Sunday, 20 June 2010

Joyful June

The year seems to be moving on at an alarming pace although it hasn't felt much like June for the last week or so and the last couple of days have been really quite cool. I am refilling all of the bird feeders in the garden each day, a clear sign that there are lots of youngsters being fed. The Starlings are particularly vociferous at the moment and using their usual bully boy tactics, making sure they get more than their fair share of the food!

'A bird in the boughs sang “June,”
And “June” hummed a bee
In a bacchic glee
As he tumbled over and over
Drunk with the honey-dew.'
(Clinton Scollard)

On one of our regular walks around a small local lake recently I saw this brightly coloured insect which is a type of Cardinal Beetle.

Pyrochroa Serraticornis

'And the poor beetle, that we tread upon,
In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great,
As when a giant dies'
(William Shakespeare)

I was particularly struck by the serrated antennae which earns it part of its Latin name.

I also saw this spider which I hope I have identified correctly as a Long jawed orb web spider. I have also seen it called Large jawed and Stretch spider but the Latin name is...

Tetragnatha montana

During the same walk I saw these colourful Iris growing by the water's edge.

Yellow Iris

It was here that I was bitten by the infamous Blandford Fly. I didn't feel anything at the time but my goodness it made itself known the next day! The whole of my leg from just below the knee to the ankle was an angry brick red and extremely painful. I have heard of several people who have been hospitalised due to its bite and it has taken nearly three weeks for my leg to fully return to normal!

I have been several times, recently, to a local spot where I noticed Blue Tits flying in and out of a hole in a tree trunk to feed their young. Trying to photograph them was very difficult due to their speed but they were fascinating to watch. The last time I went there was no sign of any activity so I hope the family all fledged successfully. The two photos below were the best I could manage I'm afraid.

Blue Tit

Another bird which was difficult to capture due to the speed of its movement was this Treecreeper. I thought I would include the photos (although they are not good) because the only other time I photographed one I only managed to get its back and foot!


'From the day they leave the nest until the day they die
From ground up they climb the tree and then to the next tree fly'
(Francis Duggan)

This little beauty led me a merry dance before eventually camouflaging itself magnificently among the Buttercups.

Brimstone Butterfly

On the same local walk where I saw the nesting Blue Tits and the Brimstone Butterfly I heard and then spotted this Chiffchaff


'And merry chiff-chaff from the budding tree,
Gives out his joyous notes so wild and free'
(John Joseph Briggs)

constantly calling to one of its recently fledged little ones which was on a higher tree branch.

Fledgling Chiffchaff

It is always a pleasure to see Dog Roses decorating the hedgerows at this time of year. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it was used to treat the bite of a rabid dog.

Rosa canina

'In the may-thorn's place,
Now the dog-rose blooms,—
Mingling rich perfumes,
With each modest grace.'
(William Barre)

I haven't been able to identify this small fly but have included it because I thought it made an interesting photograph.

Soldier Fly

Thanks very much to Greenie for identifying it as one of the Soldier Flies but there are so many of them that it hasn't been possible to be specific.


On our latest visit to Draycote, which is where I photographed the Rabbits at the top of this post, I saw this Great Crested Grebe youngster riding on mum's back. I think there is something quite comical looking about the young with their stripy heads!

Great Crested Grebe

Later in the walk we saw both mum and dad providing transport (no decent photo unfortunately) but here its sibling had to be content with swimming alongside.

I was also pleased to see young Yellow Wagtails.

Fledgling Yellow Wagtail

This Buzzard was soaring and gliding over the fields on the opposite side of the water.


'With piercing eye and rapid flight
He skims the moor from morn till night;
The feathered tribe are mute with dread
At visage of his hoary head.'
(Edward William L. Davies)

I had heard that an Egyptian Goose had been at Draycote for a week or so, only the third time one had been seen there in around thirty years. I had been keeping a look out for it but as it is a five and a half mile walk around the entire perimeter of the water and we are usually limited by time I can usually be guaranteed to walk in the wrong direction when looking for a specific bird. This time we walked part way round one side before doubling back and walking a short way in the other direction. We decided that as we had been there for about three hours, and it was quite late in the evening, that it was time to turn around and make our way back to the car when all of a sudden I spotted a large goose foraging at the edge of the was indeed the Egyptian Goose!

