Hanging Around II

Adirondacks Day 10 (Sort of)

20220813_144258
Meadowhawk Dragonfly. There are several species – I have no idea which this is.

Almost at the end of my Adirondacks posts now. These photos were actually taken on several different days, but represent the 10th day well, because I didn’t stray from the house and garden that day. In the morning, the others went off somewhere; you’d have to ask them where. In the afternoon we were all back at the house, shooting the bb-gun, gardening, loafing, generally pottering about.

20220813_144806
Teneral – or newly emerged – dragonfly. Maybe another Meadowhawk.
20220813_144752
This was nearby – could it be the larval case?
20220815_100327
Harebells?

I remembered spotting the discarded exoskeletons of Cicada nymphs last time we were in the States. We didn’t hear Cicadas to the same extent here, but I was aware that they were out there and decided to check out the trees near the house to see what I could find. The first three trees I checked each had a shucked-off Cicada skin clinging to its rough bark.

20220815_101152
The shed exoskeleton of a Cicada.
20220815_101211
The nymph will climb a tree to emerge in its winged adult form.
20220815_101322
Here’s another one.
20220815_113525
A shy deer. There’s another one back there somewhere.
20220815_172623
Fishing-spider. I think.

I think this must be the same kind of spider which featured in an earlier post. This one wasn’t as large, although still quite big. It was sheltering on the underside of one of the paddle-boards.

20220815_172630
The small ball is the silken egg-sac which the spider has carried around, until her brood hatched. You can see her tiny offspring here too.
Advertisement
Hanging Around II

Swimming Season at Last

20220619_111607
The Dale from the Pepper Pot.

The morning after the Tigers victory over Saracens, and I was up at the Pepper Pot looking over the village. The weather doesn’t look too promising does it?

But later on, when I noticed a deer on our lawn, it had started to brighten up…

20220619_122657
Garden with Roe Deer.

By the time B returned from his shift pot-washing at the local hotel, it was glorious, and hot.

‘Fancy a drive Dad?’, he asked.

This was code for, ”Are you willing to sit in the passenger seat for an hour whilst I drive?”

B has his provisional licence, has passed his theory test, and is very keen to clear the final hurdle and gain the independence which driving would give him.

“We could go to High Dam for a swim.”

20220619_200030
Potter Tarn. Coniston Fells in the distance.

Which seemed like a good idea, except I suggested, given the late hour, that we substitute Gurnal Dubs for High Dam, it being closer to home and not surrounded by trees, so that we might have both later sun and a later onset of midge attack.

20220619_200033
Forest of Bowland, Scout Scar and Cunswick Scar, Arnside Knott, Whitbarrow.

The walk up to the reservoir was very pleasant, if somewhat warm work.

20220619_201025
Gurnal Dubs.

A work colleague, who lives quite close to Gurnal Dubs, had reported a recent swim there and that the water was ‘quite warm’. I hate to think what would qualify as cold in her estimation. It was pretty bracing. But very refreshing and, after a long period where it never seemed to warm up, a welcome and unusually late start to wild-swimming for the year.

20220619_203340
After our swim.

By the time we were out of the water we were already losing the sun.

20220619_204743
Looking back to Gurnal Dubs.

The views on the way down were even better than they had been on the way up, with the landscape decked in dark shadows and late, golden sunshine.

20220619_205047
Potter Tarn, Coniston Fells, Scafell and Scafell Pike.
20220619_205154
Scout Scar and Cunswick Scar, Arnside Knott, Whitbarrow, Gummer How.
20220619_211417
Almost back to the road and the car.

The following evening, a Monday, Little S had Explorers. He’s transferred from the local unit to the one which meets in Littledale, at the very pleasant Scout camp on the banks of Artle Beck. Usually, after dropping him off, I take B to a boxing gym in Lancaster, but for some reason that was off, so I was at a loose end, which gave me a chance to try a spot down in the Lune Valley which I’d previously picked out as having potential for swimming.

20220620_194138
River Lune. Caton Moor wind farm beyond.
20220620_194735
River Lune and Ingleborough.

