Last Butterflies

As it is turning autumnal I expect to be seeing fewer and fewer butterflies, so I thought I’d post a few of those I’ve seen recently.

From a couple of weeks ago, this is the one and only shot I’ve had of a Small Copper this year. It’s not great, but as it was the only one I’ve seen, I’m not too fussed by the quality!

Then there was this Comma butterfly, again the only one I’d seen in our garden this year (although I saw another one down in Bristol):

Last weekend, on one of my first ventures out after being ill, I spotted this Red Admiral enjoying the ivy:

And finally one from yesterday! A Small White:

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Autumn Bounty

Autumn is firmly here, despite a few warm days. Mornings start cold and misty, and today there was a touch of frost. The trees are changing colour. Currently the Beech is turning yellow and later in the year it will turn to brown.

Along the wall by the church, the cotoneaster is covered in berries and the tiny ferns are loaded with spores:

In the hedgerow the Honeysuckle has mostly turned to berries, with an occasional flower remaining.

The Blackthorn sloes are big and fat, with their usual blue-ish ‘blush’:

The Dog Rose hips are fat and bright in the hedges:

I couldn’t find so many hazelnuts, so either they’ve been eaten or I just didn’t look hard enough.

The big Oak tree has definitely decided it’s autumn – the leaves are falling and there are a fair few acorns on the ground:

Another thing I spotted was several of the Hazels have started growing little catkins. I guess these are the ones I will see all opened up and dangly in the spring.

Beginnings of Autumn

I thought I’d do a little country diary catch-up today and let you know what is going on in nature around the village at the moment. Well, it feels very much like autumn to me – the temperature has been consistently lower, the mist hangs across the river in the morning, and some of the leaves are already starting to change colour. The Buddleia is pretty much all over and the Ragworts are going to seed.

There are still plenty of Herb Roberts about though:

Some of the Honeysuckle in the hedgerow is having a late bloom which is nice to see:

The Blackthorn sloes that I mentioned previously have now changed to their dark purply colour instead of green like they were before:

The Hawthorn haws are bright red and fat now:

The Harebells down at the corner are still going. Still tricky to photograph due to the breeziness of the weather!

Spores are being formed on many ferns now:

These are (I think) seed pods of vetch. Not sure which particular type of vetch, but pretty sure it’s one of them. It’s just struck me that maybe I could collect a couple of pods and try and grow the seeds in the spring…

Finally I’ll share a little frog who is living in our pond in the garden πŸ™‚

Last Honeysuckle?

The Honeysuckle growing up on the trellis outside my living room window is having a go at flowering, despite not managing a single flower for the rest of the summer! It got cut back rather vigorously last year along with the clematis that was trying to pull of my guttering! I thought it was dead. But I noticed a flower outside the window, and now there is one more, not opened yet. I suspect it will be the last one for this year, but maybe next year it will manage a few more than two flowers!

Fresh new Honeysuckle flower:

The Hoverflies are enjoying these late blooms:

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Raindrops & Spiders

There’s not a lot to see in the garden this evening. It’s been raining much of the day and I took a brief potter about, but there wasn’t much sun left and it was mostly raindrops and spiders … so that is what you get! Looking forward to a week off work next week. Fingers crossed for some dry weather for some walks.

Fruit & Nut

As the weather has taken an autumnal turn, I thought I’d share some photos of fruits and nuts growing in the hedgerows.

First we have some sloes which are the fruit of the Blackthorn:
Sloes

Hazelnuts:
Hazelnuts

Lots of juicy blackberries:
Blackberries

And the beautiful Dog Roses have now become Hips:
Rose Hips

Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers

I was thinking about the Weekly Photo Challenge, which is about ‘Containers’ this week … and wondering if there was anything I take photos of that would fit. As you know I’m mainly nature and macro, and don’t take a lot of photos of anything industrial, which is what the word containers make me think of.

But then I thought about buds. Buds contain flowers … well in fact the container part is the sepals which cover the flower while it develops. So my containers are sepals around buds!

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Ragwort Buds with lots of sepals making them stripey
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Hedge Bindweed bud – with twisty wrapped round sepals in a lovely pointy shape

These two different types of flowers have very different buds and sepals containing their precious flowers, and there are many others I could include. I’m sticking with recent photos though.

The Ragwort buds are now opening and becoming popular with passing insects:

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Fly on Ragwort flower

Lavender recovery

Just over a month ago (I think) I decided to rescue my Lavender bush. It was only small, planted last year in the middle of the flowerbed. This year I’d been waiting to see it growing, but no sign of it, and in the end I waded in and found it was drowned underneath everything else and looked pretty much dead. So I dug it up and put it in a pot with some nice compost and hoped I might be able to bring it back. You may have seen it in pictures of my wildflowers growing in their troughs e.g. Gardening.

This is how it looked on 15th June:
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I had nearly given up but just over the last few days it’s really got going again πŸ™‚

Here it is yesterday:

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A lovely couple of spikes of new green growth! Most of it is dried up and appears dead but just this one bit is green. I’m quite pleased with myself that it didn’t die πŸ™‚

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Benefits of Meadow Grass

If you let your grass grow tall into a beautiful meadow, you get this reward at this time of year … Soldier Beetles everywhere.

I think it is their time to get out and about and find a mate, and since we let the grass grow tall in the back garden, they are in their element, and there are many, many more than we saw here last year!

