I love a powerful storm, they feel cathartic to me; a washing clean of the world and everyone in it. This one feels particularly poignant, because last night we said goodbye to Cleo. Her condition deteriorated rapidly over the last few days and the vet agreed she was in a bad way and would not recover. I feel OK: I cried more over the last week watching her so helpless and today I am settled and peaceful, because I know she's not going through it anymore. We've buried her in the garden and I am going to find a white rose to plant over her, because she has always been our White Faerie Queen and it feels like the right thing to do.
The Wild Things have been especially kind to me yesterday and today. I like to think this is because they know I was feeling sad and that seeing them would cheer me, which it has. As well as being Exam Day yesterday, it was also warm and sunny enough in the afternoon to do a butterfly transect at college, which I duly did an hour before I was due to be in the exam (with the result that I got so carried away oohing and ahhing over flutters that I was very nearly late for the test).
I saw LOADS of beautiful flutters, as well as a vole, several slow worms and a crab spider. Even I, a fully paid up lifetime member of the Arachnaphobe's Club (which is nowhere near as much fun to be in as the Pigeon Watchers Club that you may remember Ted and Dougal setting up last year), am prepared to admit that Crab Spiders are Quite Clever, with their ability to flush into a different colour to match their backgrounds....
|Sitting Pretty...(or not, if you're me)|
|Beautiful Slow Worms; a male and female. The female has the black stripe.|
These flutters really are tiny wee, and as this was my first sighting of a Small Blue I was pretty made up and didn't think it could get much better. But then, rounding the corner, I saw these....
Four Common Blues (thanks Dave for the ID, much appreciated :-) )darting about and feeding on the flowers.
I was grinning from ear to ear by this point and really thought that was going to be it, considering I'd also seen Brimstones, Orange Tips, a Speckled Wood, A Peacock and several Small Whites, when this tiny person appeared and took my breath away completely...
It's a Green Hairstreak and I've never seen one of these before either. I knew there was one on the site but really hadn't expected it to appear. Again, I was able to get really close, but they are hard to photograph well because the green sheen of their underwing is so metallic it comes out looking like silver in the photos. Seen from the top they are brown in colour, so when they close their wings the effect is really dramatic.
I could have spent all day there, and will go back when the weather improves (hopefully tomorrow) when I'm not doing a transect so I can spend more time looking at and photographing the butterflies. It was a total treat and just what I needed.
On the way back I managed to get a piccy of this little person who was also flying about...This is a day-flying moth, called a Burnett Companion, another new one for me.
And finally, the College Herd who watched me Very Intently as I walked back up for the exam....
Which went OK I think. It's always hard to tell with these things. I am just glad it's over and I can stop revising and get on with more interesting things like looking at wild creatures and places instead!
To that end, I am planning to get the Moth Box out as often as possibly over the next few months (without stressing the moths of course). This means we are well into Poppy's new training sessions of 'how to be a dog that doesn't eat moths, even when they are crawling on your nose.' I think she's improving- we've gone beyond the stage where she considers them all her personal breakfast, and today even reached the point where she spat one out when I told her to and walked away from it looking only slightly pissed off.....
Here are today's Interesting Flying People. I've just added twenty new species to my list after last night, and this takes the 2014 total to one hundred already. I've tried to only put new moths that you won't have seen before (unless it was last year) on today's post (apart from the marvellous Puss Moth, who is so glorious I don't suppose you'll mind seeing him twice!).
|Lobster Moth (especially for Seagull Suzie- I know they were your favourites last year!)|
|Pale Oak Beauty|
|The Glorious Puss Moth|
|Scalloped Oak (rescued from drowning)|
|Scorched Wing outside|
I'll leave you with something I have been wanting to see for a very long time. Peppered moths are often used as an example of Natural Selection and Evolution In Action. This is because their basic form is a mottled white, but during Industrialisation in the UK when pollution levels were high and everything became increasingly coated in a layer of black dirt, the moths quickly evolved a melanistic form which was black, enabling them to land on the dirty trees etc and not be seen. We get plenty of the white version of Peppered Moth here- they are super things and I always enjoy seeing them (here's one who was on the wall of the house this morning):
but we have never had a Black version yet. I was only thinking about this a couple of days ago, when the first White Peppered of the year turned up, how I'd love to see a melanistic Peppered, and then guess who I found, hidden among the grasses beside the box this morning......?
Nature is indeed being kind (and if that's not a hint that things are back in balance here after a difficult week I don't know what is).
Enjoy the rest of the day,