Saturday, August 29, 2009

cooking apples

we are not the only ones who like the taste of these cooking apples. The tree is a graft from a much older tree that was the victim of honey fungus about ten years ago, and is now cropping extremely well. I know it is difficult to like wasps but they are very useful.

Monday, August 24, 2009

only 184 species to go

oh the joys of hoverflies and having the definitive guide to them (Stubbs and Falk), no longer do we need to misidentify everything as "bee". This is eristalis interruptus (or something quite close), taking a shower on some angelica. Only another 184 species or so to go.

Friday, August 21, 2009

wall brown

He is still confined to the house, so we are unable to go on our usual long and exciting walks, and are reduced to photos of things in the garden. This restless butterfly is usually difficult to photograph because it rarely stays still for very long, but here it is warming up in the morning sun getting ready for a good day's fluttering.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


the common but very pretty tortoiseshell butterfly, distinguished from the rarer large tortoiseshell by the heavy black scaling around the body. There have been an amazing number of butterflies around in the last few days. Something must be going right.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

eyes in the back of your head

another close up of the hover fly. What interested me was the little shield between the two compound eyes with three little raised spots. These are called ocelli (from the latin ocelus or eye). Their function is a bit of a mystery, but they may be associated with the fly's ability to orientate itself in 3 dimensions when flying (see link). Isn't life interesting.

Monday, August 10, 2009

How long will it last ...

up on Bodmin moor, looking towards Kit Hill (just visible in the background), surrounded by the ruins, puts me in mind of Ozymandias and all his works.

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level moors stretch far away.

I am sure I have had this thought before up on this ancient and much abused landscape. Apologies for the liberties, "sands" in the original is much better because of the connotation with remorseless time.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

white tailed bee

what would we do without knapweed. This handsome chap-ess is the white tailed bumblebee, bombus lucorum. It is common, but we have never noticed white tailed bumblebees before.

8 August:- now that we have had a closer look, most of the bees around here have white tails, which shows how unobservant we are. The bee above is particularly striking.

blue butterflies at last

these are the first blue butterflies we have seen this year. Both are common blues, the top is the female. The sun has brought them out, but the heavy constant rain of the last 6 weeks seems to have had a very bad effect on numbers locally.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Greenscombe meadows

at the top is a local rarity, Cornish bladderseed, an umbellifer so named for the shape of the seeds as seen at the top left, and beneath is a photo of the brilliant red berries of Guelder rose before the birds take all the berries.

volucella pellucens is no bee

This fly has very distinctive brown compound eyes, and a black bottom, and at first I thought it was some sort of bumblebee, but thanks to G images and my excellent Illustrated Book of Insects I am fairly sure it is a male of the largest British hoverfly species, volucella. Below a small copper making a belated appearance this year

a pair of peacocks

so similar, but not identical, two peacocks feeding on knapweed and enjoying the sun this morning.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

the Flower Show 4

and some folks just couldn't care less who wins, not our sort of poodles, too small for me, could be shaggy rabbits or Yorkies or something

the Flower Show 3

It is not all about winning, either

the Flower Show 2

we have clowns and bands ( a very warm sounding brass band from Launceston)

the Flower Show

It's not all about butterflies. Our local flower show is always well supported, and takes a huge amount of effort from the organisers. The vegetables have done well this year despite or because of the wettest of wet Julys. Ann Craig, seen below, setting out the prize winners trophies has been the secretary for 34 years. At least the sun shone on this her last show.