Thursday, 30 July 2015

Farewell Bop, Hello Silver-Spotted Skippers

We collected Bop from Jill at 8pm last night, after a last-minute hiccup caused by yet more heavy rain showers. I was assured by my resident Weather Expert that the rain would pass through and the night be dry (which it was), so we brought him home and set him free in the garden just as the dusk was coming down.

Once I had taken the lid off the box he flew straight and true across the garden and up into a tall silver birch tree. I pondered letting him get on with it, but the temptation to say a proper farewell and give him some Sound Survival Advice proved too much (well, I am the closest thing he's got to a mother after all). So I walked over to the tree where he was sitting and watched him for a while. 

He stared down at me in that slow, imperious, unblinking way Tawny Owls have. It's a regard that makes you feel you ought to curtsey after swiftly dropping your gaze. Staring contests between people and owls are, I should imagine, generally won hands down by owls. After a while a bird made a noise nearby and he turned to stare at that instead, then he began to look all around him, head swiveling at every new sound. 

It must have been a little overwhelming to an owl who has essentially been raised by humans, but he seemed to know what he was doing when he made for and landed in the tree, and although I felt a pang that this was almost certainly the last time I would see him, the larger emotion was one of joy that he had made it this far, that he was, at long last, back in the wild where he belonged.

As I walked back to the house through the gathering gloaming, a female Tawny began calling softly from a tree on the other side of the lake. I whispered a prayer to the breeze and the night air that Bop would be OK and that the other wols who live here would be kind to him and show him The Way Of Owls.
 
To everyone who has wished him well, sent him a prayer, asked the Nature Gods to keep an eye out for him over the last eight weeks, spared him a thought now and then: thank you :o)



  



I met up with the Butterfly Whisperer for a spot of Chalk Indulgence today. We haven't been flutter spotting together for a couple of weeks and it was nice to revisit old haunts. 

The second generations of Adonis Blue and Brown Argus are due out about now, and I had yet to see any Chalkhill Blues or Silver Spotted Skippers this summer. With the exception of the Adonis (perhaps a wee bit early yet for them) we ticked all the others off our list and I got my first ever pic of a Silver Spotted Skipper, so I was chuffed :o) In fact, we saw loads of them. Today's three new species take my year's butterfly total to 39, beating last year's of 36 and there are still three more that I should be able to see (Clouded Yellow, Adonis and hopefully Brown Hairstreak) before the Butterfly Year ends. I also saw a plant that has the best name of all plants: Squinancywort :o)

Female Brown Argus

Female Brown Argus

Chalkhill Blue

Chalkhill Blue

Chalkhill Blue

Chalkhill Blue

Dark Green Fritillary

Dark Green Frit

Dark Green Frit

Dodder (a parasitic plant that likes ant hills)

The King Tree on the old drovers road that runs across the Down

Mariscolore (female Common Blue colour variation).

Silver Spotted Skipper!

Another Silver Spotted Skipper

Two Silver Spotted Skippers! Aren't they pretty little things?

The wonderfully named Squinancywort :o)

Autumn berries on the Wayfaring Tree

I'll leave you with a last pic of the Beautiful Tawny owl I have had the absolute pleasure of knowing this summer, and wish you all a peaceful evening.


CT x

39 comments:

  1. Beautiful Bop, I do hope he's eating well. How do you get such still and perfect butterfly shots? I think you're going to tell me it's years of practise so I shall keep practising. Onwards and upwards, at least my butterfly ID skills are improving thanks to reading your blog!

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    1. Practice, plus my bridge camera has a very good zoom. It's a pain for macro shots, but the upside is you can stand a fair distance away from the subject and zoom up close- helpful for flutters :o)

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  2. Thanks for the lovely photos of Bob and I wish him well in his new journey.
    The Female Brown Argus is a beautiful looking butterfly and stunning in your photos, and I love the Silver Spotted Skippers too.
    Amanda xx

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    1. Thanks Amanda, The brown argus is a very pretty and small flutter xx

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  3. What awonderful success story. I don't know about you buteven I wa a bit emaotional when he was being released. Gorgeous photographs of him adn you never know,one day you may see him again. Beautiful butterflies

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    1. We're all relieved to get to this point! It was emotional saying goodbye, but in a good way xx

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  4. A wonderful picture of Bop back where he belong! I'll keep my fingers crossed that all goes well for him in his new surroundings. It would be wonderful if you ever get a glimpse of him again. Well done for you and Jill in saving him and giving him such a good start. Sarah x

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    1. Many thanks, Sarah. I am keeping everything crossed that he now finds his way for himself x

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  5. Bop is so beautiful I hope he does well in the big world.

    cheers, parsnip

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  6. Dear Bop, I'm wishing him well, he's such a beautiful bird. That last photo of him is wonderful. We had the pleasure of seeing ospreys yesterday, albeit distantly - a nesting female with two chicks and a second female. Fair took my breath away. CJ xx

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    1. Ospreys- how marvellous! I think I saw one in a tree at a distance last year, the colours were right but it was too far away to be certain. x

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  7. What a lovely owl. I do wish him well. Life is so hard for wild creatures....

