Monday, 5 May 2014

Some Things Are Worth Waiting For....

So, if you remember, a few weeks back I was cursing Orange Tips.

I lost count some time ago of the number of these small flying folk I have chased round various woods and fields, failing abysmally to get even a whiff of a photo while my family (initially) found the whole thing very funny, and then (as time wore on) got thoroughly bored and started refusing to come with me if there was even a hint of a camera round my neck and the suggestion of it being 'good weather for butterflies'.

It became personal between me and those small flutters. Not even the Holly Blue was enough to distract me :-(

So, imagine my astonishment when Mother Nature (in her wisdom, which should never be questioned), saw fit to relent on Saturday and presented me with not only a boy OT at rest on a leaf for more than a millisecond, but his Misses beside him sitting equally still AT THE SAME TIME!!!! The reason for this was that their minds were engaged by other things, which quickly became apparent. I observed their privacy and managed to get the shots below when they were enjoying the butterfly equivalent of a post-coital cigarette....


I think that's what you call a RESULT :-)

Things are coming on in the garden here. I'm amazed at how much it's changed during the week while I've been absent. The iris by the clinic is flowering in all its majesty...(always a good subject for arty-farty pictures)...

Looks like something out of a drug-enduced haze, but is in fact the inside of an iris flower

Daisies are looking pretty in the lawn...

Forget-me-nots are everywhere...

The Hellebores are seeding Rather Prettily....

Lilac (one of my favourites) is in bloom....

Last year's Violas have surprised me by Unexpectedly Reappearing....

And we reached a milestone this weekend. The World's Most Expensive Buddleia (if you remember, it cost £15 and was no bigger than a small sneeze when it turned up. I was NOT a happy bunny), has finally grown big enough to be planted out in the garden without the other plants laughing at it. It is under strict instructions NOT to a) die, b) be eaten by anything, or c) get squashed by the dogs, who have an unfortunate habit of running amok through my flower beds despite being told many times not to :-( 

It's got the equivalent of Group Four security around it at the moment (in the form of a wire mesh constructed by yours truly) to dissuade the dogs and everyone else from bashing into it....

The other Notable Thing that happened this weekend was that M decided to knock four bricks out of the wall of our house. This wasn't an entirely random event: the damp patch in the sitting room has been spreading steadily and turned the colour of a particularly nasty festering bruise over winter, so Something Had To Be Done. As Builders were quoting 500 quid to repair things, and as M is good with his hands, he decided to attempt the repair himself. 

Cue Getting Out The Drill and the removal of FOUR bricks.

I had visions of the entire house collapsing.

All the accumulated gubbins of several years was removed from the cavity and new bricks were cemented back in and surprisingly the house remained standing. It looks Good, which worries me that Other Repairs will now be attempted that in the past we would have sensibly paid a professional to do...

All this begs the question: if we've just saved £500 that would have gone on house repairs, does this mean that that money is now available for, ooh, say....randomly picked

Here are some shots taken this weekend of various things, including Poppet, my one-legged Dunnock who has taken up residence in the back garden. She's a darling, and has been with us for a couple of years.....

Two Great Tits (cue some disappointed search-engine entries) who were squabbling over food on the bird table....

A Rather Nice Beetle I found this morning on the track that runs from St Cats to Twyford Down and whom I have Very Lazily not looked up an ID for (so if anyone knows please shout)....

A Pill Woodhouse (I am in love, no idea why- there is just something about woodlouses)....

Prehistoric tracks into Winchester cut in half by the M3 twenty years ago....

This one in particular had a definite atmosphere. It felt different to the others and made me tingle.

The cutting itself....Twyford Down is on the left, St Cats (cut off entirely by the road) is on the right.

The Protest Stone, which names the people the protestors felt were responsible for cutting the hills in half. It is now lying on the ground :-(


I've been back to see Albert, the oak I am following with Lucy's Blog. He's not showing much sign of springing into leaf and I'm wondering if he is Quite Old and therefore a bit sleepy about waking up....

All around him the field margins are rich with wild flowers like this Greater Stitchwort...