It was a bit of a walk from the carpark at Bull Beck near Caton, so I didn’t have all that much time to swim, but the walk was nice enough in itself.

20220620_195455
Swimming spot.

How was it? A lot warmer than Gurnal Dubs, quite pleasant in fact. Fairly fast flowing. Not as deep as I had hoped, but just about deep enough. Due to the strength of the current, I found myself walking upstream on the shingle bank and then floating back down river before repeating the process. Not a bad way to spend a Monday evening.

20220620_201418
River Lune.

One more local-ish swim to report, though I’m jumping forward almost to mid-July and another Monday evening. After a hot day at school, B wondered whether I could give him and some friends a lift to Settle to swim. I didn’t have to think too long about that one: too far away. We compromised on Devil’s Bridge at Kirby Lonsdale, as long as they promised not to jump off the bridge.

20220711_203620
Devil’s Bridge.

Whilst they were, I later found out, having a great time, I had a wander down the Lune, enjoying the riverside flowers.

20220711_203646
Meadow Crane’s-bill.
20220711_203655
Giant Bellflower, I think.
20220711_205535
Monkeyflower – naturalised from North America.
20220710_130757
Himalayan Balsam – another non-native plant.

This one is a bit of a cheat, you can perhaps tell by the light; there was plenty of Himalayan Balsam by the Lune, but I’d also photographed some the day before, in better light, when I picked up Little S from another Scout Camp, this one down near Ormskirk.

20220711_204618
River Lune. Too shallow to swim in.
20220711_205712
Pipe Bridge carrying water from Haweswater in the Lakes to Manchester.

I had my swimming stuff with me, and found, as I thought I might, that the water under the bridge, on the right hand side anyway, was deep enough for me to have a dip. In honesty, not one of my favourite swims this summer, but it had stiff competition.

Swimming Season at Last

Stob a’ Choire Odhair

20220312_103229
Loch Tulla, Beinn Achaladair and Beinn an Dothaidh.

Our annual walking weekend in Scotland was back on the menu, after a Covid absence last year. On the Saturday, with a mixed forecast, but with the potential for clearing skies later in the day, most of the party were heading for Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh, opposite our accommodation at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel. The Tower Captain and I had ticked those off on a previous visit, and he was keen for fresh ‘bags’, so instead, we parked down by Loch Tulla, intending to climb Stob a’ Choire Odhair and Stob Ghabhar.

20220312_103535
Abhainn Shira

As we were on the bridge over the Abhainn Shira, four Red Deer stags waded across up stream – you can just about see them in the photo.

20220312_104443
Abhainn Shira and Araich

We started out in a light rain which quickly became a bit of a downpour. Not to worry, the scenery was still pretty spectacular despite the weather. Particularly the waterfalls…

20220312_113407
Allt Coire na Muic and Creag an Steallaire.

…of the Allt Coire na Muic.

20220312_120637
Aonach Eagach and Allt Toaig.

All of the streams seemed to be running pretty high, including the ones we had to cross…

20220312_120642
Allt Caolain Duibh.

The ascent route has some excellent zig-zags, which took some of the sting out of a steep slope. The rain desisted, but we soon into the cloud and a fairly strong wind.

By the time we reached the top of Stob a’ Choire Odhair it was extremely windy, the sort of wind which has you staggering about, and the wind was driving icy precipitation – either soft hailstones or hard snowflakes – into every nook and cranny of our clothing.

20220312_135358
Stob a’ Choire Odhair.

It was pretty fierce, and given that our ascent had taken rather a long time, I wasn’t at all keen on continuing to Stob Ghabhar. I was quite surprised, when I mentioned this, that TC immediately acquiesced.

We decided to drop down the ridge towards Stob Ghabhar, giving us a slightly different descent route. At one point, we dropped down a fairly steep, rocky section of path and suddenly the howling gale was stilled. The absence of the noise and the buffeting felt quite odd. We took advantage of this sheltered haven and stopped for hot drinks and butties.

20220312_152012
The bealach between Stob a’ Choire Odhair and Stob Ghabhar. TC mid-stagger.
20220312_152007
The onward ridge?

