Tuesday, July 30, 2013

fearsum beastie

The awesome water boatman heading for a hapless fruitfly. This variety is safe (see link). They seem to be in every puddle just now. They must be able to fly.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

juvenile goldfinch showing the almost complete absence of adult colouring in its feathers

Saturday, July 27, 2013

cool as a rabbit

a fox trying to look innocent stalking rabbits, and a young blackbird unflustered by the camera

Thursday, July 25, 2013

nursery news

Behind the Martinot line, George Martin is getting a mouthful. Note the rather dainty white feathers on the adult bird's leg, something you don't see when they are flitting about but it is a characteristic feature of martins.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Wainscots and waves

Out doing big butterfly count today (link) for third or fourth year in a row. The meadows were bursting with meadow browns, whites, skippers and ringlets, a few silver washed fritillaries and the occasional red admiral, tortoiseshell and small copper. In amongst all these butterflies it is easy to miss the moths. Most moths (of which there are thousands of species) are extraordinarily difficult to identify, mainly because no one appears to have come up with a colour coded identification chart or web page for simple minded people. The top photo is a common Wainscot (I don't know how they get their names), and the bottom photo is probably a smoky wave (both on the balance of probability rather than certainty!).
And above is a close up of a small skipper. No blue butterflies at all again for the second year in a row.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Two dainty fairies clad in blue, and the first of this year's comma butterflies

Monday, July 15, 2013

singing post

Yellowhammers seem to become more vocal at this time of year. It may be due to the first brood practising the characteristic song as it often comes out a bit garbled. They like to find the highest point in hedges etc to sing and more and more they have started to favour telegraph poles. It certainly adds a bit of colour to an iconic piece of modern drab design.

One tattered tortoiseshell, and one red admiral spotted today. perhaps the warmth is bringing them out.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Meadow dogs

Hard though it is to believe it has been hot and sunny for almost two weeks now. This is the first spell of decent summer weather we have had since 2005. We spent this morning ambling through the meadows by the river Inny. There were hundreds of meadow browns and ringlets and I spent a long time trying to capture them on a photo to convey some idea of what our meadows are like now. This is the nearest I got (guest dog:- Meg from next door). Apart from one marbled white, a few small whites and some small skippers there were no other species of butterfly despite the warmth. However, at least a kingfisher appeared four times in quick succession, flying towards me and then up and away to give a flash of its brilliant orange breast plumage. The fish were biting, and so were the horse flies. There were several species of dragonfly and damsel fly. Always of course followed by the meadow dogs!

Saturday, July 13, 2013


swifts are the fighter squadrons of the bird world, they look like scimitars as they flash past, often in formation as below.

swallows are smaller, have much longer tail streamers, and have white breast feathers. Martins are similar to swallows but have forked tails rather than streamers. And they are nesting successfully behind the barrier!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

what it is NOT all about

the result of banking profits, destruction of the environment, no time for consultation, money before everything else.

what it is all about

meadow brown (above) and ringlets (below) mating today

Sunday, July 07, 2013

things are warming up

Above, the first tortoiseshell of the year that we have seen , and below Spot's favourite fungus, the well named and well endowed stinkhorn.

guest appearance

It seems that everyone is keen to appear on Spot's blog, including this visiting prince looking for his princess. This was a large and vigorous common frog (identified by the black mark around the eye extending to the ear behind) enjoying the warmth.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

the admiral's return

The first red admiral I have seen this summer. It was flying very briskly, so much so that the vibrations from the wing were audible.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

gilding the lily

the heart of the flower head of a guelder rose, and the oddly extravagant and unnecessary (it would seem) false flowers on the periphery.

like a needle in a hay field

the effectiveness of the camouflage that butterflies use is not always obvious when they are on the wing and showing their brighter sides. It is almost impossible to see the meadow brown in the top picture even if you know where it is, and it is only just visible at much closer range.