Sunday, 25 July 2010
The continuing bright sunshine has brought many butterflies to the wing and a saunter round the meadow last weekend produced a good sprinkling of varieties.
The Large White butterflies were the most prolific, spinning in twos and threes in their mating dance before breaking off above the swaying grasses. Over by the east facing field edge field thistles were breaking from their tightly compact buds, opening nectar bars to the insects partial to its flavour. Above Old Man's Beard clematis vitalba smothered the elder and hazel, its tender stems and fronds showing buds, flowers and down covered seeds ready for release to the wind, all stages of its reproductive cycle present. Another name for it is Traveller's Joy which my Flora Britannica tells me is a name first coined by the 16th Century writer John Gerard. He wrote -
'it is called commonly Viorna quasi vias ornans, of decking and adourning waies and hedges, where peoplerauell, and thereupon I haue named it the Traueilers Ioie... These plants haue no vse in Phisicke as yet fount out, but are esteemed onely for pleasure, by reason of the goodly shadowe which they make with their thicke bushing and clyming, as also for the beautie of the flowers, and the plleasant sent or sauour of the same',
'The downy seeds of traveller's joy fill the air, & driving before a gale appear like insects on the wing.'
'Father Christmas' is a newer vernacular name and, like old-man's beard, refers to the fluffy seed-heads. This was interesting to discover as I had thought the name had derived from the down's ability to readily takw a spark for fire lighting. Another, 'Woodbine', is a general name applied to all species of native climbers. Apparently the dry winter stems can be smoked (giving other vn. names of 'boy's bacca' and 'shepherd's delight') and so this may be the origin of the brand name of the cigarette my Grandad smoked.
|Soldier beetle - Rhagonycha fulva|
|Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus|
|Wool Carder Bee|
|a hoverfly Eupeodes nitens homes in on the landing pad|
|I have yet to identify this bee, most likely from the Andrena family|
Sunday, 18 July 2010
So I attacked the irises early on but was abruptly stopped by the sound of clashing wings and with the sound, a luminous green dragonfly erupted from the reeds in protest.
After a good half hour the dragonfly obviously had had enough of modelling and departed as quickly as it appeared.
So today I decided to evict it, but not before a photo shoot with the macro lens. Great little critters.
Friday, 16 July 2010
It went from this.....
Saturday, 3 July 2010
Tonight I crossed the ditch and quietly moved around the set aside pasture that provides a winter feeding ground for our local Barn Owl, before passing on and through a break in the hedge. Immediately I became a statue - feeding a few yards away was a leveret, totally preoccupied in its victuals.