Farewell to a friend and to July!

I don’t know what stage of life you are at but I can remember passing through various times, when phone calls brought similar types of news from different friends. First they got engaged, then wedding dates were planed and carried through, later came the birth announcements (yes I am old enough that it usually happened that way around!) followed by further births and occasionally sad news of pregnancies that didn’t end happily. But now it is different,  for one things emails or text messages are now the norm, but the sad part is that the news is often far from happy.

One such occasion recently told us first of the illness of our friend Barbara who suffered with Motor neuron disease and just a few weeks ago news of her death. We have known Barbara for over thirty years and we watched her children grow along with out own. Barbara and her husband Bruce moved away from Hertfordshire shortly before we did, they moved to Scotland and we have been fortunate to visit them there. This is Barbara with Bruce and also with me at Grey mare’s tail during our visit in 2014.

So to Scotland again we headed and on Friday morning we decided to re visit the Grey mare’s tail, fortunately nothing had changed.  The river is still flowing, the falls are still falling and the birds are still flying!

We saw ravens flying high above the falls, wheatear and pied wagtails around the river. We enjoyed our walk but the time soon came to leave and head back to get ready for the service to celebrate her life.

We were pleased to have been there and apart from the service where we met with old friends and enjoyed our stay in Moffatt a lovely town, filled with individual shops and eating places, I don’t think I saw any chain stores at all which certainly adds to the character of the place. We stayed in a nice B & B opposite the bowling green with a somewhat better view than our room in Penrith!

Due to my back which was making sleeping and moving very painful we decided to head straight home on Saturday morning and to be honest I was pleased to get home. One bit of excitement on the journey was a brief glimpse of what I am 99% certain was a Bee-eater high on a wire as we drove along the A1M, sadly we couldn’t stop! Thank goodness we saw one earlier in the year or it would have been VERY frustrating indeed.

Back to mothing last night, first time for a while and we added a few for the year. Good to see two nut-tree tussock and a rather smart Lesser broad-banded yellow underwing.

So as well as saying farewell to a good friend we say farewell to July! It has been our quietest, least productive month but we have still had a good time! Birds have been very quiet and we have in fact only added one this month, Spoonbill. Moths and butterflies have been more obliging, thank goodness!

So here are the statistics:

Birds 237, Butterflies 21, Moths 181 macro 42 micro, Dragon/damselflies 12, other insects 22, mammals 20 (n0 change), retiles still to sort  out. So for now we have a total of 535

Here come the lists!

