Sunday, 20 April 2014

Curious creatures

We had a very enjoyable outing yesterday to Rousham, a mansion of great charm set between one of William Kent and Charles Bridgeman's Arcadias above the meandering river Cherwell and a jigsaw of wonderfully maintained walled gardens. The owners have a policy of making you wait until you are 15 before being allowed in, which loses them a vast slice of the usual stately home custom but means that the grounds are quiet and their invitation to 'bring a picnic and Rousham is yours for the day' is even more alluring. They're not remotely anti-children, having plenty of their own scattered about. And, as we told our tiny granddaughter who will not be admitted until 2028, the wait is worth it.

Orange Tip, Brimstone and Peacock butterflies were sailing about but my two insect photos are of humbler but interesting creatures. The first is a fly or bee which awaits identification from any passing expert; and the second, ditto, is a caddis fly unknown to me. Update with many thanks to Pete Smith who's commented at the foot of the previous post. The first insect is an Ashy Mining Bee, a Spring-flying solitary bee (I love that description) whose numbers are on the increase in the UK. It is harmless and useful to us. The second is not a caddis but an alder fly, whose carnivorous larvae live in the silt of ponds near which the adults tend to rest on vegetation. This one was following that pattern closely, sunning itself beside the round pound between assorted temples and nude male statues put in place by Kent. He might have liked the fly and the way its wings resemble a stained glass window before the colourists have set to work.

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