Wednesday, August 31, 2011

two items of interest


In our garden this afternoon, the enormous caterpillar of the elephant hawk moth, trying to frighten us with his evil eye trick, and below a female spider carrying her egg sac with her to ensure  the best start possible for her off-spring.



Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

a good place to visit



some of the stars of the donkey park at St Anne's Chapel (see link). It is in a good cause and good fun for small children although Spot wasn't allowed in! Mind you he is contemplating taking in some donkeys.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

morning walking 2

the otter spraint (we find it exciting, and some of us would roll in it if allowed)


there must be enough fish in the river for otters and kingfishers


arrowed for assistance(!)

morning walking 1

Sometimes as this morning a walk becomes life enhancing. The mist in the valley was just lifting as the day warmed up. The first thing we saw was the brilliant flash of blue of a kingfisher, and although we did not realise it at the time (at least maybe subliminally we did) he posed on a branch while we photographed the river. Then the meadows were full of butterflies. Usually fritillaries are very nervous but today they seemed oblivious to our presence. It quickly became clear that it was mating day and the air was full of males fighting for the attention of a few ragged females. Apart from the barrel rolling flight which is very difficult to photograph, we saw a male and female land together and the male embark on a trembling wing display before mating. And then on the way home we found some very fresh otter spraint. And the sun was out. And all was well with the world.




Saturday, August 20, 2011

natural opportunism

our old dead apple tree has suddenly flowered again. I am not sure what sort of flower this is but I suspect the seed has come from the bird seed put out in the garden, and has been dropped by one of the birds that uses the tree as a perch. It looks like a malnourished sunflower.

a band of happy followers


done with the vet, off on our hols to pastures new

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

more from the meadows


Spot taking a close look at some red bartsia, a semi parasite of grass. Maybe he has toothache (qv).The last flowers of the summer are coming out in a tangled profusion, including from the bottom up, water mint, birds foot trefoil, purple loosestrife, meadowsweet, and hogweed at the top



there was news this morning of a new initiative at Kew Millennium Seed Bank to generate seed of our native meadow plants (link). Nearly all of the plants mentioned grow locally except the harebell, although the ivy leaved harebell is found in local woods. The devil's-bit scabious is just beginning to flower (the violet flowers top left) in amongst the purple knapweed



Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fern brooch



The fantastic remnant of a darter dragonfly rests on a fern leaf like a swarovski jewel.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

muscovy sauce


Calstock viaduct at low tide, and below, in close up, a surprising resident.


Monday, August 08, 2011

for dog lovers only


her favourite toy(aka the Puppy)

meadowland


wrens flourish because there are so many insects in the meadows at this time of year. The knapweed is now the dominant flowering species locally. My eye caught this very pale bumble bee, it looks like a white tailed bumble bee but the other bands should be a brighter yellow so it may be another species.

a bird in the bush


the bushes are full of young birds although they are hard to see properly. This is a young wren. For small birds they make a lot of noise.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

it's that time of year again


It's the Flower show, it must be August again. It feels like the hand on a giant clock, ticking once a year. The criteria by which these apples came third are not clear; I would have eaten them.

the joy of flying

for some reason early this morning the paddock was full of martins flying around chasing each other and generally having FUN.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

lane warfare


On our walk this evening the lane was full of red admirals and speckled wood butterflies. They seem to take possession and guard 5 or 10 metres of hedgerow, racing up and down and fighting off all intruders. The air was full of butterflies being aggressive, and this rather battered individual was taking a breather before lurching (appropriate word for this blog) off to do some more fighting. So much for the quiet life. More like boy racers.