Wednesday, 25 June 2014

On the doorstep

Doorstep nature is one of the best ways of enjoying the wild world, for all the marvels brought to us on TV by Sir David Attenborough & Co. This applies wherever you live; I'll never forget the family from the centre of Stoke-on-Trent whose children were asked to bring fungi to a primary school lesson; they enterprisingly scraped a rather rare form off the wooden windows of their family's Morris Traveller (as you can read in this immortal tome). Wild life is everywhere.

Having said that, we are very lucky to have the countryside on our own doorstep, and also a band of neighbours who walk regularly and keep their eyes skinned. We joined some of them this week and spent a magic half hour amid orchids, Marbled White butterflies and the lovestruck pair of Hedge Browns in my top picture. All these photos - and many thanks to Douglas Macdonald for the Marbled White one; they always fly away when I try to snap them - were taken within ten minutes of our teapot.

The orchids were Pyramidal, which grow in abundance on the edge of local arable fields, and Bee. Last year, another neighbour showed us a hard-to-find colony of the latter nearby and these ones are a second and larger group, in a similar strip of mixed woodland on the other side of a large field. There was a possible third species which I'll photograph another time. The Pyramidals are above - how many can you count in the top picture?) and the Bees left and below. The one on the right is interestingly paler; maybe younger and not fully in bloom? Or in deeper shade?

Meanwhile in the world of moths, my Academy for Young Emperors is flourishing. It's interesting to note in the picture below how different members of the brood, which all hatched at the same time, are developing at a slightly different pace. 

I'm resting the trap for a day or two but found this poor specimen floating in a waterlogged seed tray. If anyone can identify it, I will be most impressed.

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