Egyptian Goose

I have included the next photo to show the lovely light in the bird's eye but unfortunately I had a problem with camera shake :(

I know it was originally an introduced, ornamental bird which now breeds in the wild in certain parts of the country but I had never seen one before and was pleased to see what is a very rare visitor to Draycote.

Have a wonderful week enjoying the beauty of Nature.


  1. Hello Songbird. I enjoyed your poetry strewn post today :-)

    Keep trying with the tricky Treecreeper! However the Buzzard is perfect !!

    see ya!

  2. Some beautiful shots of the all the young about at the moment. And the Buzzard - stunning, what a bird to capture! A lovely post as usual, I really look forward to reading them :-) Pam

  3. ShySongbird ,
    For once I have to agree with Warren , that Buzzard shot is superb , and that's taking nothing away from the others .
    Another enjoyable walk with you and your poetry .
    Don't take it as gospel , but the Soldier Fly family might help unlock your mystery .

  4. Chiffchaff is back ok then Songbird :-)

  5. Hi Shy - we just got our internet back after having none all day and I was so pleased to see you had posted. I always enjoy yours so much with all the great pictures you take. Loved the Great Crested Grebe youngster riding on his moms back - so cute. Your one spider picture reminded me that while I was digging up flowers from my friends house when she was moving we saw the prettiest (if there can be a pretty one) spider - it was white with small section of pink on it. Very interesting.
    Thanks again for another great post!

  6. Oh and I'm glad to hear your leg is healing although taking quite a long time. Bob gets bit by a spider we have here and goes through the same thing - they even rushed him from work once to the hospital because it concerned them so much.

  7. You always have a wonderful assortment of beautiful photos Jan. So clear and crisp. Great close ups and the little birds are so cute. That butterfly blends right in. You'd never know it was there. Awesome beetle and spider pics!! Hugs.

  8. enjoyed your post jan, hte photo of the buzzard is stunning, wonderful array of creatures you come across on your travels, and as always, beautiful verse, hope the weather picks up.

  9. Great photo of the buzzard Jan. Also loved the photos of the various youngsters. I still haven't managed to see an adult Chiffchaff let alone a young one though I hear them nearly every day.

    I do have lots of stretch spiders building their webs over the pond as many insects come to drink there.

  10. A lovely post as always and as always I really enjoy the format of your posts: a mixture of poetry, prose and photography. You always find such great poetry to quote.

    The red beetle is just stunning and not one that I have seen before.

    The Great Crested Grebe babies remind me of the walking sticks of strippy rock that I used to see back in the 60's. I wonder if they still do them? It is lovely to see photos of them. I have only ever seen them once in the wild and that was many years ago.

    Lovely to see treecreepers as well. I haven't seen them in years.

    Your Buzzard shot was great. I can't get one that good despite the fact the Buzzard spends a lot of time around my fields.

    Sorry to hear about your bite: it sounds awful! The horse flies usually love me and I usually look as though I have a terrible disease at this time of year, but for some reason they have left me alone so far this year: a real blessing!

    Thank you for your comment on my blog: it was much appreciated.

  11. Your photos are a delight as always, Songbird! I love the rabbits peeking up over the grass, and even the cardinal beetle is pretty--certainly an eye-catching color. I had to look twice to spot the Brimstone butterfly in the yellow flowers:) That's probably the reason the treecreeper is so hard to photograph as well (though I think your pictures are excellent) because it blends in so well with its surroundings.

    You never fail to show me something new--the Egyptian goose is a very interesting one. We've had lots of bird activity here lately with all the new fledglings, but unfortunately, I've found several on the ground, whether they couldn't fly or were blown out of the nests by storms, I'm not sure. I tried to rescue them and put them in a safe place, but I'm not sure how many of them made it.

    That fly bite sounds nasty! I hope you're doing better by now.

  12. Dazzling images and a well written commentary to go with them!! LOVE the Grebe giving the kids a ride!!

  13. I found one of those red whizzywhiskers beetles on my lily yesterday, and now I know what its correct name is. Beautiful photos that always make me 'Google' the creatures afterwards. Just going to check out the birds now.
    Saw your recent post on Cheryl's blog, and I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your photos, narrative, quotes and poems and how much I learn here, and most importantly, enjoy.

  14. Great pictures! Thanks for sharing them with us!
    Take Care,
    PS if the could send you some of our hot weather; I would!

