Holiday snaps

Finally managed to get a holiday this year (North Wessex Downs, Dorset and Isle of White) just before Sheffield was locked down again! These are a few wildlife pics - nice to see some creatures we don't get to see up here.  One of the red squirrels was on Brownsea Island and the other on Isle of White - I think they look quite different.  Anyone know if this is just sampling error or divergent evolution - I expect the populations have been isolated from each other for a very long time?!

  • A lovely set of photos. You did well to catch a Stonechat in flight.

    I understand Red Squirrels are naturally quite variable, going from the typical red to having varying amounts darker colour, almost black. The first one just seems to have a darker tail. There is a small population in Formby where I got this one who has a completely black tail as well as darker fur on its back and head. It is definitely a Red however and not a Grey.

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    Nige   Flickr

  • Great photos Mike, a little bit of greenery complements the stonechat it makes for a better composition. Love the dragonfly photo as well did you use a slow shutter speed for that one, The red squirrels are always a joy to see. I missed out when the spoonbill visited our local reserve so I have no photos of them. I could comment on all your photos they are all great well done. I won’t ask you if you had a good holiday I already know.
  • Super set Mike, I particularly like the 1st one (yellowhammer?) staring, daring you to stop him having a bath :o)
  • In reply to Nigel O:

    I'm sure you're right, I can't claim mine were representative - they were the only ones that I got close enough to to get decent pictures! I've seen much darker reds in Europe. The main differences I noticed were the second one was much more uniform in colour and has much tuftier ears.
  • In reply to PimperneBloke:

    Yes it's a yellowhammer, though I didn't realise it until after I looked at the photo later.

  • PS Can anyone confirm what the two battling young stags are? - I think they may be sika deer which I know are in that area (near Arne). We could hear them for ages in the long grass and then they just emerged and put on a great show.
  • In reply to i love robins:

    Thank you. We do see stonechats up here but they seemed to be super-abundant where we were in Dorset. The "dragonfly" was in fact just a cranefly I think - I just liked the reflections on the water (taken while we were having our picnic!).
  • Wonderful photos, Mike and that is a wonderful part of the country.  We have seen Sika Deer at RSPB Arne a few times, but the antlers on your deer seem wrong to me for Sika but more like Roe Deer antlers. But I am no expert so I await the verdict of an expert!

    Kind regards, 

    Ann

  • In reply to Gardenbirder:

    Gardenbirder said:
    the antlers on your deer seem wrong to me for Sika but more like Roe Deer antlers.

    I'm not 100% sure either but I think the tail rules out Roe as they don't have real tails (although they do have tufts). So, I think I would go with Sika although perhaps younger males as I agree the antlers aren't yet big enough for full breeding males.

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    Nige   Flickr

  • In reply to Nigel O:

    I wondered that myself, Nigel, about them possibly being young males (of some sort--lol!).  Didn't know about the tails--learn something on this forum every day.

    Kind regards, 

    Ann