The respite was short lived however, as soon as we resumed our descent we were back in the powerful hold of the storm and staggering about again.

20220312_151348
Allt Coirein Lochain.

And then we dropped slightly below the bealach into Coire Toaig and relative peace and calm…

20220312_154744
Coire Toaig.
20220312_161022
Aonach Eagach and Allt Toaig, again.
20220312_161506
The Tower Captain recrosses the Allt Caolain Duibh.
20220312_161747
Sunshining, but more weather to come.

Despite the fact that we had a couple more showers, the descent was delightful.

20220312_162120
20220312_163611
Allt Coire na Muic and Creag an Steallaire again.
20220312_165827
Beinn Achaladair, Beinn an Dothaidh and Beinn Dorain.

Our enjoyment was only tempered by the realisation that the others were probably enjoying superb views from their chosen hills, which had cleared and were bathed in sunshine, whilst our own route, or at least the higher part of it, remained stubbornly in the cloud…

20220312_170558
Stob Ghabhar – still in the cloud.
20220312_170605

What’s the opposite of schadenfreude? Rather than pleasure found in the misfortune of others, pain occasioned by another’s good luck? Of course, the Germans have a word for it – Gluckschmerz, literally luck-pain. You can see that TC is upset by it here…

20220312_170918
The Tower Captain following the Abhainn Shira.

Actually, I think we were both enjoying this part of the walk, now that it wasn’t raining and the views and scenery were rather good.

The shed behind TC is the Clashgour Hut, a corrugated iron monstrosity which belongs to Glasgow University Mountaineering Club. It’s bookable. Maybe it’s much more comfortable on the inside than the exterior suggested, but, frankly: rather you than me.

We saw a number of Red Deer stags as we neared the end of our walk, including one in the garden of one of the remote houses we passed.

Then, as we sat in the car gently steaming and finishing off the contents of our flasks, one wandered through the car park…

20220312_174957
Red Deer stag.
Stob a’ Choire Odhair

January, High Tides and Partly Cloudies

20220101_150211

Three days at the beginning of January to finish our Winterval* break. First off, an Arnside Knott walk. As you can see, it was fairly bright, but very cloudy elsewhere, so the views were highly truncated. No Cumbrian Fells on display, and to the south…

20220101_151546

…Warton Crag looking a bit hazy, and the Forest of Bowland, usually the horizon, nowhere to be seen.

20220101_151552
Flooded fields and Silverdale Moss.
20220101_151958
Low winter sun over Humphrey Head.
20220101_154406
Sunset.
20220102_113950

The next day’s walk, our ‘standard’ Jenny Brown’s Point circuit, is represented by this single photo of high tide in Quicksand Pool. A grey day!

The next day, a Monday, in lieu of our New Year’s Day Bank Holiday, we had four Roe Deer in the garden: a male and three females.

He was easiest to photograph, since he didn’t move about too much, often sitting quite still…

P1340395

…also giving himself a thorough grooming…

P1340416

…occasionally shaking himself in much the same way a dog would, and every now and then having a bit of a snack…

P1340427

The females were much more intent on feeding themselves. They have a long gestation period and so maybe they were all pregnant and that was the reason for their greater appetite?

I took hundreds of photos, many of them very poor, but it was interesting to be watching them. I was surprised by how catholic their tastes were. We are all too aware that in the spring and summer the deer will come into our garden and eat lots of flowers, but in the middle of winter they seemed keen on just about anything green.

P1340441

Even the rather leathery looking leaves of our large Fatsia japonica didn’t escape unscathed.

Brambles and Ivy too were firmly on the menu…

P1340507

Through my zoom lens I could see the deers’ long tongues, seemingly well adapted for grasping leaves and tearing them from the plants.

Two of the does roamed the garden together, never straying from each others’ sides.

P1340540

The other female occasionally joined them, but mostly plowed her own furrow. Then she joined the buck on our lawn…

P1340510

And they sat, companionably ignoring one another…

P1340529

I’m not sure how long I would have sat watching the deer, but then I got an offer of a lift to Arnside from A, who is working in a Care Home there. It was raining a little, but the forecast was for better to come, so this seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.

