Butterflies go orgasmic over flowering Buddleia nectar!

All photographs and video were taken by myself, who knows how media ownership works on WordPress not me? ūüôā

A post featuring my mother’s very own wildlife eco system, not Bumblebees for a change but four species of butterflies which regularly visited her garden late August 2017.

I’ve learnt two natural history lessons this past summer, first it’s extremely important to grow pollinating flowers in your garden ūüôā and secondly it seems Butterflies GO CRAZY FOR purple flowering Buddleia’s!¬†

Until researching this post I hadn’t really appreciated the beauty of these amazing bugs fluttering from flower to flower in my mother’s rear garden, not until I looked close up upon the vibrant colours on their wings had I realised we have amazing creatures on our own doorsteps.

Quite literally step outside her conservatory door and my mother has bees butterflies birds feeding upon bugs only because she grows pollenating flowers in her garden, and as you’ll see from my photos butterflies adore buddleia flowers in fact as I wandered round the lawn with my camera four different native English species couldn’t leave the bush alone!

Along with butterflies mum has hedgehogs visiting her garden nine o’clock most evenings and during the summer months she’ll put a saucer of water and dried mealworms on the concrete patio. To begin with only one hedgehog would visit to munch on the dry worms then scurry back across the lawn, through a hole under the fence and into a hedgehog house in a neighbours garden. But best of all earlier this Spring an adult and two babies would turn up for supper every evening!

Thank you WordPress because if I hadn’t had the ‘imagination’ to write this post I wouldn’t have given the colours and patterns on their wings a second look, in fact every summer I rarely give notice these beautiful creatures.

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Red Admiral

Red Admiral: The Red Admiral is a frequent visitor to British gardens and is one of our most well-known butterflies, unmistakable with velvety black wings intersected by striking red bands. Primarily a migrant to our shores, although sightings of individuals and immature stages in the first few months of the year, mean the Red Admiral is now considered resident in the British Isles ‘topped up’ every year with migrants arriving in May and June that originate in central Europe. However unfortunately, most individuals are unable to survive our winter especially in the cooler regions of the British Isles.

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Comma

Comma: The Comma is a fascinating butterfly. The scalloped edges and cryptic colouring of the wings conceal hibernating adults amongst dead leaves, while the larvae, flecked with brown and white markings, bear close resemblance to bird droppings. The species has a flexible life cycle, which allows it to capitalize on favourable weather conditions. However, the most remarkable feature of the Comma has been its severe decline in the twentieth century and subsequent comeback because it is now widespread in southern Britain with a range expanding ever northwards.

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Large White
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Red Admiral
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Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell:¬†Regarded as one of our most common butterflies the bright orange wings with black spots of the Small Tortoiseshell makes this one of our most easily recognised British butterflies. It is fast flying in bright sunshine but can be easily approached when feeding and was one of the species that didn’t fly away as I photographed.

 

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Large White

Large White: The Large White is one of two species (the other being the Small White) that can claim the title of “Cabbage White” that is the bane of allotment holders all over the British Isles. The larva of this species can reach pest proportions, and decimate cabbages to the point that they become mere skeletons of their former selves. The female is distinguished from the male by the presence of 2 black spots, together with a black dash, on the forewing upperside. This is one of the most widespread species found in the British Isles and can be found almost anywhere, including Orkney and Shetland, also known to migrate to the British Isles from the continent.

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Comma
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Comma

All the following Bumblebee photos appear on a previous flower post however I thought why not share them again because many will have missed them. ©Andrew

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Bumblebee pollinating a flower in mum’s garden

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ūüôā As always I’ve taken video (below) of all 4 species visiting Mum’s garden (taken using a Samsung Galaxy Tablet, the only tech I own!)

So I guess the moral to my tale and a lesson I’ve learnt these past weeks is make a little effort to plant summer pollinating flowers, I know these photos aren’t from my own garden but I’m not totally idle ūüėÄ , earlier this summer bees have been working hard pollinating my new raspberry bushes and I have a purple buddleia tree.