Shine the Divine

Buddleia

I have a lot of photos that I sadly haven’t shared yet, so I’m going to try and sort them all out and post them. Firstly here are a couple of shots of the Buddleia. This is actually from a few days again as now many of the flower heads are fully open. Strangely we haven’t seen that many butterflies yet. I’m sure there were a lot more this time last year but maybe it was later in the year … anyway, we shall see! Hope to see a mass of fluttering wings soon.

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Summer Sunday Stroll

Yesterday was warm and quite sunny so we headed out for a short walk around the village. Before leaving I noticed that our Buddleia flowers are just starting to come out:

Buddleia
Buddleia

There were quite a few Birds Foot Trefoils growing in the grassy areas

Birds Foot Trefoil

There are also other similar but taller flowers which I’ve identified as Meadow Vetchling:

Meadow Vetchling
Meadow Vetchling

This Small Skipper seemed to rather like the Meadow Vetchling and sat obligingly for a while so I could get a good shot πŸ™‚

Small Skipper on Meadow Vetchling
Small Skipper on Meadow Vetchling

Nearby I spotted two more wildflowers that I don’t think I have blogged before – Self-Heal and Hedge Woundwort. Both pretty pinky-purple flowers.

Self-Heal
Self-Heal
Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica)
Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica)

Heading off down the road I spied my first Bindweed flower. I’ve been seeing the stems twisting round other things, but this is the first flower.

Bindweed
Bindweed

The Dog Roses are still going, though there are less of them now I think. They still look very pretty:

Dog Rose
Dog Rose
Dog Rose
Dog Rose
Dog Rose
Dog Rose

Fruits and nuts are swelling fast now – there were several nice clumps of Hazelnuts, as well as the Hawthorn Haws in the hedgerow. And round by the pond the Apples have got quite fat since the last time I was there.

Hazel nuts
Hawthorn haws
Hawthorn haws
Apples
Apples

The poor old Redcurrant/Gooseberry bush (not a Hawthorn!) is looking a bit sorry for itself as someone decided that the hedge/verge needed to be cut back. Sadly the Redcurrant/Gooseberry bush has ended up hacked to bits. There are still a couple of fruits left but it’s not a pretty sight. We have rebelled against this early cutting and the edge of our grass bank outside is all tall grass where we’ve left the edge to grow. I wish I had some native hedgerow in the garden instead of the horrible Leylandii hedge that I’m stuck with. Anyway, moving on …

Near the pond some new flowers have emerged – Scabious and Mallow:

Scabious
Scabious
Mallow
Mallow

The Mallow is hard to photograph because its so delicate and its difficult to capture that. I’m intrigued by their stigmas and stamens … it brings out the dormant biologist in me πŸ™‚

We spotted a Meadow Brown Butterfly but it was being exceedingly awkward and refused to let me take a decent photo. I had to make do with this one where you can barely distinguish it from the wood chip!

Meadow Brown Butterfly
Meadow Brown Butterfly

Time is definitely moving fast as it doesn’t seem long since all was bare and we were waiting for leaves to appear. Now it’s already time for Goatsbeard seed heads and the ferns are growing their spores. Must be something to do with getting old – years move faster when you age I think.

Goatsbeard
Goatsbeard
Fern spores
Fern spores

And finally, I was looking at the Honeysuckle on the way back and wondering why it seems so late flowering. This was one of the very few which is even attempting to open. The rest of the buds are either still closed or some seem to have shrivelled and died before even opening. Strange.

Honeysuckle
Honeysuckle

And now I must stop rambling on and go to bed. I’m tired out. Is it only Monday!?!

Ending of June

The weather has turned in the last couple of days to heavy showers, but it has been lovely and sunny. In between taking my daughter to a riding competition (last weekend) and the bee incident, I did manage a few photos here and there.

I have been enjoying our ‘meadow’ of lovely long grass in the back garden. Lots of insects seem to be enjoying it too.

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Sunny long grass

Today, in between the showers I popped out for a moment and noticed this little bee who seems to have moved into a hole in our shed. Yay πŸ™‚

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Solitary bee in a small hole in our shed

The Buddleia won’t be long now – so close to flowering! So looking forward to all the butterflies gathering when it does πŸ™‚

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Buddleia very nearly flowering

There are a lot of Ragwort plants which are also getting close to flowering. Last year these were particularly popular with hoverflies and the Small Copper butterflies. Another one to look forward to.

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Ragwort will be flowering soon

We were looking at the pond and commenting that we hadn’t seen the frogs for a while … I then stood up to pull some grass out of the pond and my foot disturbed … guess what?! Yup, a little yellowish frog went sploshing into the pond out of the way of my foot. He then popped back up to say hello. He’s pretty small. We thought he was a baby, but then an even smaller one popped up next to him! Really makes us happy to see our pond in use πŸ™‚

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Little froggy in our pond

There are all different stages of Ladybird life around the garden at the moment …

Here’s a larva (this is what hatches from the Ladybird eggs):

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Ladybird larva

Then after stuffing itself with food, the larva settles down and turns into a pupa:

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Ladybird pupa

And then of course it becomes an adult ladybird, and sets off chomping its way through lots of greenfly πŸ™‚

Adult Ladybird (and dinner!)
Adult Ladybird (and dinner!)

Finally, we are glad that we’ve let some of the brambles stay, as they are now producing the start of a nice crop of blackberries πŸ™‚

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A big crop of blackberries to come