20220103_114718
High tide – the Kent viaduct. Gummer How, Yewbarrow and Whitbarrow behind.
20220103_115358
Arnside Prom. This was a very high tide, the slipway here was almost submerged.

I walked around the coast, as far as the Coastguard station, from where I had to turn inland since the path was underwater.

20220103_115729

I followed the road to New Barns. The tide had receded somewhat, although the salt marsh was still inundated…

20220103_121931
20220103_122915
From New Barns I was able to follow the shore again. It had stopped raining, and some blue sky started to appear.
20220103_123802
White Creek.
20220103_124524
Hampsfell and Meathop Fell across the Kent Estuary from White Creek.

The remainder of the walk was enlivened by my attempts to capture the crepuscular rays illuminating Morecambe Bay.

20220103_125612

Today is one of those excellent January partly cloudies in which light chooses an unexpected part of the landscape to trick out in gilt, and then shadow sweeps it away. You know you are alive. You take huge steps, trying to feel the planet’s roundness arc between your feet.

Anne Dillard from ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek’

I’ve quoted this before, but, somewhat to my surprise, it was ten years ago, so I think that’s okay. I’ve been slowing rereading ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek’, which put it in mind, but anyway I’ve come to think of days like this as Partly Cloudies.

20220103_131022

When I eventually got home, the three does had disappeared, but the buck was still stationed on our lawn, bold as brass. Nowhere else to be, no calls on his time. Nice work if you can get it!

*Winterval – not a term I ever normally use, but I thought I’d put it out there and see if anyone would bite!

January, High Tides and Partly Cloudies

August: Garden Wildlife + Foot Golf.

P1340035
Blurred Long-tail Tit. All Long-Tail Tits are blurred.
P1340037
Blue Tit.

Some plants in the garden are fantastic value, not just in themselves, but for the wildlife they attract.

P1340048

I think these tall yellow daisies are Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’. Related to sunflowers, they’ve spread like mad in our garden, giving a long-lasting bright splash of colour in mid to late summer.

This is what the BBC Gardener’s World website has to say about them…

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ is known for attracting bees, beneficial insects, birds, butterflies​/​moths and other pollinators. It nectar-pollen-rich-flowers and has seeds for birds.

The long stems seem to be good places for dragonflies to rest. And they are certainly attractive to pollinators.

P1340039
Hoverfly. Possibly a Drone Fly.
P1340053
Brown-lipped Smail.
P1340057
Greenbottle.
P1340050

Marjoram also seeds itself quite freely around the garden and seems to be particularly attractive to bees. I hope this is a Garden Bumblebee, seems appropriate, but the white-tailed bumblebees are difficult to distinguish between.

P1340043
Peacock.
P1340046
And another.
P1340082
A pair of fawns, their spots beginning to fade. They came right up to our windows, seemingly unaware of the people watching on the other side of the glass.
P1340069

And, completely unrelated, TBH booked us all in for a family session of Foot Golf at Casterton golf course. As you can see, the views there aren’t bad at all.

20210813_141942

We were all a bit rubbish at the golf, but we had a good giggle.

August: Garden Wildlife + Foot Golf.

Late March

As if to prove my point that working for a living, or at least commuting to work, really gets in the way of enjoying life, my MapMyWalk account shows almost daily walks through January, February and up to the 7th of March. Schools reopened on the 8th and for the next fortnight I don’t seem to have walked very far or very often at all.

Anyway, eventually I started to get out and about again:

The 20th

P1320971
Greenfinch

Whilst chaffinches seem to be flourishing, I feel like I don’t see nearly as many Greenfinches now as I did even five years ago. Hardly scientific, I know, but worrying none the less.

P1320960
Greenfinch having a bit of a shake.

This one was having a good old spring sing-song. It was one of many birds in evidence in the hedges and trees in the caravan park at Far Arnside, but the only one content to pose for a portrait.

20210320_144201
Daffodils in the woods near Far Arnside.

I think this was the walk when I bumped into an old friend and colleague who I hadn’t seen for years. We sat at opposite ends of a bench and had a very long chat. Some of her news was sad, but it was still good to catch up.