Bird List to end of July     * denotes life tick

  1. Mute Swan
  2. Bewick Swan
  3. Whooper Swan
  4. Pink-footed Goose
  5. White-fronted Goose
  6. Greylag Goose
  7. Canada Goose
  8. Barnacle Goose
  9. Brent Goose
  10. Egyptian Goose
  11. Common Shelduck
  12. Muscovy duck
  13. Mandarin Duck
  14. Eurasian Wigeon
  15. Gadwall
  16. Eurasian Teal
  17. Mallard
  18. Pintail
  19. Garganey
  20. Shoveler
  21. Red-crested Pochard
  22. Common Pochard
  23. Ferruginous Duck *
  24. Tufted duck
  25. Greater Scaup
  26. Common Eider
  27. Long-tailed Duck
  28. Common Scoter
  29. Velvet Scoter
  30. Goldeneye
  31. Smew
  32. Hooded merganser *
  33. Red-breasted Merganser
  34. Red Grouse
  35. Black Grouse
  36. Goosander
  37. Red-legged Partridge
  38. Grey Partridge
  39. Common Pheasant
  40. Golden Pheasant
  41. Little Grebe
  42. Great Crested Grebe
  43. Red-necked Grebe *
  44. Slavonian Grebe
  45. Black-necked Grebe
  46. Fulmar
  47. Manx Shearwater
  48. Gannet
  49. Cormorant
  50. Shag
  51. Bittern
  52. Little Egret
  53. Great Egret
  54. Grey Heron
  55. White Stork
  56. Glossy Ibis
  57. Spoonbill
  58. Red Kite
  59. White-tailed Eagle
  60. Marsh Harrier
  61. Hen Harrier
  62. Pallid Harrier *
  63. Goshawk *
  64. Eurasian Sparrowhawk
  65. Common Buzzard
  66. Rough-legged Buzzard
  67. Golden Eagle
  68. Osprey
  69. Kestrel
  70. Merlin
  71. Hobby
  72. Peregrine Falcon
  73. Water Rail
  74. Corn Crake
  75. Moorhen
  76. Coot
  77. Common Crane
  78. Great bustard *
  79. Oystercatcher
  80. Black-winged Stilt
  81. Pied Avocet
  82. Stone-curlew
  83. Little ringed Plover
  84. Ringed Plover
  85. Dotterel
  86. European Golden Plover
  87. Grey Plover
  88. Lapwing
  89. Great Knot*
  90. Knot
  91. Sanderling
  92. Little Stint
  93. Temminck’s Stint
  94. Curlew Sandpiper
  95. Purple Sandpiper
  96. Dunlin
  97. Broad-billed Sandpiper *
  98. Ruff
  99. Jack Snipe
  100. Common Snipe
  101. Long-billed Dowitcher *
  102. Woodcock
  103. Black-tailed Godwit
  104. Bar-tailed Godwit
  105. Whimbrel
  106. Curlew
  107. Spotted Redshank
  108. Common Redshank
  109. Common Greenshank
  110. Lesser Yellowlegs
  111. Wood Sandpiper
  112. Common Sandpiper
  113. Ruddy Turnstone
  114. Grey Phalarope
  115. Mediterranean Gull
  116. Little Gull
  117. Black-headed Gull
  118. Common Gull
  119. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  120. Herring Gull
  121. Iceland Gull
  122. Glaucous Gull *
  123. Great Black-backed Gull
  124. Kittiwake
  125. Caspian Tern *
  126. Sandwich Tern
  127. Common Tern
  128. Arctic Tern
  129. Common Guillemot
  130. Razorbill
  131. Black Guillemot
  132. Puffin
  133. Rock Pigeon
  134. Stock Pigeon
  135. Wood Pigeon
  136. Collared Dove
  137. Turtle Dove
  138. Rose-ringed Parakeet *
  139. Cuckoo
  140. Barn Owl
  141. Tawny Owl
  142. Short-eared Owl
  143. Common Swift
  144. Common Kingfisher
  145. European Bee-eater *
  146. Hoopoe
  147. Green Woodpecker
  148. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  149. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
  150. Wood Lark
  151. Sky Lark
  152. Shore Lark (horned lark)
  153. Sand Martin
  154. Swallow
  155. Red-rumped Swallow *
  156. House Martin
  157. Tree Pipit
  158. Meadow Pipit
  159. Rock Pipit
  160. Water Pipit
  161. Yellow Wagtail (Grey-headed)
  162. Grey Wagtail
  163. Pied Wagtail
  164. Dipper
  165. Wren
  166. Dunnock
  167. Robin
  168. Common Nightingale *
  169. Bluethroat*
  170. Black Redstart
  171. Common Redstart
  172. Whinchat
  173. Stonechat
  174. Wheatear
  175. Ring Ouzel
  176. Blackbird
  177. Fieldfare
  178. Song Thrush
  179. Redwing
  180. Mistle Thrush
  181. Cetti’s Warbler
  182. Grasshopper Warbler
  183. Sedge Warbler
  184. Eurasian Reed Warbler
  185. Great Reed Warbler*
  186. Dartford Warbler
  187. Lesser Whitethroat
  188. Whitethroat
  189. Blackcap
  190. Wood Warbler
  191. Common Chiffchaff
  192. Willow Warbler
  193. Goldcrest
  194. Firecrest
  195. Spotted Flycatcher
  196. Red-breasted Flycatcher
  197. Pied Flycatcher
  198. Bearded Tit
  199. Long-tailed Tit
  200. Marsh Tit
  201. Willow Tit
  202. Crested Tit *
  203. Coal Tit
  204. Blue Tit
  205. Great Tit
  206. Nuthatch
  207. Treecreeper
  208. Penduline tit *
  209. Great Grey Shrike
  210. Jay
  211. Magpie
  212. Jackdaw
  213. Rook
  214. Crow
  215. Hooded Crow
  216. Common Raven
  217. Starling
  218. House Sparrow
  219. Tree Sparrow
  220. Chaffinch
  221. Brambling
  222. Serin *
  223. Greenfinch
  224. Goldfinch
  225. Siskin
  226. Linnet
  227. Twite
  228. Lesser Redpoll
  229. Mealy Redpoll
  230. Bullfinch
  231. Hawfinch
  232. Lapland Longspur
  233. Snow Bunting
  234. Yellowhammer
  235. Cirl Bunting
  236. Reed Bunting
  237. Corn Bunting