I hope you enjoyed my photographs ūüôā

©Andrew

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Bumble Bees in my mum’s Garden

Accompanying YouTube video (Click to view)

‚ÄúBumblebees are key factors in our wildlife. If they disappear many of our plants will not bear fruit‚ÄĚ

David Attenborough (FRS).

Reading my Title ‘Bees in mum’s Garden’ gives you a strong hint as to the theme of this evening’s Post.

My mother is a keen flower gardener, all her borders are a riot of colour as are the many plant pots situated on the paved areas. As you can see from my video I visited Saturday afternoon and as I wandered around her peaceful garden I noticed wild bees hoping from flower to flower so reminiscent of helicopters and by chance I had my Samsung tablet with me so photographed the bees as the went about their work, they came out quite well don’t you think and I was really impressed the bees gold hoops, wings and legs are clearly visible and please don’t ask me to name the flowers, because my fingers are definitely not green!

With a little internet research I’m pretty sure the bees in my photographs are named small garden bumble bees though I’m no expert, the one fact I do know is bees could possibly be the most important insect to visit your garden.

Here’s the natural history lesson! ūüėÄ

Bees visit flowers to collect nectar and pollen, which they use as food for themselves and the larvae in their hives or nests. By moving from flower to flower, they are vital pollinators of many garden and wild flowers. Insect pollination is essential for the cropping of most fruits and some vegetables, there are several hundred different types of bee resident in the British Isles.

As a rule of thumb your garden should provide bee-friendly flowers that are rich in pollen and nectar which bees can easily access from spring until late summer, this ensures there’s a good supply of pollen at all the crucial times.

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You could even watch the video and try spotting these flowers the only hint I’ll give is they’re in the border to the lawns left

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…………though you’ve all got busy lives to lead so perhaps not ūüôā

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Mum’s hobby has created a habitat for any number of wild insects bees and butterflies, more importantly her garden looks amazing!

 

Photographs © Andrew.

Walking in the rain!

I have both good news ūüôā and bad news ūüė¶ for you.

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Good news first, for the past two years I’ve been uploading videos onto my YouTube all filmed by my cheap and cheerful digital camera, however you’ll agree the picture quality is pretty poor. THEN yesterday evening it suddenly dawned on me I have a Samsung tablet with a great camera, taken me 8 months to figure that one out ffs.¬†

Now the bad news, the weather across Great Britain is awful, by that I mean it’s rained constantly for two days, dry ditches are now running streams for heavens sake, yay I have a great quality video camera however if I go outside to film Oxfordshire’s fantastic Countryside I get absolutely soaked!

But like the trooper I am, I braved the rain just for my WordPress (absolutely true) filming the video below and my narration pretty much explains all, listen to the rain………

It’s only uploaded to test the camera’s picture quality so perhaps don’t watch. Bit boring.

Listen to that rain! I only wish I’d remembered I owned this Samsung when I visited beautiful Blenheim Palace………….. oh well we men aren’t the sharpest tools in the box!

If you have any British friends you’ll know we don’t half moan about the weather, it’s either too hot and sunny, or too wet and cold, mind you talking about our weather is a great ice breaker when you first converse with someone you don’t know.

Consequently due to the rain this isn’t the post I hoped to publish, I had planned to visit a local Abbey and walk the Cotswolds, unfortunately due to the fact Holly and I were soaked to the skin we settled for a short walk closer to home………… ūüôā Holly didn’t appear to mind!

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Not to worry, better luck next time! 

© Andrew

 

47 – Oxfordshire Countryside Photographs (taken by me August 2016)

All photographs and video © Blog Andrew.

Within walking distance from my home a small nature reserve has been created on the edge of Town, a lovely peaceful secluded area of natural habitat comprising of woods heathland and a lake populated by many wildfowl bird species, I guess the whole area covers a couple of square miles and is very popular with dog walkers bird watchers and swimmers during summer heat waves.

