Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Summers Evening

Had a power cut yesterday from early afternoon till 3.50am so instead of watching telly we sat outside, reading by candlelight after dusk. Lots of moths, midges and bats and has made us definitely want to watch much less telly at least while its still warm. The swallows are gathering nest material so they must be planning a second brood, they have already raised five young. We had an evening walk and the swallows were feeding in a large group over the newly mown hay. Wondered if most of them were teenagers staying out late. I proved a magnet for Cleg flies that were landing on my chenille sweater and sticking their probosis through, mistaking me for a furry animal, though painfully, they eventually twigged to go for the bald bits. Our bird feeders have unfortunately attracted a rat, which the gamekeeper is going to come and trap. No one here believes us but it has been attacking the Grey Squirrels and driving them off. There is some footage of it on Youtube. Quite impressed.

Light Emerald

Antler Moth

Barred Straw

Meadow Brown

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Pink Grasshoppers and Osprey

Went up to Stocks Reservoir yesterday afternoon. Ben told us there had been sightings of an Osprey near the second hide. Drove round and there it was a white blob in the trees - we hadn't brought any binoculars. Luckily some lovely birders turned up and set up their scope and we got some fantastic views of a bird I've hoped to see here for a long time. Lets hope it comes back to nest next year. Walking round the reservoir we found a lovely pink grasshopper and a crab spider eating another grasshopper. There were also lots of jet black moths,  flying around and Ben had also seen some with yellow tails (Red-necked Footmen?) There were plenty of Lacewings and we think we found some of their pale bluey green eggs on stalks laid on the undersides of leaves.

Female Xysticus cristatus

Chimney Sweeper ?

Lacewing Chrysopa perla

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


There was a really annoying article in the Daily Mail yesterday about slugs. I garden, slugs are a pain, but to say slugs have no redeeming features is silly. All I can say is dog poo (what else would eat it), roadkill and fungus. They moaned about organic slug pellets, well Growing success ones work for me and beer traps, saying rain dilutes the beer. I have some lidded ones from the organic gardening catalogue and they work fine. I enjoy hunting out the slugs and pinging them with my trowel into the adjacent wood, I like to think I provide a sort of Alton Towers experience for slugs, turning them into thrill junkies slowly making their way back, saying  "Do it again, do it again !" When I had a compost bin I used to gather up the slugs and snails and put them in, especially any snails I trod on. I ended  up with a bin full of lovely compost and some very odd patchwork snails.