Butterflies to end of July

Red admiral

Brimstone

Peacock

Small tortoiseshell

Speckled wood

Green-vein white

Orange tip

Small white

Holly blue

Small copper

Small heath

Dark green fritillary

Common blue

Small pearl-bordered fritillary

Green hairstreak

Painted lady

Ringlet

Large skipper

Large white

Gatekeeper

Small skipper

 

 

Moths (macro) alphabetised

 

Angle shades

Barred straw

Barred yellow

Beautiful golden Y

Beautiful hook-tip

Blackneck

Blood-vein

Bordered beauty

Bordered pug

Bright-line brown-eye

Brimstone

Brindled beauty

Brindled pug

Brown rustic

Brown-line bright-eye

Buff arches                                  

Buff ermine

Buff tip

Burnished brass

Cabbage moth

Canary-shouldered thorn

Chinese character

Cinnabar

Clay

Clouded border

Clouded drab

Clouded silver

Clouded-bordered brindle

Common carpet

Common emerald

Common footman

Common pug

Common Quaker

Common rustic

Common swift

Common wave

Common wainscot

Coronet

Coxcomb prominent

Currant pug

Dark arches

Dark spinach

Dark/grey dagger

Dingy footman

Dot moth

Dotted chestnut

Double square spot

Double-striped pug

Drinker

Dun-bar

Dusky brocade

Dusky sallow

Early grey

Early moth

Early thorn

Early toothed-stripe

Elephant hawkmoth

Emperor moth

Engrailed

Eyed hawkmoth

Fan-foot

Flame shoulder

Four-dotted footman

Foxglove pug

Frosted green

Garden carpet

Garden tiger

Ghost moth

Great prominent

Green carpet

Green pug

Green silver-lines

Grey pine carpet

Heart and club

Heart and dart

Hebrew character

Herald

Hummingbird hawkmoth

Iron prominent

July highflyer

Large nutmeg

Large yellow underwing

Least black arches

Least carpet

Leopard moth

Lesser cream wave

Lesser broad-bordered yellow underwing

Lesser yellow underwing

Light arches

Light brocade

Light emerald

Lilac beauty

Lime hawkmoth

Lobster moth

Lychnis

Map-winged swift

Marbled brown

Marbled brown

Marbled minor

March moth

Mottled beauty

Mottled pug

Mottled rustic

Mottled umber

Mouse moth

Muslin

Nut-tree tussock

Oak beauty

Orange footman

Pale brindle beauty

Pale mottled willow

Pale prominent

Pale tussock

Pale-shouldered brocade

Peach blossom

Peppered moth

Pine hawkmoth

Plain golden Y

Poplar grey

Poplar hawkmoth

Powdered Quaker

Purple bar

Red twin-spot carpet

Riband wave

Rosy footman

Ruby tiger

Rustic shoulder-knot

Scalloped oak

Scarce footman

Scorched wing

Setaceous Hebrew character

Shears

Short-cloaked moth

Shoulder stripe

Shoulder-striped wainscot

Shuttle-shaped dart

Silver Y

Silver-ground carpet

Single-dotted wave

Slender brindle

Small angle shades

Small blood-vein

Small brindled beauty

Small dusty wave

Small fan-foot

Small fan-footed wave

Small Quaker

Small rivulet

Small square-spot

Small yellow wave

Smoky wainscot

Snout

Spectacle

Spinach

Spruce carpet

Straw dot

Streamer

Swallow prominent

Swallow-tailed moth

The flame

Treble bar

Treble lines

Triple-spotted pug

Uncertain

V moth

Vapourer

Varied coronet

Vine’s rustic

Waved umber

White ermine

White satin moth

White-point

Winter moth

Yellow shell

Yellow-tail

Micro moths to end of July 2016

 

