Wednesday, 29 July 2015

White Admirals, Black Arches & Bop

I've cut back on some of my volunteer activities. Partly from a feeling of being squished by them, and partly to enable me to focus my energies better. In September, I'll be starting the third year of my Ecology degree and beginning my new job as a study support coach to the new intake of first years, both of which will require more time than I have previously needed to set aside, so some things have had to go.

It's good to periodically look at and assess what brings value and what contributes to or creates stress. I think most of us have the capacity to amass layers of duties and responsibilities that after a while can become too much or be no longer relevant, and relieving oneself of some of them does have a renewing and re-invigorating effect.

I've enjoyed looking at all the things I've done during the past two years and deciding what to keep and what to reduce or step away from. As a result, I've ended up with a portfolio of activities that has a good balance to it (or so I hope, anyway).

I've decided not to study moths as my dissertation subject. There is a lot of truth in the old adage about not making your hobby your life's work. For the first time in over a year therefore the box went out last night purely for pleasure. Going through the resulting moths was a far more enjoyable experience as a result!

The box was lighter as the temperatures have dropped, with 26 species recorded of 45 individuals (as opposed to over 400 a couple of weeks ago). The species have shifted now that the earth energy is heading towards autumn with Scalloped Oaks, Black Arches and a Purple Thorn all present for the first time this year. 

I like the changing seasons: I've always found the turn of the earth and the way the wild things respond to it reassuring, as if everything is in its rightful place. For example, I always look forward to the first sallow moths of Autumn, which are reminiscent of fallen leaves, and the arrival in September of the beautiful marbled green of the Merveille du Jour.

Scalloped Oak

Lesser Broad-Bordered Yellow Underwing (waving and beady-eyed) :o)

Silver Y

Pebble Hooktip

Purple Thorn

Black Arches

Black Arches

 Brussels Lace

I felt The Land's seal of approval today on these decisions to cut back and refocus. First, I came across a White Admiral sitting quietly on a patch of Bramble...

 
They are rare enough for any sight of them to be a special occurrence, and this one remained within touching distance for a good ten minutes. During which time I was, of course, spell-bound, unable to move.


Females are slightly larger than males and have more rounded wings. They tend to nectar on bramble blossom but this can mean that their wings become tatty because of catching on thorns, which I suspect is what's happened to this one. 

This is only the second White Admiral I've seen this summer, despite spending a lot of my time in White-Admiral perfect woodlands. Nature sends these things when you aren't looking for them, eh? By way of encouragement, like a Simple Blessing when one is needed.

 
A little further on a bunny hopped out of some undergrowth and just sat quietly watching me. There was something in her eyes that made me feel a message was being passed, some kind of reminder of what brought me to this degree in the first place, perhaps.


Other flutters came along, and a Great Pied Hoverfly...




And then, as I was heading for home, the sound of hooves running through the trees on my right signalled a small herd of roe deer fleeing at my approach. 

All except one. She stood quietly by the trees and watched me for ages, and I felt another message being passed over.


I made my way home with a sense that the balance that had gone awry has returned, and that The Wild has been there guiding me through it all along.

On a similar vein, Bop is coming home tonight.

Hope you are all well, my dears?

CT :o)

24 comments:

  1. Nice to hear you are once again enjoying your moths, and what a beautiful selection, like the look of the Pebble Hoopkip. You are very lucky to see such wonderful wildlife right on your door step...
    Amanda xx

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    1. Thanks my dear. Be interested to see how our autumn moths compare xx

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  2. I haven't seen a scalloped anything this year alas, saw lots of them a couple of years ago! Some lovely shots in there, the black arches is a handsome specimen.

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  3. Glad to hear about Bop! I think that you are right, it is good to evaluate what you are doing from time to time and it is perfectly OK to drop things, otherwise you can go on adding adding and then never be any good at and for anything let alone yourself. Good on you for making the decision! I hope that you will enjoy your mothy friends - just for fun! xx

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    1. You're so right- by doing too much you end up not doing any of it well. Fingers crossed for little Bop. I'll get M to take pictures tonight as we let him go and hopefully have a post about it all ready tomorrow/ Fri xx

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  4. Lovely post, nature always shows us the way doesn't she.

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  5. I know exactly what you mean about taking some space to reassess and cut back. I admire your ability to assert yourself in and listen carefully to your landscape. Are you looking forward to your final year? It is mine too and I am very excited about starting! Good luck to Bop! x

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    1. I've got two more years to go on mine, so plenty of time yet! Have you thought what you'll do when you finish? x

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    2. Oh wow, fair play to you. That is certainly a commitment, but you always sound so positive about your degree that I'm sure two more years will be just as interesting. I've thought of many things to do after, job or MA perhaps, maybe some plans to combine work and play...all very vague!

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    3. Clarity usually comes, eventually... :o) xx

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  6. I love your photograph of the roe deer CT. I wonder where Bambi is?

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  7. What a beautiful post, I'm so glad you've found a balance of things that you're happy with. I love your comments about the turning of the seasons. It's something I've felt very much since I stopped working in a city centre office and also now that I live closer to the countryside. Good luck with the coming year, I hope it's a good one. CJ xx

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    1. I would miss the seasons if we didn't have them. I think you were born to be a country girl, CJ xx

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    2. If all goes according to plan, which it rarely does, I should be retired by Christmass and living in Somerset, rather than London. The only things on my agenda then will be a trusteeship for a charity that runs a special needs school in Hampshire and a directorship on a pesion scheme. Apart from that my time will be taken up gardening, fishing and possibly a little bit of volunteering. Also cooking. For the first time since my last school holidays I will actually have time to do the things I want to do. (Well the things my wife tells me that I want to do anyway.)

      Always look forward to your blog I know Hampshire quite well and went to school in Salisbury so I know te chalk quite well.

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    3. That all sounds very exciting. Somerset is such a beautiful county. I'm very fortunate that I get to spend time along the river Test surveying for water voles and bats- it's a fabulous trout river as I'm sure you know. Salisbury is also a regular haunt for us. We recently saw the Magna Carta exhibition in the Cathedral- fascinating stuff.
      As to your wife organising your post-retirement days- you know the old adage about retirement? Twice the husband for half the money :o)

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  8. lol I recognise some of these moths! :-) Still haven't seen a White Admiral around here so envious of that! Lovely photos and I don't blame you cutting back on your activities a bit, I really don't know where you get all your energy or time to do so much. xx

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    1. White Admirals seem to appear when you least expect them, in my experience anyway :o) I am feeling better for cutting back- I have more time now to focus on fewer things, which feels like the right thing xx

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  9. Hey CT,
    Beautiful. I'm looking at your hoverfly with great interest, because a rather marvellous insect caught my eye in the garden this evening, and it looks similar, although very brightly colored and the size of a honey bee.
    Leanne xx

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    1. Have a look at Volucella inanis xx

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    2. It is!! Oh you are good!! Xx

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    3. :o) One of my favourite hoverflies 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