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    1. Thank you Stephanie. Finger's crossed :o)

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  8. Yay for Bop doing so well!! I wonder if he will stick around and if you will see him some more. xx

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    1. Some folks say Tawnys aren't site-faithful, others that they are! I guess I'll only know if I see him again. Such a relief to have released him properly xx

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  9. What a lovely post CT, Bop is beautiful and it's fantastic that he made it to this day. Wishing him well as he goes off on his own. Lovely butterfly photos too BTW.

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    1. It has been an absolute honour being so close to a wild owl this summer. I'm glad you've enjoyed the story and the pictures.

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  10. Awww, farewell to Bop - you have done so much for him and I'm sure he will lead a happy and successful owly life. Congrats on the SS Skippers! Never seen one of them. You are having a great butterfly year. Lovely photos. xx

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    1. I'm so glad he's gone back to the wild. A circle completed I feel. I glimpsed a SSS last summer but only in a flash and never got a picture, so you can imagine how I felt yesterday seeing perhaps 10-15 of them, and many sitting perfectly still on flowers and the path :o) xx

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  11. What a lovely bird, must habe been all a bit "Born Free" to say goodbye!

    Skippers and their odd wings! Like dart flights!

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    1. It's always nerve-wracking saying goodbye, more so with this owl as it was so sudden. All the other birds I've raised have left gradually, more or less deciding when to go themselves and coming back till they were really ready, but with Bop that was it- box open and off he went.

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  12. So glad to hear that Bop has been safely released and I wish him well as he starts his new life.

    Great selection of butterfly photos :)

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    1. Fingers crossed he learns how to look after himself. No sign of him so I am taking that as a good sign! x

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  13. Wonderful, handsome little Bop.. you certainly are a beautiful owl. Stay safe little one and enjoy your new life.

    Lovely butterfly photos :o) xx

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  14. Great news! I'm so pleased for you all. A lovely story for this summer and those photos of Bop are just gorgeous. Have a lovely weekend CT. x

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    1. T'is a relief Shauna to have him safely off in the wild after all the weeks of wondering if we'd reach that point. Have yourself a lovely weekend too my dear xx

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  15. Oh my goodness me! What a wonderful bird, and what a privilege to have been his mum! I wonder if you will see him around. Fabulous butterfly photos too! Looking forward to exploring some more of your lovely blog. A

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    1. The bigger part of me hopes he just goes off into the wild and that's that. The mum part of me would just like to know he is OK :o) Thanks for the comment- I'm also looking forward to reading more of your blog too.

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  16. Bop and Butterflies... How beautiful!
    What a wonderful story! I hope all goes well!
    I am a Hampshire girl now living on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia!
    Our favourite local owl is a Tawny Frog Mouth... I see them often on my endless walks with my two faithful pooches!
    My latest quest is the Pink Robin... Native to South East Victoria!
    Childhood and Teen then most of my twenties exploring and loving Hampshire - just returned from three blissful weeks at home in and around Alton!
    A lovely new blog to follow... Happy days!
    Am an avid follower of The Running Wave... Which is beautifully written and the photographs are amazing as they come straight from the heart!
    Happy days! ��

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    1. I will have to look your Tawny Frog Mouth up :o)

      I know Alton, although not well. We're based outside Romsey. Quite a leap to Aus I should imagine :o)

      Thanks so much for the comment and for following :o)

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    2. I love Hampshire! My brother and family live in Wellow!
      Taken me nearly 14 years to settle here! But now I love it! Diverse country - it's easier though when you have time to enjoy! My children are 17 and 14 and I work from home - My husband has a landscape gardening business and me a Vintage Homewares one!
      Happy Days! X

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  17. Bless both you and Bop x
    I love reading your blog, it's so gentle and the pictures are so lovely. A rare thing in blog land. X

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    1. Thanks my dear- a lovely thing to say x

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  18. Good luck Bop. I hope it is going well for him.

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    1. Thanks Jess. Fingers all crossed here..

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  19. Farewell Bop. You were a privilege to know.
    In awe of the flutters, CT. You do see son beauties.
    Leanne xx

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    1. I'm so pleased you enjoyed his story. Not sure I'll ever get that close to a wild owlet again xx

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