And this, which I also haven't yet got an ID for. It's not a great photo as such, but I've included it because of the pollen which the camera has captured flying through the air...

Pop's has perfected a Meerkat Stance. She uses this when the thing she wants to look at is either a) far away or b) obscured by vegetation. She can keep it up for hours which I find very impressive, and has even started walking like this, giving rise to hopes in L that he'll be able to train her and make his fortune :-)

Yellow Archangel is out now. It is one of my favourite wildflowers. You have to really look at it to appreciate how pretty it is....

Three-cornered Leek is a plant I saw in Dartmoor and learnt the name of there. Here it is in the banks near Mottisfont....It looks like a not-quite-right white bluebell.

The Bee Lavender is doing well at home ...

And this peculiar stuff is a type of lichen growing on our gate. I suspect it may be Icmadophila ericetorum, although that is supposed to only grow in more Northern climes?

Speedwell is Doing Well this year. I see it wherever I go...

And the Verbascum is thriving at home. I adore this colour, a sort of antique orange...

The Sparrows are nesting in the eaves above J's window. Mrs S is back to her usual summer trick of making me leap out of her way as she practices Low-Level-Flying-Without-Warning. Mr S takes every opportunity to re-fuel...

The Robins are also nesting, although I have no idea where...

And the peanut-holder-come-nesting-material-dispenser has proved an enormous hit, especially stuffed as it currently is with wool from the sheep on the Down....

I have rescued two bees since I have been home: a common carder, and a shrill carder. The first sat sensibly on my finger and enjoyed a good groom, getting rid of all the Alder pollen fluff that had stuck to him and which is coating everything here at the moment. The second refused to be sensible so I had to pot him to remove him from the greenhouse. I was very much worried he was going to fly back in. A Bee Of Very Little Brain I feel.....

I hope you've all had a nice bank holiday weekend? It has been the Calm Before The Storm for me here....revision beckons tomorrow, and it will be unrelenting until late May when the exam is done :-(

But on the positive side, I've just booked on to a Water Vole course in a couple of weeks which should be fun. I have a soft spot for water voles (I pretty much have a soft spot for all small, furry, flyey, fluttery, buzzy, crawly, wriggly, slithery things (apart from spiders- but that goes without saying).

CT x


  1. I hope the brick removing, praying the house wouldn't fall down, project has been a success. Did M. add anything into the gap?, or add a vent brick? Love your photos and nice to see Winchester - with the stunning views. I remember the fuss over that road going through, years it took to sort out, but I am inclined to think that if they had just got on with it earlier, it would have saved a lot of unnecessary pollution that the protestors (who were trying to save all that) caused through their fighting. There....that's me said, lol ;)

    1. The damp was triggered by the cavity being full so the purpose was to empty it out. Hopefully it's worked :-)

      We had an interesting talk with the guy who now runs St Cats as a nature reserve. His suggestion was that if the road project were required today it would almost certainly be a tunnel and not a cutting, largely because the cutting resulted in the loss of valuable wildlife corridors (but also the destruction of heritage in the form of prehistoric trackways and ancient drove roads into the city)- an impact that's been felt on all the nearby reserves :-)

    2. That's an interesting perspective :-)

  2. Congrats on the OT snaps! And the rest are awesome, also - Thanks for the updates on your neck of the woods, it's always a wonder to check in here. Take care -

    1. I was very chuffed with the flutter snaps. Glad you enjoyed. Take care too, Casey :-)

  3. Wow, you have been a busy lady!! So many lovely things to see. I am so pleased that you finally managed to capture the butterflies - note to self, wait until after insect sex before taking photos! Actually, are butterflies insects? Probably not! You will tell me! I think that £500 saved on building work should certainly be earmarked for shoes or something similar!! Hope that you have a good week. xx

    1. They are indeed insects- insects are defined as: 'small arthropod animals that have six legs and generally one or two pairs of wings' (I looked it up :-))
      I'm very pleased you agree about the £500... not sure M will be quite so understanding! Have a lovely week too xx

