Wednesday, 24 August 2011


I got really excited (sadly) when I saw what I thought were loads of hoverlies feeding on some grasses. However when none of them took off I realised they were all dead. I don't know whether they have become stuck on the flowering grass heads or they have been parasitised. All of them were head down with their bums in the air so perhaps its a fungus. I did notice lots of miniscule grubs and cocoons on the head of another grass so maybe its something to do with  them. Very strange. Found a Painted Lady caterpillar (I think) in the grass near thistles and nettles. There are lots of Ladybirds and larvae around too and there were lots of large flies which I think are a type of Flesh Fly hanging around - hope they weren't after the ladybirds. They give birth to live young apparently. Wasps have been coming into my kitchen so I have been throwing apples out as a bribe, (though a friend  suggested I check the nest isn't actually in the kitchen!) they can eat a whole one in a day- you can hear them chewing!



Tiny caterpillars

Painted Lady Caterpillar?

Ladybird larva

Flesh fly - its got suckers on its feet


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Hints of Autumn

Sunny so got up and out early. All the plants are either setting seed or forming fruits, with the Hawthorn berries, Rose hips and Crab Apples well developed. The urge to shout " Stop it, its only the middle of August" is very strong, I still have baby sparrows in the garden and every year summer feels too short and before you know it its Autumn. The crops in the fields are starting to ripen gold and  the green Hazelnuts are looking very fat and tempting - I bet the Jays and Squirrels get to them before I do. There are lots of Sloes too, so I think it'll soon be time to make some Sloe Gin for Christmas.

Harebells are flowering in profusion on sunny banks.

Crab Apples food - food for Fieldfares and Redwings.

Food for me if I get a chance.



Small White

Dew on feather - just looked pretty.

Common Knapweed.

Wet Walk in Wellies.

Did circular walk around Gisburn, how quickly things have changed since my last walk. Threatening leaden clouds filled the sky, and the varied green hues of the grasses and leaves on the trees have faded now and have the tocacco tint of a summer nearly over. Still lots of swallows swooping and weaving over Franks cow sheds, little glimpses of summer against a drizzly sky. Spooked a large hare again, this time it stopped about a 100 ft away to turn and stare at me then took off again. Photographed the patchwork bark of a tree that looked like the sort of thing you would get if Dr Frankenstein had branched out (sorry)  into trees. Orange Cuckoo Pint  berries lurk in the long grasss in the hedge bottoms and the peculiar shapes of fungi are starting to appear.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Odd Wildflowers

 I suppose Red Bartsia is probably familiar to most farmers as a weed, but I've never noticed it before.
It was once regarded as a cure for toothache, its scientific name Odontites verna reflects this, odons being  Greek for tooth. It is semi-parasitic on the roots of grasses, so can survive in areas of low fertility.
It is a relative of the Foxglove, in the photo its seed pods look very similar. Carder bees and  a type of solitary bee feed on red bartsia.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Butterflies and Ladybirds

Still not managed to get a holiday yet and not been out for a walk for ages and missing my nature fix. Did my usual route around Gisburn, very hot and humid but the Hoverflies, Butterlies, Bees and Beetles seem to be loving it. Startled a Hare hidden in the grass a few feet away from me so tip toed like a drunken ballet dancer till I got to the gate as scared of standing on any leverets. Lots of Butterflies feeding on the Thistles by field edge. Red Amirals, Green veined Whites and Small Tortoiseshells. Lots of micro moths too in the long grass and I could hear plenty of Grasshoppers chirping.  In the grass by the hedge there were plenty of seven spot ladybirds and their larvae and I came across two mating Green veined whites who kept getting bothered by other amorous males. Everything is feeling the heat, the sheep were panting in the shade and the young cattle that usually love to trail after me, just stared wearily. It must even be too hot underground, the rabbits were laid up in the shade of the hedges by their burrow entrances.

Green-veined Whites mating.

Red Admiral

Small Tortoiseshell

Ichneumon fly.

Ground Beetles.

Dandelion Clock.