  15. I always enjoy seeing your birds, flowers and even rabbits:) Very interesting about the Egyptian Goose.

    We have a bird much like your creeper called a brown creeper. It spirals up the trunk of a tree peering under the bark for bugs. Then it floats very erratically down to the ground like a falling leaf. This is supposed to be a tactic to fool predators.

  16. Excellent post again Jan, and a great selection of pictures too. That Blandford Fly sounds a nasty piece of work. Hope the leg is much better now.
    Well done with the Egyptian Goose. Lovely looking geese.
    Star of the post has to be the Buzzard. What a superb shot! Usually only get these from below, not the top. I bet you're very pleased with that one.

  17. Such a terrific display of nature! Pink rabbit ears poking up were so cute ~ All of the photos were very clear and the poetry such a treat. I agree with the comments above ~ buzzard is fantastic, and how super to have had the opportunity to take the Egyptian Goose. I had to look closely for the yellow butterfly, too! Hope your leg is feeling better ~ bugs like me, too, and a wasp sting swells up like crazy.

  18. Warren Baker

    Thanks very much for both of your comments, Warren :)
    Those Treecreepers are tricky! Yes I got the AWOL Chiffchaff back OK in the end :)


    Thank you very much, Pam, it is lovely to see all the young birds at the moment...a great time of year!


    You and Warren in agreement? Greenie...surely not :)
    Thank you very much for the kind comments and for your help with the ID, I think you are right but goodness knows which one it is, there are so many!


    Thank you very much for both of your very kind comments :)
    Oh dear! What a pain to be without the internet, I don't know how we ever managed without it!
    The GCG did look sweet using mum as a taxi :)
    That fly was a nasty little creature but some have fared even worse than me at their hands or should I say jaws :) I do hope those spiders keep away from your Bob in future!

  19. Don't those rabbits in your opening photo set the perfect tone for your post! I really enjoyed it.


  20. A brilliant post Jan, with some amazing photos. That Buzzard is superb and i wouldn`t mind seeing one of those red Beetles.

  21. Ginnymo

    Thank you very much, Ginny :)
    I probably wouldn't have noticed the the Brimstone Butterfly if I hadn't been chasing it for some time! It was very reluctant to settle.
    I hope things are no worse with you...Hugs.


    Thank you very much for your very kind comments, Denis :) It is always a pleasure to have you visit. As I sit here now it is a very pleasant 23 degrees with beautiful sunshine. I hope it is good where you are too!

  22. Another super post Jan. Only just seen it due to being away in Dorset for a long weekend. The Buzzard shot is spectacular and I also like the Blue Tits, I don't know why but I like to see them in a natural nest site as opposed to a box for a change. Also well done with the Egyptian, haven't seen one myself locally yet.

  23. Midmarsh John

    Thank you very much, John. The Chiffchaffs have led me a merry dance this year, I'm sure they like playing hide-and-seek, at least they have a call I can recognise though :) I seem to remember now that you have posted about the Stretch Spiders.


    Thank you so much for your very nice comments, Kerry.
    I knew the baby GCGs reminded me of something and you are exactly right about the stripey rock walking sticks! I think you can still get them in those 'olde worlde' sweet shops!
    I would love to live somewhere where Buzzards are a regular sight, it sounds idyllic where you are.


    Thank you very much for your very generous comments, Rose.
    Yes, the Treecreeper is very well camouflaged and it moves so quickly, usually around the back of the tree trunk :)
    Poor little fledglings! They face so many dangers. Hopefully the ones you helped would have been found by their parents eventually.
    Thank you, the bite has pretty well cleared up now although it is still slightly tender to the touch, I hope never to encounter one of those little darlings ever again :)

    Dixxe's Doodles

    Thank you very much, you are very kind, Dixxe :)
    The Grebe was fun to watch, I had never seen that before although I knew it happened.


    Thank you very much for your touching comment, Dan. That is very sweet of you. I don't want to give blogging up but do find it difficult sometimes to give it the time it deserves, I would love to be able to post more often but just can't seem to manage it! It is so nice though to know my posts are enjoyed and I do hope to continue for the time being. When I discovered blogging it opened up a whole new world and I think the real joy of it is meeting so many nice people (such as yourself) whom I would never otherwise have come into contact with which is why I shall carry on as long as I possibly can :)


    Thank you very much, Cherrie. Great to hear from you and no sooner said than done...the hot weather has arrived... at least for a few days! Thank you for sending it :)

    Roses and Lilacs

    Thank you very much, Marnie :) I think I have seen your Brown Creeper on blogs and it does look very like ours. They certainly are interesting little creatures, Nature never fails to amaze me!


