Monday, July 31, 2006

spot's lost treasures

some early puff balls, summer is showing signs of becoming autumnal ... not yet please!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Harriet's season

when the sun came out today the hills were alive to the sound of butterfly wings flapping, the blues are probably common blue and silver studded blue but very pretty against the yellow ragwort and purple knapweed. The large orange butterfly is a slightly worn out dark green fritillary.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

visitors enrapt

this morning's visitor, a young kestrel eyeing up a tasty fast food morsel at the bird table. Our surviving apple trees are cropping very heavily this year.

Friday, July 28, 2006

knapweed and marbled white

the much more common knapweed, with its hairy bracts and unserrated leaves, a marbled white and honey bee

saw wort

very like knapweed but the bracts lack the combs, and the leaves have small serrations. It was once used extensively to make dyes. It is not common, and we have only found it in this one place (Penny's piece) mixed in with the bladderseed.

tamar valley

the Tamar from Greenscombe woods, running through Luckett meadows, Devon and Dartmoor in the distance

Thursday, July 27, 2006

August moon

these activities start under the auspicious influence of the new moon (the sturgeon moon, can this be right?) Surgeon moon maybe, for all our friends in hospital.

harvesting begins

... as the fine weather shows signs of ending so the massive machines roll out to take in the harvest. They seem like great herbivorous dinosaurs plodding across the landscape, men perched on them like birds pecking at the parasites on buffalo

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

silver studded blue

... and this is (probably) a silver studded blue butterfly. We seem to have done plants and moved to insects.

and a cousin

probably a meadow grass hopper (in that it was in a meadow although when I think about it I do not lurch about so why am I a lurcher?) This picture was taken with a Nikon Cool Pix 880 on its macro scene setting so you don't need a very flashy camera to get good close ups. Even I could take a good picture.

anyone for cricket

this is a bush cricket, although I am not sure whether it is a dark bush cricket or a brown bog bush cricket, probably the latter given that this was in swampy terrain, although when I checked out the cricket link I was caught out by the variety and left feeling completely uncertain. The thing on the back is an ovipositor (I think) indicating that this is a female.

Monday, July 24, 2006

enchanter's nightshade

this picture shows the unusual two petal flower very clearly.

evening walk

another evocative image from last night's walk. We do not want to shout about what we think, we would rather whisper it softly and wait for you to come with us, join in and feel free.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


... and finally on this lovely July day, a skipper (hesperiidae), skipper for their darting about flight, this is the large skipper feeding on some knapweed in the Greenscombe meadows. Like lurchers they are described as primitive, being hairy with prominent eyes, and moth like ( as opposed to moth eaten).


this chirpy individual (probably a female) is a whinchat, very noisy and tuneful but shy. Chat by name and chat by nature

Summer evenings

summer evenings, bright hard light making the grasses shimmer in the hedgerows. Has there been a summer quite like this in recent years? And then we met the Rationalist out walking; I must say he is not nearly as scary in the flesh as he seems on the page. He told me he could see now why I got second prize ... do I do irony?


although knapweed is common it is a colourful plant. Knap means knob apparently. The bracts (the bits surrounding the petals) are marvellously complicated and shaped like little fringes or combs. Much loved by bees and butterflies. These sensible plants develop as males and then change to females, and were used to predict proximity of appropriate suitors.

small copper

not our community PC but a small attractive butterfly, feeding on some ragwort. Is it my imagination or is ragwort taking over the planet? The meadows are full of butterflies and moths at present.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

sheeps bit

sheeps bit again but a much better photo taken in the lane up to Duchy College, and showing the delicate flower structure. It is in exactly the same place as two years ago. The sound of music from Whiteford is washing over us tonight, and then there will be fireworks to celebrate my birthday, and Cassie will hide her head under the bed and Uncle Max will have a fit.

Stoke Climsland and environs

This is not perfect (you can see the joins) but this a panorama of the village looking North West taken in May 2001 (4 BS) . It is about 5 photos joined together. It shows that Stoke Climsland is an absolutely enormous village with shops and houses and parks, not the tiny village described on Spotlight ...why have they named a programme after me and why haven't I been interviewed yet?? Anyway, Whiteford is to the left but not on this view from the Church tower.
love Spot (1.1 today)

Friday, July 21, 2006

flowering nutmeg

this is an exotic species, known also as himalayan honeysuckle. There is a large specimen near Old Mill, presumably a garden escapee, and several smaller specimens in the woods nearby. It is not nutmeg of course, if only we would all be rich.