  1. Barred marble (Celypha striana)
  2. Beautiful china-mark ( Nymphula nitdulata )
  3. Bee moth ( Aphomia sociella)
  4. Bird-cherry ermine ( Yponomeuta evonymella )
  5. Brown china-mark ( Elophila nymphaeata)
  6. Brown house moth   (Hofmannophila pseudospretella)
  7. Chequered grass veneer ( Catopria falsella )
  8. Common drill ( Dichrorampha petiverella )
  9. Common grey (Scoparia ambiguallis)
  10. Common marble ( Celypha lacunana )
  11. Common plume ( Emmelina monodactyla)
  12. Cyclamen tortrix ( Clepsis spectrana )
  13. Dawn flat-body (Semioscopis steinkellneriana)
  14. Diamond- back moth   (Plutella xylostella)
  15. Double striped tabby ( Hypsopygia glaucinalis )
  16. Elder pearl (Anania coronate)
  17. Fenland pearl (Anania perlucidalis)
  18. Garden grass-veneer   (Chrysoteuchia culmella)
  19. Garden pebble (Evergestis forficalis)
  20. Garden rose tortrix ( Acleris variegana )
  21. Gold triangle ( Hypsopygia costalis )
  22. Grass-veneer (Crambus pascuella)
  23. Large fruit-tree tortrix ( Archips podana)
  24. Large Ivy Tortrix   (Lozotaenia forsterana)
  25. Large tabby ( Aglossa pinguinalis)
  26. Little grey (Eudonia lacustrara)
  27. London dowd ( Blastobasis lacticolella)
  28. Many plumed moth (Aluctia hexadactyla)
  29. Marbled orchard tortrix (Hedya nubiferana)
  30. Mother of pearl ( Pleuroptya ruralis )
  31. Privet tortrix (Clepsis consimilana)
  32. Red-barred tortrix ( Ditula angustiorana )
  33. Rough-winged conch   (Phtheochroa rugosana)
  34. Rose tabby ( Endotricha flammealis )
  35. Small grey ( Eudonia mercurella )
  36. Small magpie (Anania hortulata)
  37. Sulphur Tubic ( Esperia sulphurella)
  38. Triple-blotched bell (Notocelia trimaculana)
  39. White shouldered house moth ( Endrosis sarcitrella)
  40. White-headed Ermel (Paraswammerdamia alibicapitella)
  41. Yellow-faced bell (Notocella cynosbatella)
  42. Yellow-spot tortrix (Pseudargyotoza conwagana) Dragon fliesGolden banded dragonfly

    Keeled skimmer

    Migrant hawker

    Black-winged skimmer

    Scarce chaser

    Common darter

    Broad-bodied chaser

     

    Damselflies

    Azure damselfly

    Large red damselfly

    Small red damselfly

    Blue-tailed damselfly

    Banded demoiselle

     

    Insects and other bits and bobs!

    1. Wasp
    2. Ladybird 7 spot
    3. Ladybird harlequin
    4. Lacewing green
    5. Lacewing brown
    6. Bloody nosed beetle
    7. Bumble bee
    8. Honey bee
    9. Snail
    10. Slug
    11. Wood ants
    12. Mining bees
    13. Froghopper
    14. Hawthorn shield bug
    15. two banded longhorn beetle
    16. Poplar leaf beetle
    17. Wolf spider
    18. Green dock beetle
    19. Green leafhopper
    20. Bee fly
    21. Green sawfly
    22. Dark bush-cricket

     

    Mammal list

    1. Rabbit.
    2. Stoat
    3. Hare
    4. Grey squirrel
    5. Common seal
    6. Roe deer
    7. Red deer
    8. Muntjak deer
    9. Sperm whale
    10. Grey seal
    11. Otter
    12. Weasel
    13. Bank vole
    14. Fallow deer
    15. Red squirrel
    16. Pine marten
    17. Beaver
    18. Daubenton’s bat
    19. Common pipistrelle
    20. Water vole

Tomorrow I hope to see a doctor and get some help with my back, if as I expect the answer is wait for it to get better at least I may get some pain relief. We really need to get on with things in August as July was a slack month, today an excellent bird has flown in to Minsmere, a Western Purple Swamphen! Now to be honest I have never heard of that let alone seen one!!! I hope it stays a while and we can add that, sounds cool I reckon! Wish me luck for August please and thank you for sticking with us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Castles

Before we left home on this trip my back was aching, I assumed due to a little over zealous gardening one day! Sadly it is feeling worse and is slowing us down a bit although actually walking is one of the best things for it which is a positive, I am hoping it gets better just as quickly.