So having my camera handy I took¬†a selection¬†photographs also very short video¬†and uploaded onto my YouTube Channel (btw they’re identical views). I’m afraid the ‘vistas’ aren’t as spectacular as Tuscany or the plains of Africa, but they show typical English countryside.

If you were to join the following¬†7 photographs ‘end to end’¬†forming one straight¬†strip, you’ll have a panorama looking across heathland¬†and Oxfordshire farmland in the distance.

The YouTube video below¬†the¬†heath¬†panorama¬†photographs,¬†reveals the same¬†pictures but in film format¬†and narrated by me, I’m afraid I managed to obscure a row of nesting boxes fixed¬†on top of¬†posts¬†which¬†attract Barn Owls, and walkers if they’re lucky will see owls circling the heathland feeding for shrews and mice, I’ve been lucky and witnessed what is¬†quite a spectacular sight, I probably stood and watched for an hour,¬†but you have to visit late evening just before dusk.

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Photograph 1 of R-L panorama

 

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Photograph 2 of R-L panorama

 

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Photograph 3 of R-L panorama, the owl nesting posts are behind that bush!!!
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Photograph 4 of R-L panorama, Barn Owls in the evening fly circling the heathland looking for mice and shrews
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Photograph 5 of R-L panorama

 

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Photograph 6 of R-L panorama

 

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Photograph 7 of R-L panorama

 

If you were to join the following 3 photographs ‘end to end’ in one straight¬†strip, you’ll have a panorama view¬†looking across the lake toward heathland, or in other words you’ll be looking across the lake toward¬†my previous panorama……….I’m afraid all the Great Crested Grebe had disappeared…….clumsy me scared them off!

The YouTube video below is of the identical lake panorama filmed at the same time and narrated by me. Not very exciting apart from showing a typical English lake!

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Photograph 1 of R-L panorama
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Photograph 2 of R-L panorama
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Photograph 3 of R-L panorama

Imagery © Andrew

 

35 – Autumn – the Path that leads to my Home

Photographs © Andrew.

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The Path that leads to my Home

ūüôā WordPress bloggers are sharing Autumnal photographs they’ve taken themselves,¬†local trees with¬†their leaf shades yellow green gold and rustic brown, so I thought why not share 3 of my own,¬†leaves will¬†have all disappeared from their branches and the path in a week or two. Now or never!

These weren’t pre planned, the sun was¬†shining, I had my camera on me and well here they are!

ūüėÄ I’ve just realised¬†all of my WordPress photographs are taken within 5 minutes walking distance of my Home, I can assure you I do go places outside the housing estate!!

‘Fruits of the Forest Floor’ and ‘Yew Tree Farm – Downton Abbey’

 

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Walk this way to my Home

 

In these two photographs I’m standing at¬†a ‘T’¬†junction which leads to¬†our local¬†Tesco¬†Supermarket, Chinese Takeaway and Jehovah’s Kingdom Hall!

 

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Walk this way to Town

I think perhaps my promised Voyeur story should wait, do you know what I have no idea what people make of me, lol none at all, all I’ll say is my next Post will be totally different to the one before! I can’t write poetry oh how I wish I could, never mind variety is the spice of life so they say?

Andrew

 

 

 

29 – Fruits of the Forest Floor

Local seasonal¬†photographs¬†and all taken by me ¬© Andrew ūüôā

Residents on my housing estate must have wondered what an earth I was playing at yesterday? There I was crouched down underneath two walnut trees taking close up photographs of the ground!