P1320980
Green Hellebore in the woods near Far Arnside.
P1320984

As so often on a walk round the coast, it was the sky and the light on the bay which were the stars of the show.

20210320_150216
P1330003
A Common Whelk shell. Perhaps.
P1330021
White Creek
P1330022
Small Egret.

For once I didn’t go all the way around to Arnside, or climb the Knott, but at White Creek doubled back on the higher path which parallels the coastal one and returns to Far Arnside.

20210320_154800
The ‘higher ‘ path.

20210320_160557
Calves at Far Arnside.
20210320_162018

The 21st

20210321_105756

In the morning, TBH and I completed our usual Sunday trip around Jenny Brown’s Point.

20210321_165518

And the afternoon brought a trip to The Lots.

The 27th

P1330040

A Roe Deer buck in the garden. There’s still some fur on his antlers. And his winter coat is looking extremely shabby.

20210327_180938

A very grey day, I think. This photo from the Cove is a bit shy of any colour.

The 28th

P1330045

He’s back! It looks like he has some bits of moss on his antlers. My guess is that he’s been rubbing them on any available surface in an attempt to remove the itchy bits of skin.

P1330048

I’m quite surprised by the very red tinge of his antlers. I suppose that’s because they still have a blood supply, although mature antlers, once the covering skin has been shed are dead bone, I think.

P1330050

Another grey day. Another trip to The Cove…

20210328_160526

The 30th

20210330_120507

Blue skies at last! And a high tide in Quicksand Pool.

20210330_121627

The Bay is well-known for its rapid tides. On this occasion we watched what looked like some very powerful cross-currents at Jenny Brown’s Point.

20210330_121821
White Violets.

Right. April in my sights…

Late March

Four Seasons in one Week

Monday

20210118_120037

The Euros have been playing havoc with my resolve to catch up with the blog, so here’s another week-to-view post covering a walking/working-from-home week back in mid-January.

20210118_125741

On a few occasions when my timetable allowed, I wandered over to Myer’s allotment for lunch with a view. On this occasion, I remember, it started to drizzle as I sat down with my flask of soup, and stopped just as I packed up to leave.

20210118_155910
A bonus stroll, later in the day, with TBH and A.

Tuesday

20210119_163402
A wet day!
20210119_163450
A very monotone view from the Cove.

Wednesday

20210120_155519
Another wet day. I didn’t get out for a walk at all. But these Roe Deer visited the garden. One or two of my lessons were punctuated by my commentary on the wildlife and/or weather I could see through this window.

Thursday

20210121_123831
A trip to the Pepper Pot.
20210121_150316
And then the Cove.
20210121_150333
Nice reflections on the mud of the Bay.
20210121_150336

Friday

20210122_115851
Back to the Cove, yet again.
20210122_115909
The view is just a little different every time. Certainly contrasts with Tuesday!
20210122_115955
20210122_125301
Myer’s Allotment lunch again.
20210122_134943
Another trip to the Pepper Pot.
20210122_135019
20210122_135842
20210122_164846
And back to the Cove to finish the week.
20210122_165056
Four Seasons in one Week

My Parents and Other Visitors

20200803_163424
Mum and Dad on the Lots.

My mum and dad spent a week at Thurnham Hall, on the other side of Lancaster. Very generously, they booked us a few nights there too. Little did we realise then that it would be the last time we would see them this year.

P1310338
The River Condor at Condor Green.

How nice then, to get to spend some time together. Most days we managed a bit of a walk, aiming for somewhere without contours, by the Lune Estuary near Glasson, across the Lots at home, or along the prom at Morecambe for example.

P1310345
Gatekeeper on Ragwort.

We did embark on one overly ambitious walk, from Thurnham Hall to Wallings Ice-Cream Parlour on the other side of Cockerham. The long-grass in the fields and the surprisingly sodden tracks which followed were energy sapping for all concerned. Fortunately, once we’d sampled the ice-creams, we arranged a taxi for a couple of drivers to collect our cars and then return for the rest of the party.

P1310349
The Marina at Glasson.