Yesterday we went Bassenthwait lake for a walk although the path was a little overgrown!

Next came a trip to Brougham Castle, it brought back memories of a previous visit with family. The bridge by the castle had a familiar, ‘Weak bridge sign’ but this one was a bit more forceful than usual. Once in the castle grounds, looking back to the bridge the problem became clearer, flood damage.

We enjoyed a look around the castle and grounds but this time we didn’t venture up the keep…too many stairs!

 

Mainly in pursuit of lunch we visited Brougham Hall and were greeted by this fine door knocker! There are several little craft shops there and even a pottery where we were lucky to see someone making a couple of mugs. We had lunch at Bettyann’s Tea Parlour, it was tasty food, reasonable prices and lovely service so all in all we were happy!

Close to where we are staying is an alpaca centre which we popped into, it was not over exciting but good to see the animals. Why do donkeys always look so sad? I had joked with my daughter that we were going to buy one but as we left I decided I would have rather had the donkey!

Today the weather has been much brighter, in fact the sun was out most of the morning which was a treat. We headed out for Sizergh Castle, a National trust property, as we had read it is an excellent place for butterflies including several different fritillary types!IMG_7648 Sizergh castle

Well we had a lovely time but sadly, although we saw hundreds of butterflies 99.99% of them were white! The other being one red admiral and two small tortoiseshells.

Bees were plentiful too…

and the gardens were lovely and I must confess I have come back with an idea or two.

I reckon we saw about a dozen people working in the gardens and from what they said it is never ending work.

So no interesting butterflies but we did get a common darter dragonfly and we had a good day there. We took the scenic route home taking us through Windermere, Ambleside, Grasmere and narrowly missed Keswick! Sadly there seems to be nowhere to pull over to capture photos and our attempt to stop in Windermere was thwarted by the fact that the entire population of Cumbria seemed to be on the streets there. So the only pictures I got were taken from a moving car!

Tomorrow we head across the border to Scotland so we will see what that brings us.

Still in pursuit!

We’re on the road again, heading up north on our way to Scotland to share in a service to say goodbye to Barbara, a good friend.

I had kept an eye on the weather forecast and thought it worth going to the Lake district for a few days so yesterday we set off. Stopping at Clumber Park NT for coffee on the way, not a bad green house they have there!

On we went after a rather slow coffee, bit more training needed for their staff I feel! Next stop was at Mainsgrill, a farm shop/café, that will be good for a quick lunch we thought…wrong! The queues were incredible, they clearly have a good reputation. We decided to buy something from their deli insteadand eat on the go, very tasty it was too.

After checking in at our hotel, Brantwood Hotel, we decided to go and explore our locality, just outside Penrith and on local advice we found a lovely walk.

We found a pub, The King’s Arms, just a couple of minutes stroll from our base and discovered a rather tasty five bean chilli, that was me sorted! In fact I noticed a veggie curry on the menu too so we may be back before we move on.

Today we went to the Rheged Centre knowing what we were going to do when there. We had been’ with family several years ago and all done pottery painting and I wanted to try to paint a plate to remind us of our year but bear in mind I am not blessed with artistic talent!!! We did have fun doing it and all things considered I am quite pleased with it. IMG_7456 plate

Now at the risk of this blog talking too much about food I must tell you that we had a delicious lunch there. The staff were brilliant, friendly, helpful and efficient and the food was gorgeous, puy lentil scotch egg with a lovely English salad. I am going to have a go at making them when I get home, mind you it might all end in tears! I do congratulate them and unlike our coffee stop on route they clearly have excellent training, well done Rheged centre.

The afternoon was spent at Acorn bank NT, where we enjoyed a lovely walk.

Although a lack of sun meant not as many butterflies as we had hoped for we did see a few and plenty of bees. This blackbird was totally undisturbed by our closeness.

We met a lovely Australian family there and spent some while chatting to them; we covered most topics and they added to a very nice day indeed!

So nothing new to add to our lists but we are still in pursuit…honestly!