I have always been an autumnal collector of UK tree seeds (a rather strange admission I know) as¬†far back¬†as I can remember when¬†walking our collie dogs¬†in local woods I’ve invariably returned home with pockets full of oak tree acorns, sycamore seeds, ‘conkers’, beech nuts and walnuts……..You see I can’t resist picking them up because quite simply I hate to see the fruit¬†go to waste! Yes later when I returned home most were thrown in the waste bin, but as a teenager I used to plant the foraged¬†acorn and beech seeds into pots then transport the samplings back into the woods years later. I wish I knew whereabouts though! I sense standing in a forest¬†gazing at a fully grown oak tree I’d grown from an¬†acorn a quarter of a century previous could be quite a spiritual experience. ūüôā

Incidentally for those not in the know, fruit¬†from the horse chestnut tree in the UK is called a ‘conker’…..and to play the game of ‘conkers’ children dig a hole through the brown nut, tie a piece of string, and well you can guess!

Anyways before I get side tracked with childhood memories¬†and tales of schoolboy games this post features two walnut trees¬†a few hundred metres from¬†my home, I’ll give you a short geography lesson, from where I’m standing taking the photograph below, walk to your left following the Cotswold wall line¬†and you’ll pass¬†‘Codfathers’ Fish and Chip restaurant¬†then the Doctor’s surgery and¬†my home, turn right and you’ll find yourself at Downton Abbey Yew Tree Farm.

Thirty years ago when the housing estate was built on wheat¬†fields surrounding¬†my Town, various types of tree species¬†were planted on small patches of grass with the aim of improving the look and feel for residents living there, and in that respect they are a success, turn down one Street and you’ll find a small green oasis of oak trees, down another and¬†you could¬†happen across ‘copper’¬†beech trees and in¬†next week¬†or so the best is yet¬†to come when¬†the leaves turn rustic shades of brown…..yes I am fortunate and perhaps take my local surroundings a little for granted.

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Two walnut trees close to my home with leaves just starting to turn yellow
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…….walk a few paces closer and I’m standing underneath¬†a tree¬†canopy

So¬†now¬†you understand¬†why after work I slightly change my route home,¬†yes the distance is¬†slightly longer from the bus stop¬†but after a windy day there’s sure to be fallen walnuts blown to the ground and you’ve guessed ūüôā¬†I fill my pockets with as many as I can find!…………..Neighbours looking out of their kitchen windows must question what an earth I¬†am up to when there is a perfectly good Tesco supermarket around the corner, but hey we all know food tastes better if you don’t have to pay for it and¬†I’ve just had a thought perhaps that’s the real reason why I also grow raspberries?¬†Or the fact I’m just a tightwad!!! (That’s a¬†British slang word meaning ‘an aversion to spending ones own money’ also known as ‘not having spent a penny’).

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A close up photograph of an ‘English walnut’ variety on the ground

My apologies the¬†‘walnut laying on the ground’¬†close up photo above is¬†a little ‘washed out’ but our¬†evenings are drawing-in and late afternoon yesterday was a little gloomy hence the bright flash!!! Anyways if you look more¬†closely you’ll¬†just make out the image of¬†an English walnut or:

Juglans regia, Persian walnut, English walnut, or especially in Great Britain called the common walnut, which is an Old World walnut tree species native to the region stretching from the Balkans eastward to the Himalayas and southwest China. (Courtesy Wikipedia

Very few plants and trees are indigenous to one particular Country and that applies to¬†wildlife as well however¬†introducing species into other continents can have terrible dire consequences, for example the European grey squirrel was introduced into the UK and for reasons you’ll have to Google the grey species went on to virtually wipe out our own red squirrel, such a shame because the red is such a sweet looking animal, but there you are,¬†and yet again through the wonders of the internet¬†Wikipedia informs us the ‘English walnut’ originates all the way from southwest China……..your fact of the day!

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……..and taken even closer!!!
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Three of the many I picked from the ground

…………don’t you think the¬†Google a wonderful tool?¬†The search engine even¬†gave me storage tips, apparently you lay the ‘English walnut’¬†out to dry for two weeks then crack open and eat!

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Lay the walnuts out in plastic crates to dry for 2 weeks

Well I hope you enjoyed my photographs following my¬†housing estate¬†‘fruits of the forest’¬†foraging journey yesterday afternoon………and who knows what I’ll Post about next?

Andrew