loggerhead in Turkey, but fab nevertheless. Note the small
fish taking refuge underneath. This turtle kept its fore flippers on
the back of its shell while close to the boat, then paddled away
strongly once it was at a safe distance; probably a defensive

Red-veined Darter. This beautiful dragonfly was photographed
on the shore of Lagoa Verde, the "Green Lake" at Sete Cidades.

Madeiran Wall Lizard, naturalised after
involuntary introduction. Lots of these were
seen on volcanic rocks near Sao Roque.

Azorean Yellow-legged Gull moulting into third winter
plumage (I think!) in Ponta Delgada Marina.

Juvenile Azorean Yellow-legged Gulls.

European Robin at Caldeira Velha.

Male Chaffinch of the race moreletti, photographed at Caldeira