We played ‘Ticket to Ride’ and no doubt other games, and ate out a few times, now that ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ was in full swing. After a curry in Lancaster I had a brainwave about walking back to Thurnham Hall, basing my intended route on a hazy memory of the map. It was much further than I had thought, and it was pitch black by the time I reached Galgate. Fortunately, TBH was happy to come out and pick me up.

P1310350
Bit low in the water?
P1310352
Roe Deer right outside our back door.
P1310362
The Lune Estuary.
P1310363
Sea Lavender (I think).
20200801_155000
Sculpture on Morecambe Prom, ‘Love, The Most Beautiful Of Absolute Disasters’ by Shane Johnstone. Locally known as ‘Venus and Cupid’. It commemorates the 24 cockle-pickers who died in the Bay in 2004.
20200801_155012
The view across Morecambe Bay.

Now, though we won’t see them over Christmas as we usually would, with the vaccines being rolled out, we have the real prospect of safely meeting with my mum and dad again to look forward to. Bring it on!

My Parents and Other Visitors

Harlequins, Angelica and Ragwort Honey.

P1300870
Mid-July brought clouds and rain.

In an effort to start catching-up, I’ve shoved photos from at least three different walks into this post.

P1300874
A mature Roe Deer buck in the fields close to home.
P1300879
Wildflowers in Clarke’s Lot.
P1300878
Lady’s Bedstraw.

If you click on the photo and zoom in to enlarge on flickr, you will see that, unbeknown to me when I took the photo, two of the flower heads are home to ladybird larvae, of which more later in this post.

P1300880
Fox and Cubs.
P1300884
Tutsan berries.
P1300885
Mullein.
P1300888
Feverfew.
P1300889
P1300892
P1300904
Hoverfly on Marsh Thistles.
P1300911
Guelder Rose Berries.
P1300914
A Carpet Moth – possibly Wood Carpet.
P1300916
Hogweed busy with Soldier Beetles.
P1300917
P1300918
Meadow Sweet.
P1300920
Broad-leaved Helleborine?

I was very chuffed to spot this rather small, straggly Helleborine – at least, that’s what I think it is – by the path into Eaves Wood from the Jubilee Wood car-park, because although I know of a spot where Broad-leaved Helleborines grow every year, by the track into Trowbarrow Quarry, I’ve never seen one growing in Eaves Wood before.

P1300923
Common Blue-sowthistle.
P1300927
Common Blue-sowthistle leaf.
P1300935
Dewberry.

Dewberries are fantastic, smaller, juicier and generally earlier than blackberries, every walk at this time offered an opportunity at some point to sample a few.

P1300941
Broad-leaved Helleborine.

These are some of the afore-mentioned Helleborines, not quite in flower at this point, in fact I missed them this summer altogether.

P1300946
P1300947
Lady’s-slipper Orchid leaves.

I missed the Lady’s-slipper Orchids too. Some leaves appeared belatedly, after the rains returned, long after they would usually have flowered. I don’t know whether they did eventually flower or not.

P1300949
Dark-red Helleborine?

And I kept checking on the few suspected Dark Red Helleborines I’d found at Gait Barrows, but they seemed reluctant to flower too.

P1300951
The pink gills of a fresh Field Mushroom.

As well as the Dewberries, I continued to enjoy the odd savoury mushroom snack.

P1300952
P1300958
Broad-leaved Helleborine by Hawes Water.
P1300969
Wild Angelica with ladybirds.
P1300972
Wild Angelica.
P1300976
Wild Angelica.
P1300985
Yellow Brain Fungus.
P1300988
Dryad’s Saddle.
P1300990
A slime mould?

I thought that this might be Yellow Slime Mold, otherwise know as Scrambled Egg Slime or, rather unpleasantly, Dog Vomit Slime, but I’m not really sure.

P1300992
P1300995
White-lipped Snail.
P1310002
Comma butterfly.
P1310003
Red Campion.
P1310028
False Goat’s Beard? A garden escapee.
P1310029
Inkcaps.
P1310036
Harebells.
P1310058
A profusion of Ragwort at Myer’s Allotment.
P1310045
Honey-bee on Ragwort.

