Sunday, August 25, 2013

a magic day

We went for a walk along the Lynher below Golberdon this morning with Charlie, a young member of Spot's human family. We saw some common blue butterflies, some dragonflies and a hornet, all very interesting, but then we saw 4 kingfishers all in a little group flying towards us and then around the banks before eventually this one perched on a branch above the river.... magic!! This must be the second brood of the year, and the young must have just fledged as the adults usually drive the young away after a couple of days.

Oh, and the joys of mucking about in the river!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

no blood on the tracks

this is the bloody nosed beetle, so named because of its habit of exuding foul smelling red coloured fluid from its mouth when annoyed (see link). This specimen was not sufficiently annoyed by us to do anything more than wave an antenna somewhat feebly in our direction.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

clouded arrival

Yesterday was a dreary wet day so I read the morning newspaper more thoroughly than usual. In it, Simon Barnes, sports writer and naturalist, wrote an article (link) in which he described the pleasure  of watching birds and butterflies with his young son, Eddie, who happens to have Downs.They are holidaying somewhere on the coast further west in Cornwall. He reported seeing several clouded yellows, an occasional migrant from Southern Europe, and not for the first time I felt quite envious of him. Lo and behold we saw several today on our walk, the first I have ever seen locally. They are very skittish and almost always fold up their wings at rest, which is a pity because the black edged pattern on the upper surface of the wings is quite striking.

There were also a lot of common (but not so common) blues around.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

butterfly heaven

the meadows were teeming with butterflies again today including this handsome painted lady, the first one I have seen this year.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

white hot

Not the most popular sight, I guess, large white female (butterfly that is!) preparing to mate with male. She has two dark spots on upper surface of fore wing, he only has two paler spots on lower surface. Both have prominent black tips to wings. There is a ragged comma in the background.

one white one, one black one

earlier in the year we reported the arrival of two new ducks, Jemima and Chloe, to join Francis and Elizabeth (see duck label). Sadly this did not go well because the drake behaved very aggressively to the two smaller ducklings. Eventually they had to be rescued, and after a short sojourn in a neighbour's garden they were given to a farm park at New Mills (see link), at the end of the Launceston Steam Railway line (see previous page). They have settled in well and seem to believe that they are Shetland ducks. Photo by Jo Edwards, thank you!

volunteer food

Slightly blurred through the safety fence, the lioness is looking forward to tea.

At DZP 2 (link)

Burning bright at Dartmoor Zoological Park (DZP)

A few of the animals to be seen at the DZP, at Sparkwell near Plymouth (link), the story of which was told in the film  "We bought a zoo". Keeping animals in captivity, especially large animals like tigers, is always questionable but this is a small, friendly, slightly unkempt zoo with seemingly very content animals and warm friendly staff.  The amur tigers are under extreme pressure in the wild from loss of habitat, and use of their powdered bones and other parts in Chinese so called medicines. The tiger is eating meat from Dartmoor ponies culled during the autumn round ups. They are magnificent beasts and to see them so close up in an open enclosure is breathtaking. This is a fun day out at a very reasonable cost and it has a good spacious restaurant.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

done fightin'

It is amazing that this tattered male silver washed fritillary could still fly but it could, and it was recharging for another day's battle. Its dilapidated state is in sharp contrast to the sharp edges and bright colours of a newly hatched red admiral.

one blue

the first and only blue I have seen this year. I have am not sure what the insect below is called but it looks very odd! I think it is called the garden pebble (evergestis forficalis) and is a common pest of cultivated gardens.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

the mysteries of Judgement

at Stoke Climsland Flower Show 2013, spared by the rain, blessed by a huge entry and a happy gathering. It's not the winning but the eating that matters.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Thursday, August 01, 2013

something from the dark side

 It was butterfly heaven in the meadows today. Above is a peacock feeding on knapweed, showing the stark contrast between its colorful upper wings and dark under wings. Below is a silver washed fritillary.