tutsan and Whiteford

toute saine in Norman French, which means all healthy. The plant has antiseptic properties and was used to heal wounds. It looks quite exotic but is a native shrub. The berries are fleshy and turn black when ripe. The leaves are said to have the scent of ambergris when dryed. It is common in this area, and especially around Whiteford where an enormous concert is being held in honour of our birthday, I think, with TV cameras and everything.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

hemp agrimony

hemp agrimony is flourishing in the heat. It is a rough and violent purgative, or made into an ointment with hog's lard. The forest of long styles make it unmistakeable. Named eupatorium cannabinum for a famous Greek.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


probably common centaury, another very pretty little flower, used extensively to cure all sorts of wounds including one suffered by the centaur Chiron, hence its name. It is very common around here but slow to flower except in this hot bright weather. These are certainly not dog days.


this slightly ragged looking butterfly is a comma, named for the almost imperceptible white comma shaped mark on the underside of the hind wings, smaller and less restless than the fritillary we saw on Sunday. By the way we were infested with ticks after our very long walk, hundreds of them, black ones orange ones red ones; it is very uncomfortable having them removed one by one, so watch out. Any ideas for the perfect tickicide? So far we have tried fairy liquid, WD40, frontline spray and spot, we refuse burning and freezing options.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


well what do I do now, actually I was checking the purity of the water and doing my seal impersonation. Did you know seals and dogs are probably very closely related and just about as intelligent as me. And we (well our wolf forebears) were here before there were any people at all, then the rivers were clean. Mum is doing her killer whale thing in the background.

Inny flow

this rock, hidden by the flow of the Inny, may be a bad sign of too much nutrient in the water. The red is due to algae, which if they bloom poison the water. Not good for a world heritage site.

holly blue

and this pretty blue butterfly, found in woodlands, with two broods a year.


another blue plant, skullcap. This one patch is deep in the woods by the Tamar. It is barely noticeable but it's in the same place every year. Skullcap for the odd little pouch shown in the close up below which is supposed to look like a roman soldier's leather pouch (scutellum)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

sheeps bit

and finally on this day of pretty blue flowers, a little patch of sheeps bit growing in Gunnislake. Lisa Chaffer told dad where to look, which was very kind of her, although he had to drive up and down through upper, middle, and lower Dimson repeatedly to find it.


and a field of borage, just waiting to be added to a glass of Pimms on this hot July evening

tansy leaved phacelia

phacelia, a strange looking exotic found in grass seed, and very abundant in this field above the village


and a field of rape and tansy leaved phacelia (the blue stuff), probably sown with the grass crop.

Friday, July 14, 2006


and turning from one proboscis to another this is an elephant hawk moth, probably small ( deilephila porcellus) but it is hard to know, that decided to volunteer to be Harriet's supper tonight. It escaped and flew off very happily to find more elephants to eat.

brother Frodo

... we paid a quick visit to see Lily and Frodo in Downgate. Frodo has had the house renamed in his honour, although Melon Frodo doesn't seem quite right to us. He is very like his mum.

a sunny day

Stoke Climsland, Duchy College, Venterdon universe as seen from Kit Hill on a sunny bright day.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


I have never seen this insect before but there were a couple at Kit Hill Quarry today. I think it is a broad bodied libellula, a member of the darter dragon flies ... in a quarry near you ...get out and see it, take a walk.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


betony tastefully set off by red grass. It is very abundant and bushy in this strange field, betoine poupre in French, a member of the woundwort family and much used in herbal medicine

noisy moths

on the betony was this largish moth which was making a very loud thrumming noise, presumably to scare us away. We cannot identify it but it has an odd yellow mark on its wing. Any ideas? Is it possibly a humming bird hawk moth? Maybe not, but it was very noisy. And it has alien looking green eyes

bladderseed field

Penny's piece, full of cornish bladderseed, betony and a hot dog.


field scabious, another common but beautiful and complex wild flower, growing in our hedgerow. Why scabious? Well, because the juice was once regarded as a cure for scabies (in Latin scabiosus) and other itchy skin complaints.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

old mill

on the path down to Old Mill. Almost everything you could ever want to know about this area is at the link, except the number of dogs who have won prizes. The lurcher environment domain of the English Indices of Dogivation 2004 focuses on the quality of dogs in the area using measures such as the quality of barking, chasing around and performance at shows. These Indices use lower level Super Output Areas which splits England into 32,482 smaller areas, and each of these areas is ranked, with rank 1 having the worst dogs and rank 32,482 the best dogs.
In these Indices the Stoke Climsland Ward is split into 2 parts - the part which contains the rest of the world and some of Stoke Climsland Parish is ranked at 11,620, and the part that contains the rest of Stoke Climsland Parish and Venterdon is ranked at 32,483.

the italian connection

eddy spinoni posing for Dad on the promise that he will show the picture to Harriet, and support Italy tonight, so "go the blues". It is not clear that I know what blue is given my dichromatic vision and lack of reference cones at appropriate wavelength, but so what the hell, France and Italy look all the same to me.

Now what about that portuguese dog called Ronaldo and his australian friend Roo?