    Thank you very much, Keith :) It certainly was a nasty piece of work and I hope never to encounter one again. Thank you, it is very much better now.
    Yes I was pleased with the Buzzard photo but you should have seen how many got deleted :)


    Thank you very much, Glo :) I didn't even realise there was a second set of ears until I put the photo onto the computer, it made me smile when I noticed.
    I was very pleased to find the goose, they are not normally seen in my area.
    Yes, thank you the leg is very much better now. I got bitten a couple of times yesterday by 'ordinary' flies, while on a walk, but nothing like that little so and so!

  24. Great shots and verse as usual Jan.
    The Tree Creeper is a very difficult bird to did well. The Buzzard is superb..flight shots are not my forte but I can only improve.
    Like the colourful shots of the Cardinal Beetle. The Spider also deserves a honourable mention.

  25. Wilma

    Thank you very much, Wilma. There seemed to be rabbits everywhere that day, I think they were enjoying the sunshine as much as we were :)


    Thank you very much, Dean :) The beetle was quite striking with its bright colour and the feathery antennae!


    Thank you very much, Phil. I hope you enjoyed Dorset, a lovely place to be at this time of year :)
    Those Blue Tits were so difficult to capture, just too quick for the camera but I agree it is much nicer to see them in a more natural setting than we usually do.
    The goose was a first for me, Draycote is a good place for unusual sightings.

  26. Hi Wow, what a long post ;-) I love the blue tit sequence there, it is a nice one... but the tree creeper is not bad at all, they are so hard to get picture off... here the sun is finally shining too after 10 days of bad weather and rain!!!

  27. Hi there Jan, Joyful June indeed. It's been warm here :-D

    Never heard of the Blandford Fly… ouch! Blue tits nesting in trees I would love to see. Love that Brimstone butterfly. I’ve never seen that either.

    Thanks so much for sharing all these sightings from your wanderings. What a treat to see the young yellow wagtails and the Egyptian Goose too. Always great images Jan… even with the very odd bit of camera shake. You do way better than me with that :-)

    Just wanted to say I appreciate all the time it must take you with your postings. They are always a treat to read. You cover/share so much nature on your travels and are very generous in sharing this with us. Being a bit of a long poster myself I know only too well how long this will take you especially when you’ve had trouble with your eyes. Thank-you :-D

    I do have one bit of blog envy… your ability to leave comments and visit as many blogs as you do. My hat comes off to you there! I for one have always appreciated your support on my blog and fully understand the 'wee small hours browsing'. There’s only so many nights you can keep that up though isn't there :-D

    Wishing you a joyful weekend :-D

  28. An enjoyable catch up. Love the GC Grebe with the young. They are one of my favourites. All the best, A.

  29. Amaizng photography.. Love your blog. Hope you stop by mine. Im new here.

  30. The Abbot

    Thank you very much, Trevor. I hope to do better with the Treecreeper one day :) As you say, it is a very difficult bird to photograph. There were some Buzzard shots which I would have loved to show with it looking quite menacing with its beak wide open but needless to say they were out of focus!
    I hope you are enjoying the good weather.


    Thank you very much, Chris and apologies for the length of the post, If I could manage to post a bit more often they would be shorter :)
    So glad you have some sunshine there at last. Everything is very dry here and we are expecting temperatures of 32 degrees Celsius this weekend!

  31. Hi Songbird, I'm noticing more "quietness" in the yard lately - I believe it's due to the presence of quick, gray, feral cat. I believe I need to do something about it Very Soon! (Hopefully Mr. Shady will have an idea!)

    Beautiful post as usual - you have enjoyed quite a week! :-) Thanks for sharing it.

