Chicory, Crabs and Small Magpie


An evening stroll which started late (a few moments after Spain beat Portugal and booked their place in the quarter finals of the World Cup). The evening before had brought thunderstorms and some heavy rain – quite welcome after the prolonged dry spell we’ve had. There was still some blue in the sky – and some dramatic clouds – but the sun had already set and I would be once again taking photos in the dark.

The verge along cove road has been entirely colonised by tall blue-flowered plants…

I’m not familiar with this plant, and I’ve struggled a bit with my various wildflower guides. They may be chicory – the flowers apparently close, as these have, when the sun is not shining. This is the chicory whose roots are used to flavour some coffees. (Although one of my books says seeds rather then roots.) If it is chicory, I should have plenty of chances to go back to see the flowers open since it has a very long flowering season.

I don’t drink coffee these days (still love the smell though), but I never did like chicory blends. How’s this for an unusual use of a herb (quoted in Hatfield’s Herbal).

For a Woman that hath great breasts

Oftentimes anoint her Paps with the juice of Succory, it will make them round and hard: If they be hanging or bagging, it will draw them together, whereby they shall seem like the Paps of a Maid.

Succory is an old name for chicory. This may all be a bit premature given that I’m not actually sure that this is chicory. I’m feeling reasonably confident since I took a photo of the leaves:

Which are toothed and higher up clasp the stems, which fits with chicory.

Post sunset cove sky.

Along a tide-line at the top of the shingle I noticed that there were many small crab carcasses and lots of hopping insects.

On the clifftop I noticed a plant with clusters of small white flowers and fine feathery leaves. I can’t identify it and hope to go back soon to get some better photos.

On the Lots, the grass was parched and yellow, except in the hollows which were little oases of green dotted with buttercups and white clover flowers.

At the far side of the Lots I noticed a moth flapping about. When it settled on a bramble flower I decided to have another go with the flash on my camera(previous attempts have not been very successful).

This is the micro-moth the small magpie.

A larger moth fluttered past but wouldn’t settle to be photographed, but this bumblebee couldn’t have been more settled – I couldn’t decide whether it was feeding or sleeping very comfortably on a bramble flower mattress.

Chicory, Crabs and Small Magpie

More Moths

A chalk carpet.

All photos from the moth breakfast. All identifications provisional and tentative.

Buff ermine.

The background here is egg-box – placed in the traps for the moths to perch on. The black above is the plastic of the trap itself.

Light emerald.

Dusky brocade……perhaps.

White ermine.

Like a glam rock star, or Vegas period Elvis.

Foxglove pug.

Eats foxglove.

A carpet moth. Possibly grey pine carpet or spruce carpet. Can anybody help?

Pale tussock.

The cinnabar.

The snout.

Don’t know. The engrailed moth perhaps?


Common white wave and….?

Clouded border.

Peppered moth.

One of the other breakfasters, a very generous chap who gave B a marsh harrier badge, was telling me that peppered moths are his favourite because they provide evidence for evolution, and because their evolution was studied in the Lickey Hills near Birmingham.

Treble lines.

The flame.

Buff-tip on a birch twig, which is what it is imitating.

Don’t know….anyone?

Poplar hawkmoth.

Striking, like the on above – I ought to recognise it at once, but instead can’t find it anywhere in the field guide. So we still have no idea what it is.

Garden carpet.

Another fetching but unidentified moth.

There were lots more – a small angle shades, a beautiful golden Y and more which I can’t identify.

More Moths

Moths for Breakfast…..Again

Saturday was a busy day, helping to set up and run our annual village Field Day. A was an attendant to the ‘Queen’, B and S won the team fancy dress as George and the Dragon. They all enjoyed their races, especially S who wanted to run everyone else’s too. The sun shone, the bunting fluttered in the breeze, the brass band played. It was like something from Miss Marple, but fortunately without the murders. When the event was over and the field tidied up those of us who had been involved in organising or tidying up stayed on for a barbecue, rounders, water-pistol fights and football. It made for an usually late night for the kids.

Never the less we were all up early on Sunday to go to the Moth Breakfast event at Leighton Moss. Last year A and I went and enjoyed it enormously. So this year we took B and my Mum and Dad along too. B was tired and once he had tucked into his bacon and eggs, slipped his hand into mine: ‘Want to go home now Dad’.

OK – entertain me!

Fortunately, once the traps were opened he was captivated…



…poplar hawkmoth. Look at those antennae! The moth was flap furiously here and was eager to be away. I didn’t get to hold it like B, but….

  …it did land on my shirt.

Moths for Breakfast…..Again

Green ‘n’ Red

This is a ‘shiny green blow-fly’ and therefore may well be a greenbottle. Seen…well, almost anywhere, but I photographed this one In Eaves Wood on Thursday night.

I was acting as a temporary helper with a group of young people making a visit to the Pepper Pot. On the Limestone around the Pepper Pot on King William Hill I noticed….

A colourful seed-head. And another….

…which is herb robert a small but colourful crane’s-bill or geranium.

Biting stonecrop flowers were beginning to open, and……

….pockets of wild thyme (I think) seemingly growing out of the rock.

Green ‘n’ Red

Martian Sunset

I was writing a post (a couple of posts back) one evening when I glanced out of the window and lost my train of thought. Beneath a dramatically dark and overcast sky, sunshine was gilding the woods beyond the Row.

  Whilst I was outside taking photos, the sunlight moved on to Farleton Fell and also began to blush some of the paler clouds with orange and peach. It seemed like a good idea to find a vantage point looking west in case the sunset was spectacular.

And indeed sunlight was streaming under a cloud and fanning across the sky in a very pleasing way.

Martian Sunset

Yellow-Tail Moth Caterpillar

B arrived home from school last Friday with a shoe-box full of hazel leaves and some very furry caterpillars. His school favours outdoor learning and his class have been touring each others gardens. In one of them they found these caterpillars and for some reason we ended up as custodians over the weekend.

I’m fairly confident that they are yellow-tail moth caterpillars.

I don’t think I remember ever being encouraged to be curious about the countryside around me when I was at school. We did used to take frogspawn in to school every spring though, for some reason we thought that our teachers were pleased if we did.

Yellow-Tail Moth Caterpillar