Cley-next-the-sea

Cley-next-the-sea has been a special place for me since we first began visiting Norfolk and we spent two very happy holidays in Cley itself. We stayed in the house next to the old NWT  visitors’ centre and paid lots of visits to the bird reserve and the pebble beach. In those time there was a large bank between the car park and the beach, now the weather has changed it a lot. The bank has gone, it is now flat and this shelter used to be above ground, I remember our children going into it but I wouldn’t like them to try now!

Today we headed for Cley in the hope of seeing Spoonbills, we intended to make a quick stop in Swaffham then go straight over but no such luck, due to an incident which is now known, in my mind at least as fridgegate!!! At the weekend our fridge/freezer broke, typically the next few days were by far the hottest so far this year. After failing to find anyone to fix it we decided to just buy a new one, a simple one but as long as it worked I would be happy. Our local electrical store was very helpful and the next day of shiny new one arrived, a bargain as it was one the store bought as part of a buy out of another local shop. All looked good until I tried to fill it and discovered that the salad drawer and shelf were not compatible, with them both in place the door won’t shut! Stuart, the salesman couldn’t have been more helpful but after over an hour of phone calls we still have a fridgegate situation! Seems it may have to be returned and we may have to try again but there is still one more chance of a solution on Monday so watch this space!IMG_7174 fridge door

So later than we hoped for we arrived at Cley beach car park and walked along to the North scrape where Spoonbills had been reported earlier. As we approached the blind a man was walking away so of course we asked if they were still there. There followed a good news/ bad news situation as yes they were there but due to the lay of the land all he had seen was an occasion glimpse of the top of their heads! Not quite what we had hoped for but it would be better than nothing…just! Well my walking boots were dry and mud free so I decided to hop up onto the bench, they were distant but eminently viewable.

Better than just the tops of their heads for bird 238 I reckon! There was not a lot else to hold our interest but we had noticed butterflies on our way so we went in search of them. We thought at first there were lots of Meadow browns but later realised they were in fact Gatekeepers, another little beauty.

We also saw Small skippers, they were very flighty so I only managed a couple of shots.

We hope over the next few days to get out butterfly hunting again but for today we were going to see my sister and brother-in-law. On our way back to the car we saw some ‘contemporary art’ and to be honest I thought it was ok but was slightly underwhelmed! As I walked towards it I saw that it was meant to line up with the natural surroundings and then it looked quite different and I was rather taken with it so hats off to Brian Korteling!

Next stop Janice and Chris’ where a warm welcome awaited us along with coffee followed shortly by lunch and a lovely chatty couple of hours together. Thank you J & C.

We are heading back to Scotland soon and are going via the Lake district so hopefully there will be things to report before too long…Scotland here we come!IMG_7221 thistle

 

Happy birthday to me!

Another birthday and I am thankful to be here to enjoy it, in good health. When I hear people moan about growing old it always makes me feel a bit cross as the alternative is to die young and I know which I vote for! So 65 has arrive is just fine with me, after all it does come as I am mid way through my free and easy year out!

We are intending to return to Scotland soon probably via the Lake District but are waiting to hear a date before we book anything. Therefore we hadn’t planned anything to celebrate, well to be quite honest we don’t usually go overboard on these occasions.

No exciting birds to go in search of but it was a beautiful morning so we decided to go for a walk in search of butterflies but not until we had checked the moth trap. I got some good birthday gifts in the trap today with a few life ticks! This large emerald is lovely as is the Lilac beauty which was new for the garden.

More treats include Satin moth which was only our second and new for this year and Engrailed which was another life tick and we nearly missed it as we found it later lurking on the shed wall!

It is many years since we last visited Castle acre priory and decided that today was the day to return, last time we went Andrew and Rachel were over from the States and came too, shame they couldn’t today!IMG_6810 Castle acre priory

We were so pleased that we went. it was a beautiful day for a walk and we found a few butterflies too! Our first find wasn’t a butterfly but a moth, a hummingbird hawkmoth, sadly this is the best of a very bad batch of pictures. They move so quickly that when I looked a the pictures I found many blurry, indistinguishable blob!IMG_6895 Hummingbird hawkmothHe was enjoying the lavender in the beautiful herb garden which was another bonus for me. I am just in the process of making a little herb garden at home so it was good to see what they had and chat to Jenny who was working hard in the garden. Yesterday I eventually caught up with my good friend Francesca and saw her beautiful herb garden. I came home not only inspired but hopeful that I might get a few cutting from her plants.