  32. Hello... What fabulous photos! So many beautiful birds! The blue tit is gorgeous!
    Thanks so much for sharing...

  33. shirl

    Hi Shirl, thank you for your lovely comments :)
    Believe me, you can do without the Blandford Fly, it is a tiny insect with an exceptionally vicious bite. Luckily there are not too many areas of the UK affected by it so I think you are safe there :)
    Yes it was great to see Draycote's latest offerings, I think the camera shake was caused by my excitement :)
    I do find it very difficult to keep up with the blogs I enjoy but by now you have probably read the comment I left on your blog so I won't repeat myself here. I agree entirely though, too many late nights do take their toll!
    I hope you have had a joyful weekend too and that the weather is as good there as it is here :)


    Thank you very much, Angie. I too like GCGs, such elegant looking birds and they looked so sweet with their young :)


    Welcome Lisa! Thank you for visiting and for your kind comments. I shall visit you very soon and I hope you come back here again, you will be most welcome :)

  34. Hi Jan....I had to smile, the rabbits have been playing up again in the garden. I came to visit your blog, to take my mind away from the damage and the first photograph is rabbits. Ha!!
    Will I ever get away from these gentle vegetarians.....

    As always your post takes me back to a bygone age, where life was little bit sweeter, and more genteel.
    The brimstone hides perfectly among the pretty of my favourite butterflies, sadly they have never visited the garden. Perhaps one day they will.

    I love treecreepers. They visit the old oaks that surround the garden....I managed to get a photograph a couple of years ago. They blend in beautifully with the bark....

    A lovely post always.

  35. Super post. Your photos are very interesting

  36. Hi Jan
    Looks like I missed this one again must have had a senior moment, anyway excellent images all round and those Macro shots are great. I have not found a Cardinal Beetle yet,its a beauty. Also not had Treecreeper or Yellow Wag so far this year. your doing great with those sightings. Promise I will keep my eye out for the next one
    Well done lovely post.

  37. Great spider and red beetle. I really enjoy looking at photos from the back yard, or 'garden' as you might say, of places far away. I have those same yellow irises in my garden. I wish I had the goose, too!

  38. Shady Gardener

    Hi Shady, thank you for your kind comments :)
    When it goes quiet in my garden I always know there is either a cat around or a Sparrowhawk. Although it is distressing to see small birds taken by the hawk, I always bear in mind that they and their young need to eat too but cats are never welcome!


    Welcome, Bella and thank you very much for visiting and for your very kind comments. I hope you visit again, you will be very welcome :)

  39. Cheryl

    Thank you so much Cheryl and it is lovely to see you back among us :)
    I must admit I never see a rabbit now without thinking of you... always in a nice way of course!
    I think that bygone age you mention would have suited me well...
    The Treecreepers do blend in well, too well for me so far and they move so quickly!


    Welcome, Claudia and thank you for visiting and for your kind comments :)


    No worries Monty, I know very well how difficult it is to keep up with everyone. Thanks for your very kind comments :)
    The Cardinal Beetle was quite striking. The Yellow Wagtails seem to like Draycote, I saw them there last year also.

  40. Hi Jan,

    Such a lovely post, lots of variety of photos in here. Love the insects, so easily overlooked. And don't you just love the Great-crested Grebe chicks.

    Lovely post Jan.

  41. Robin Robinson

    Welcome! Thank you for visiting and for your kind comments Robin :)
    It always amuses me that 'we' say garden and 'you' say yard when referring to the same area. Just to confuse matters I do have a yard but it just refers to the concrete area at the side of the house where dustbins are kept and which leads to the back garden in one direction and the gate into the front garden in the other and if you weren't confused at the beginning of this reply you probably are now :)

  42. Just popped by to say you were right about it being a lily beetle. two lilies decimated, but at least it has left me two to enjoy (minus some leaves).

  43. Another beautiful post Shysongbird xxx Love the baby yellow wagtail, and the Buzzard!!Your insect pics are amazing, i wish i could take photos like yours!! Thanks for sharing them xxxx

  44. I love seeing your butterflies and bugs...They are so very interesting. All of your birds too they are also a delight. Most of all I love coming and hearing your voice....the poetry you include in your posts is always spot on.....
    Wonderful time with you today. I too think of Cheryl when ever I see a rabbit in the yard!
    Happy July,

  45. John

    Thank you very much, John :) Those grebe chicks were such fun to watch motoring around in style!


    Thanks Dan, I hope they don't ruin the remaining ones but I have heard they can decimate a lot of lilies in a very short time :(


    Thank you very much, Karen :) You are very kind! I had never seen a young Yellow Wagtail before, it was really sweet.


    Thank you very much, Sherry. I'm glad you are back with us after your holiday :) How kind of you to mention the poetry, it is quite time consuming finding the right pieces and I have wondered about dropping it...but then it wouldn't really be the same I suppose.
    Yes, Cheryl and rabbits will always be synonymous now :)


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