Sunday, September 20, 2009

and a late comma

and a late comma, with very pretty markings on the border of its wings. This is the second generation, and usually they are darker. I thought this specimen was lighter but when I checked for earlier images it is actually darker which may be why the markings on the edge of the wing show up more clearly.

field full of scabious

the meadows are full of scabious. I think this is devil's bit scabious, rather than field scabious, Devon in the background. The scabious in these meadows seems quite variable and comes in two distinct colours, dark blue purple and pinkish, and some in between.

a seed is born

himalayan balsam spreads its seeds by exploding the seed pod when it is touched. The fragment is the remnant of the coiled spring after it has released the seed pod. Great fun, but very invasive.

more green from the valley

everywhere seems to be a very luscious green at the moment. This is taken at one of our favourite places to take a dip before the serious business of the long walk begins. A tree has fallen into the river adding to the sense of lush vegetation on the river; sometimes with the birds singing in the canopy it feels almost like a tropical jungle.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


goldenrod (an american import) and willowherb (rosebay) seed heads, described as tall and aggressive (!), is this fair I ask myself. Sun has shone for 9 consecutive days, this is a record.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

and a swim in the Lynher

the light shining through the trees along the banks often creates these beautiful dappled scenes

on the moor

it has been a lovely warm clear blue-skyed day today and there is no where better to enjoy the day than up on the moors. The standing stones are the Hurlers.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It is that time of year again, the martins are getting ready to go, the lanes are as overgrown as they get before the hedgerows are shorn, and the sloes are abundant.

Monday, September 07, 2009

scorpionfly - drunk and disorderly

this odd looking creation is a female scorpion fly (Panorpa communis), lacking the scorpion like tail of the male, but looking like a horse from the Andromeda galaxy. Its habits are fascinating (see link). This one was clearly inebriated and was unable to stay upright on the leaf. I suspect it had been at fermented fruit juice. They are primitive insects and may have given rise to all other flying insects.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

traveller person's wort

our first proper walk for almost 4 weeks, wading through mud, swimming, eating bur docks, and generally looning about. This little plant is gipsywort which only seems to grow in one marshy patch locally. It is a member of the mint family although it has no obvious scent (or use). The flowers in the meadow have almost gone, except for some scabious (plus hover fly),

and knapweed (plus bee, ?) although now that I look closely at the picture it could be yet another bumble bee mimic, a hoverfly called criorhina floccosa or berberina,

a very small common blue

a very small blue butterfly, which I thought might be a small blue, but on closer inspection it is a female common blue, feeding on its favourite plant, bird's foot trefoil. The small blue caterpillar feeds mainly on kidney vetch (qv) of which there is none locally as far as I know.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

little owl

A great treat was in store for us last night when we returned home. There on the gate post was a small owl. Dazzled by the headlights it sat quite still with a large worm in its mouth for at least a minute, no more than 3 feet away from us, before loping off into the dark of the giant sycamore trees above the duckpond. I always say always carry a camera precisely for these moments, but do I? Of course not. It appears very probable that it was a little owl (link), it certainly was very small, about 9 inches high. I am not sure which type of owl starred in Winnie the Pooh but it reminded me very much of the line drawings in the books. Perhaps all owls look wise when perched on a gatepost. Poor weather and immobility have meant few opportunities for photographs, so we are reduced to an exciting picture of slug dating.