Sunday, July 5, 2009

Walking by Water


It has been so very hot here lately and the humidity has been high and unpleasant, at night the temperature barely dropped at all and sleeping has been difficult. I do love the sun but cannot cope with too much heat and have to be careful as I have (and have always had ) respiratory problems, humidity is no friend of mine! As is so often the case in our country, I suspected it would all end in tears....lots of thunder and lightning to frighten Louis and torrential downpours.

Fortunately, although we did have rain on Thursday night and Friday morning, we were thankfully spared the thunder and lightning and now it is much fresher. The garden has suffered lately through snail activity and lack of rain! However the birds have been busy as usual, the juvenile Blue Tit (above) posed nicely.


Juvenile Greenfinch


Juvenile Goldfinch

The bees have been busy too.


'What is more gentle than a wind in summer?
What is more soothing than the pretty hummer
That stays one moment in an open flower,
And buzzes cheerily from bower to bower?'
(John Keats)

Sometimes, a butterfly visits...


'The butterfly counts not months but moments,
and has time enough'
(Rabindranath Tagore)



Red Admiral

Before it got so hot, I accompanied HLH (for anyone who doesn't know, His Loyal Highness, my husband!) and Louis (our dog) on a local walk recently. We walked through Rainy Corner (named by us because it has rained so often when we have taken this route, but not this time!) where high in a tree we heard this young Blue Tit announcing its presence in the big wide world.


As we walked I looked out for wild flowers...

...I have always loved the wild Forget-Me-Not, it is such a pretty colour. In Victorian England, the Forget-Me-Not flower was worn by women to ensure that their lovers would never forget them.


'When bees hum in the linden tree
and roses bloom in cottage plots.
Along the brookside banks we see
the blue wild forget-me-nots.'
(Patience Strong)


Ragged Robin

'In wet marshy meadows
A tattered piper strays-
Ragged, ragged Robin;
On thin reeds he plays'
(Cicely Mary Barker)



Thistle

'The haughty thistle o'er all danger towers,
In every place the very wasp of flowers'
(John Clare)

We wandered along the canal tow-path, it was a beautiful, sunny, late afternoon.


I saw Damselflies, I think these are....



Banded Demoiselle
(males)


Banded Demoiselle
(female)

Birds were not in evidence at all, not even ducks or swans and there was no sign of that most elusive of birds the Kingfisher, every step I took I kept a careful eye out in the hope of at least seeing that magical flash of blue but it wasn't to be. These geese were on land belonging to a cottage which adjoins the canal


and these lovely Water Irises were growing by the waterside in great abundance.


'Each flower is a soul opening out to nature'
(Gerald De Nerval)


I didn't see many butterflies but I did see and photograph a very tired and shabby looking Painted Lady. Unlike so many other people this year I have only seen three or four of them and this is the only photograph I have been able to get.


As we turned off the tow-path and made our way along the side of the reservoir I saw this...


Betony

and I think this is a type of Vetch, but I'm not sure.


(Edit: Thanks very much to Greenie for confirming the flower above is indeed a Vetch, probably the Narrow-Leaved Everlasting-Pea or possibly the Tuberous Pea, had I been sensible enough to photograph the leaves I know he would have been able to give me an exact identification as he is one of the most knowledgeable Nature bloggers it has been my privilege to encounter.)

There was nothing to be seen on the reservoir itself except this Heron standing on one of the buoys in the familiar manner of the Heron.


As we started to make our way home I was fascinated by the way the sun was shining on this tree on the bank of the river on the opposite side of the reservoir.


Finally, if you haven't expired with boredom by now, for those who remember the juvenile Starling getting stuck in the feeder this proves they never learn! This feeder has the roof adjusted to allow only small birds to feed...


and no, it's not still in there!