    2. Well, thank you for confirming that for me. You are a fount of knowledge indeed! xx

  4. Well done for finally getting the photos of the OT, bet your pleased with them!!
    Have to say the photos of the iris are amazing, I guess you have a super duper camera to take that sort of shot??
    Great pic of Pop, he seems quite a character!!
    Love all the other photos too, I'm learning so much from your blog, Thank you
    Linda xx

    1. I was pretty chuffed, especially to get the two together. The camera is a panasonic lumix- a fantastic little bit of kit that was not expensive as these things go and is light enough to carry round on walks easily. So pleased you are enjoying the blog. Have a lovely week x

  5. Well done on getting the Orange Tip photos - definitely worth the wait :) especially getting male and female :) Love the flower photos especially that very pretty little viola.

    Its very sad about Twyford Down - I remember all the fuss at the time.

    I went on a water vole surveying course quite a few years ago at our local Wildlife Trust and it was absolutely fascinating especially the field trip to a known wv site to see all the field signs. You'll really enjoy it!

    Good luck with the revision!

    1. I'll stop moaning about the lack of OT picks now :-)

      I'll let you know how the WV course goes- I am really looking forward to the afternoon session which is the outdoor looking for signs bit. Am hoping I might be able to get involved with surveying for them more regularly afterwards. I follow a blog called about a brook (see the side bar) which you might like if you don't already know it? All about a colony of wv's living along a river bank in the UK. Some smashing photos, dear little things x

  6. Hip hip hooray, you got your Orange Tip, the little Black Beetle is a "Black Weevil" I think.Liking the plant you have "Verbascum".
    Been out again looking for Brimstone Butterfly, we have them in our area, I know have seen al the pictures...Has become my new "nemesis"
    Have a great week..
    Amanda xx

    1. I thought of you and your five year odyssey as I was taking them :-)
      Loads of Brimmies here, they are everywhere. We got lots in the garden last year feeding on the everlasting sweetpeas which brought fantastic photo opps. Hoping for the same this year. Good luck tracking some down over your way :-)

      ps- thanks for beetle ID x

    2. Hope you don't mind, but I am confused...! ( not hard) right, let's talk Orange Tips. Do both male and female have the green pattern underneath, wings closed. Do just the males have orange on there wings ? Photographing what I thought was a female (wings closed) staying put, I was even moving the flower round to get a better photo. After a while it took of, orange tips on wing, so was this a male.. Hope you don't mind.
      Amanda xx

    3. Yup, both male and female orange tips have the green pattern under their wings. Only the male has the orange tips on top. From the top, the females more closely resemble a small or green-veined white as they have the black tips to their wings.

      Check out for further info and pictures.

      Blogging is such a great way of swapping info/ furthering your knowledge- very happy to help. I'm sure the boot will be on the other foot at some point (as indeed it was with the vine weevil) :-)

    4. Thank you, not sure I have photographed a female now !!!!
      Thank you again.
      Amanda xx

  7. You have the most amazing posts. I know how much work you would have to do to prepare each post you write and the photos are just beyond wonderful. I loll about with nature and its surroundings and have a very good read when I visit you. Thanks a bunch and have a wonderful day. Especially liked the green gorge an Lily, many others.

    1. Thanks my dear :-) So pleased you are enjoying it x

  8. How wonerful to capture both the male and female orange tipped butterflies together! We had orange tip butterflies in the garden at the weekend but we couldn't capture them. We did however photograph a female one out on a walk, so thank you for identifying it for me.
    Sarah x

    1. They are notoriously hard to get on camera, especially the boys, so you are not alone in not managing it. It's taken me weeks :-) xx

  9. Great pics CT and well done, Orange Tips are a nightmare to photograph.

    Hope you are well and kindest regards :-)

    1. Thanks David. It was a good moment finally getting the shots :-)

      All well here- hope all well with you too :-)

  10. Right.....think I've caught up now! xxx

    1. You are very dear to read them all... :-)

  11. Fantastic that you got the Orange Tip. Just catching up myself CT, and it has been lovely to do a quick tour of your garden flowers and birds. Love that Iris in close up.

    1. I was so chuffed- I bored the family rigid with it for ages afterwards :-)
      Glad you enjoyed the pics x


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x