Spying this Honey-bee on Ragwort flowers, I was wondering whether honey containing pollen from a highly poisonous plant might, in turn, be toxic. Then I began to wonder about the many insects, especially bees, which were feeding on the Ragwort: are they, like the Cinnabar Caterpillars, impervious to the alkaloids in the Ragwort.

It seemed perhaps not; although there were many apparently healthy insects on the flowers, now that I started to look, I could also many more which had sunk down between the blooms. Some were evidently dead…

P1310071
A Ragwort victim?

Whilst others were still moving, but only slowly and in an apparently drugged, drowsy way.

P1310053
A drowsy hoverfly.

If the Ragwort is dangerous to insects it seems surprising that they haven’t evolved an instinct to stay away from it.

P1310051
Mullein.
P1310067
Yellow Rattle.
P1310072
P1310074
Leighton Moss from Myer’s Allotment.
P1310084
Gatekeeper.
P1310089
Mixed wildflowers at Myer’s Allotment.
P1310091
Bindweed.
P1310098
A Harlequin ladybird emerging from its pupae.

The leaves of single sapling by the roadside were home to several Harlequin Ladybirds in various stages of their lifecycle. Unfortunately, the leaves were swaying in a fairly heavy breeze, so I struggled to get sharp images.

P1310100
Discarded pupae?
P1310104
Another emerging Harlequin.
P1310108
Harlequin larvae.

Fascinating to see, but the Harlequin is an invasive species from Asia, so worrying for the health of our native ladybirds.

P1310112
Rosebay Willowherb.
P1310117
Greater Plantain.
P1310118
Burdock.
P1310121
Hogweed.
P1310127
Small Skipper.
P1310132
Red Admiral.
P1310138
Melilot.
P1310135
Bee on Melilot.
Harlequins, Angelica and Ragwort Honey.

Antlers, Ram’s-horns but no Crests

P1300043
A returning Roe Buck?

Last summer we had visits to the garden from a male Roe Deer with lop-sided, asymmetric antlers. This summer it seemed like he had returned. Except the fact that this buck has only single tines on his antlers suggests that he is only one year old and therefore not the same buck that we saw last year. Maybe wonky antlers are a common complaint?

P1300044
Is he self-conscious about his unmatching antlers?

At the tail-end of June and into the start of July I made several visits to Woodwell. The recent rains had restored the pond there. The minnows are gone again: it will be interesting to see how soon they reappear.

P1300058
Great Ram’s-horn Snail?

I was glad to see that the Ram’s-horn Snails had survived the drought. Britain apparently has several different species of Ram’s-horn Snail but I believe that the others are all much smaller than the Great Ram’s-horn. I was confused by the fact that some of the snails were black and others…

P1300101
Definitely a Great Ram’s-horn Snail.

…red. I’d previously read that the red colouring is due to the presence of haemoglobin. But the black snails must surely have haemoglobin too? A little lazy internet research turned up a guide to freshwater aquariums which suggested that the red colour is actually due to a recessive gene. I wonder which is true?

P1300110
Newt – Smooth or Palmate?

What kept drawing me back to Woodwell was the presence of numerous newts. I’ve seen them there before from time to time, but never this reliably or in these numbers. Over several visits I took lots of photos – all of which, frankly, are a bit rubbish. Oh well. I enjoyed watching them, so no loss there.

P1300126

I’m fairly confident that they aren’t Great-crested Newts, but I’m not at all sure whether they’re Smooth Newts or Palmate Newts. Apparently it’s usually quite difficult to distinguish between the two. During the breeding season, the males of both species develop very distinctive characteristics and it becomes much easier to tell them apart. None of these newts seemed to show those adaptations clearly. Maybe the fact that the pond had dried out had delayed their breeding season. Even if that was the case, they now seemed extremely keen to pursue each other around the pond.

P1300140

Having looked at lots of pictures, if I had to stick my neck out, I would say that these are Palmate Newts, but with absolutely no confidence at all. It has occurred to me that it’s possible that both species were present, who knows?

Antlers, Ram’s-horns but no Crests