"Good morning," I said, slightly blearily.
She bobbed her tail in reply and put her head on one side, stared at me for a second longer then turned round and hopped back out the window.
What a nice way to wake up.
I made a somewhat flippant remark yesterday that M's work colleagues would be forming a not terribly flattering opinion of me from my various wildlife-related phone calls. This was confirmed last night when he arrived home and told me about a conversation he'd had with a colleague over lunch, which ran like this:
M's colleague (who was eating a sandwich from the canteen whereas M was eating a packed lunch brought from home): "What have you got for lunch today?"
M (opening his ice cream tub and watching a cricket leap out of it): "A small cricket."
I've decided I need a decent wild flower ID book so would like some suggestions as to what I should get please. I've got a small one for going out and about with but would ideally like a more hefty and comprehensive tome to keep at home. Any suggestions gratefully received.
I found an Interesting Poo in the garden yesterday, which, amid all the excitement of the Hummingbird Hawkmoth I forgot to post. There are two contenders: a hedgehog (which would be very exciting) or a toad. There is a toad in the garden but I've never seen a hedgehog. What do you think?
On a different subject, we went back to the woods this morning and I got some better shots of the Silver Washed Fritillaries who live there. They were out in abundance enjoying the wild mint, knapweed and buddleia that grows there allowing plenty of decent photo opportunities.
There were lots of other butterflies and bees too, all too busy on the flowers to pay much attention to me getting closer and closer with the camera!
The woods are an ancient place with a history that includes the site of a Viking battle against the local Saxons. One of the Saxon Warriors, presumably a casualty from this battle, is buried at a local church. A culvert runs from one side of the woods and crosses beneath the road, it is known locally as "Bloody Bridge" in memory of this long ago event. The woods themselves are a mix of broad leaf and deciduous trees with open trackways running through them that support a wide variety of native plants and insects. It is a managed woodland that is well looked after and proof of the positive impact man can have on an environment if sensitively handled.
It is a great place to practice Improving Your Knowledge Of Native Plant Names, because so many grow there. Today I added Enchanter's Nightshade to my lexicon. I think it is my favourite Wild Plant Name yet. Here it is, with the leaves in the second shot.
Last year's pine cones
Cob Nut (or beech tree nut)
And a poor dead shrew
Here are some more pictures of Things I Have Enjoyed Looking At This Week....
Four Bees In A Row
A Pigeon's egg, hatched
A Hungry Bee
Inside a Clematis
Bittersweet (the berries are poisonous, which the flowers seem to suggest)
This afternoon we went hunting the source of the River Test, something that sounds very romantic and wild, but actually turned out to be disappointingly pedestrian. The Birth Of A River should, to my mind, be wild and wonderful- this river starts life as a spring which has managed to turn itself into a rather murky pond in the middle of a field which in turn feeds out into a gloopy trickly little river. It does eventually turn into one of the greatest chalk streams (complete with exorbitant fishing rights) in the country, but you'd never guess it from such humble beginnings...
I was, however, pleased to see it, and even more so when I discovered these amazing caterpillars on the nettles that are abundant there. I am pretty sure they are peacocks, as they spin a silken web and feed off nettles, but as my caterpillar knowledge is limited to say the least so I will happily be corrected if anyone recognises them as something different. There were loads, so whoever they belong to they should hopefully do well. I am slightly kicking myself for not having brought some home to raise here as we know the food source and it would have been smashing to watch peacock butterflies develope. I've just worked out that our pillar people are Large Whites, so nothing dramatic there!
Another lovely day spent mostly out of doors, and as a result I still haven't got round to posting my moths for you to ooh and ahh over. I promise to do that in the next couple of days. I have some real beauties to show you. My count for the year is now up to 255 different moth species and 18 butterflies. It would be great to get to 300 moths before the year ends.
Here are a couple to keep you going...
An August Thorn who was sitting quite happily on my hand and refused to get off
Lesser Swallow Prominent
(this one is especially for my blogging pal Seagull Suzie, because I know of her love for furry moths)
Have a lovely evening all. We're having Chinese here and a bottle of fizz tonight which is chilling in the freezer as I type so no cooking for me yipee!