Back to the priory and our walk where enjoyed looking at the ruined building whilst looking out for wildlife.

We saw a Common darter dragonfly and our first large skipper butterfly along with plenty of ringlets, tortoiseshell and meadow browns.

My birthday was going well, do I look a year older?!!! The sun was still shining but we had somewhere else to be so off we went. IMG_6861 us

We popped home for a very quick lunch as we were soon heading out again to our village school. They have recently become part of an acadamy and today was the official launch, we wanted to be there to celebrate with them; it was a lovely occasion and we were pleased to have been there.

Back home as Janice and Chris were dropping in to bring birthdya greetings, they brought a rather nice plant too, thank you! We were just enjoying a cuppa when Peter arrived with the three children, birthday hugs… lovely.

More moths to see and new ones at a that,  Coronet and Small yellow wave.

Ian is busy in the kitchen cooking a nice meal to finish my birthday. Thank you for those that have sent greetings in any form, I am looking forward to seeing what the year ahead brings.

Mostly moths

Rain, rain and more rain, well that seems to sum up the past week or two! True most days have been mixed so we have had some short trips out but nothing very exciting so I thought this might be a good time to catch up with some of the moths we have been seeing lately.

July is now in full swing and typically the birds have slowed down, nothing to chase recently. It is a time I hope we would be able to see lots of different butterflies but the weather has not been very conducive to that idea, bring on some warm sunny days…please!

Here are a few shots from a walk at Sculthorpe in the week when the sun kept trying to shine but seemed to be losing the battle. The swan seemed to be a single parent and with eight cygnets I reckon she had her work cut out! Good to see plenty of Small tortoiseshell butterflies about as we hadn’t seen many yet this year.

I am still new to the world of moths, it is just about a year since we got our trap so I am slowly learning (with A lot of help from the moth group on Facebook). So excuse me if I make mistakes but please do message me so I can correct any!

The nights have warmed up and have mostly been not too wet (I guess all the rain fell in the days!) so the moth trap is picking up. Now I know that moths aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but I do think they are rather misunderstood. Forget the pesky one that flies around your bedroom and disappears when you put the light on to try to catch it, take a look at the pictures and see a glimpse at the variety. Below are; Angle shades, Brimstone moth, Barred yellow, Buff ermine and Burnished brass.

These are a few of the moths we have seen so far this year (although some of the photos are from similar ones I saw last year) there are still so many different ones yet to come. Next comes; Elephant hawkmoth, Peach blossom moth, Cinnabar, Shoulder-striped wainscot and Peppered moth.

One of the great things about moth trapping is that as for the most part it is night flying moths that we catch they are dozy in the morning when we want to look at them. They will usually just sit and have a photo taken, now if only birds would do that too! Below are; Shears, Pine hawkmoth, Riband wave, Ruby tiger and Privet hawkmoth.

Another thing about moths is that they are everywhere, town and country, inland and coastal, north and south so wherever we may go we can find moths. There is also a good element of surprise, I honestly have no idea what I will see in the morning, some nights loads come and others are quiet nights. The weather affects moths a lot, they don’t like the cold or wet (can’t argue with them there) also when the sky is too bright, full moons being worst, they are not drawn to the light from the trap, after all who can compete with the moon?! Last batch for now show; Willow beauty, White point, Silver Y, Varied coronet and White ermine.

If any of you are interested in seeing some moths please let me know, you would be most welcome to come over and see what the previous night produces. I am going to finish with one of my favourites, Buff tip, I think it is brilliant. Honestly it just looks like a little twig! nature is brilliant, moths are so varied and they manage to hide themselves in many different disguises. As well as the night flyers there are many day flying moths, more in fact than there are butterflies. Buff tip

Although we seem to have just got home we are planning another trip away and are hoping to take in the five countries that make up Great Britin…watch this space!

Before I go I must tell you about something that made me laugh. After all the recent rain, including torrential showers we had a call from Anglian Water telling us that our village was experiencing very low or no water due to low reservoirs!!! Now I was only in to hear the call because the rain was so bad. Good to know they have a sense of humour, we are just waiting for a letter announcing a hose pipe ban now!