Saturday, 28 May 2011

Another May Mixture... in Memory of Linda

With great sadness, this post is dedicated to the memory of a dear blogging friend, Linda/Rain Gardener of Gardening by Trial and Error. I and many others whose lives she touched will miss her very much...

'Such love of life cannot so quickly fade
Or vanish like a vapor in the wind.
For it was of a lasting pleasure made.'
(Nicholas Gordon)


Linda was always struck by how very different our Robin is compared with the American Robin. She thought ours was 'adorable'.


'There's a friendly tone in thy minstrelsy,
And a merry heart beats 'neath thy crimson vest;

There's a pleasant light in thy glistening eye.
And of all our songsters we love thee best'
(E. and A.M. Forrester)


Well, what a strange Spring we have had this year! The ground here has been as dry as it would be in the middle of a very hot Summer. The last week or two although relentlessly dry hasn't been particularly pleasant with high winds and barely any sunshine making photography difficult. I intended to post this sequence of photos earlier in the Spring but didn't quite get around to it so as things are fairly quiet bird wise at the moment I thought I would put them on now.

Shall we dance?

Yes, let's

Shall we be serious and do the weed dance?

Oh no, it's much too soon for that!


Tomorrow... maybe?

As I have said in the past, I am fascinated by the way in which Nature uses camouflage and this following photo is a definite case in point!

Orange Tip Butterfly

Despite the very dry weather I have seen some lovely wild flowers on recent walks.

Clockwise from top left:
Red Campions, Dog Rose, Silverweed,
Ox-eye Daisies, Ox-eye Daisy.

As I mentioned before, things are pretty quiet on the bird front at the moment but I managed to get a quick photo of this Blue Tit which had just captured a juicy caterpillar to feed to its young. You'll need to look closely to spot the caterpillar!

Blue Tit

'A flutter of wings and a flash of blue,
And there my brave little friend are you!'
(G.F. Bradby)

Every year, until I see it again, I forget just how small the following butterfly is. Of course I should remember, after all the clue is in the name :)

Small Copper Butterfly (above and below)

'The butterflies, by eager hopes undone,
Glad as a child, come out to greet the sun.'
(John Clare)

I always think how very delicate Lacewings are, it amazes me that they manage to survive the elements.

Lacewing (Chrysopa perla)

I think this caterpillar must be a Garden Tiger but I thought they were bigger than this one and it wasn't found anywhere near a garden although I know that is probably irrelevant. Does anyone know if there is anything similar but smaller and more slender?

Caterpillar of the Garden Tiger Moth?

'The caterpillar there without
Has never known a mother's care;
Alone to seek its daily fare,
On grass and leaves it crawls about.'

The following photo is another from earlier in the Spring, taken at Draycote Water but not posted before. There was a bit of an altercation going on!


Finally, I will leave you with this pretty little Common Blue Butterfly which was determined it wasn't going to open its wings for me.

Common Blue Butterfly

Well that's all for now... enjoy the beauty of Nature, wherever you are.


  1. Hi Jan,

    Lovely photos of the Grebes and so very sorry to hear about your friend Linda - although I've never actually come across her blog before I have seen others posting about her passing too.

    I love you Butterfly shots, ours seem to have all gone missing :( I haven't seen much really other than whites yet a few weeks ago we had Peacocks, gatekeepers, speckled woods etc :(
    Plenty of Bees here though, and species I've never seen in the garden before.

    The weather is very strange indeed, we have had rain here over the past couple of weeks but it just isn't softening the ground at all! Every time it rains I assume it'll be ok for another few days but when I check the garden and pots they're bone dry again within hours. And due to the generally grey weather we've had for the past week things seem to have stalled somewhat and we're now stuck in a lull and my seedlings don't appear to be getting much larger.

    I'm surprised you're having a quiet bird time.... Lordy I have so many now I just cannot keep up with them. They're emptying all the feeders in little over a day. Ours is definitely a Spring garden for the birds and things become much quieter in later summer/autumn.

  2. Liz

    Hi Liz, thank you :) Linda's passing was a great shock and I know she will be sorely missed.

    I may have unintentionally mislead you slightly. When I mentioned it being quiet regarding birds I didn't mean in the garden, they are frantically busy there, I meant when I have been out and about on walks.

    We did have some thundery downpours on Thursday but it has been so windy that it just dries out too quickly. Mind you the Ground Elder still manages to grow well in my garden :(

  3. That is sad news. I always feel that even if you have never physically met someone, you are affected by their passing.

    You photographs are beautiful, as usual, the Lacewing is particularly delicate.

  4. How sad Jan. As I know from experienced we get so involved with fellow bloggers lives, we do truly lose a friend when they pass away. I am sure she has left many beautiful memories......

    Some beautiful photograps......I love the butterflies. When you have red campion in your garden, you will find the bees, moths and butterflies drawn to the,.....

    Birds....I have so many birds, they are eating me out of house and home. I love to hear the juveniles chirping amongst the tree foliage. Such a pretty sound.......

    I have had huge problems with my blog. I have not been able to sign in for days and can't seem to leave comments on many other blogs. I hope that I can on goes.

  5. Toffeeapple

    Welcome! Thank you for visiting and for your very kind comments :)
    Yes, it was very sad and it is surprising how close we feel to our blogland friends. I suppose it is because we all share a common interest.

  6. Cheryl

    Thank you Cheryl :) You are so right, we do get involved and every blogging friend we make enriches our lives and leaves a mark on it.

    The birds are eating me out of house and home here too, as fast as I fill the feeders and the tables they are empty again ;) They are definitely not quiet in the garden only on my walks.

    So glad you were able to comment successfully. Blogger seems to have lost all my followers now, only temporarily, I hope!!!

  7. ShySongbird ,
    Firstly , may I say , a very moving dedication to your friend/fellow blogger .
    I must say , I am very envious of your Great Crested Grebe shots , even if the lady did say 'no' in the end .
    Also like very much the Cormorants shot .
    Hope your leg is fully healed by now .

  8. Greenie

    Thank you very much Greenie :) I'm glad you liked the GCG shots, I very nearly didn't bother with them and I completely forgot I had the Cormorant photo.

    Thank you, yes, the leg is fully healed now but it took a good month to do so. Those particular flies really are very nasty!

    I hope Carol's foot is improving, from what you said it sounds like it will take quite a time before it heals completely.

  9. Hi Jan,
    Wonderful post and a fitting tribute.

  10. Very sorry to hear your sad news Jan.
    Absolutely love your Grebe shots. Such an elegant, often overlooked bird. I've watched them dancing quite regularly at Bewl Water here in Kent but never quite managed a decent picture.
    We often get Lacewings in the houes and they always strike me as being delicate, but they're probably no more so than other species I guess.
    Can't help with the caterpillar i'm afraid.
    I also have been having trouble posting comments but have overcome it now by unchecking the 'keep me signed in' box.

  11. Lots of interesting images Jan. The GGG in particular and a lovely flower collage. Yes that Small Copper really is quite small when you see it.

  12. i am very sorry for the loss of your friend. (i always marvel at the differences in robins and goldfinches in your country and ours too.) :)

    all of your butterfly and bloom photos are lovely. and the cormorants and mergansers made me smile.

  13. What a moving post Songbird. Your ability to empathise with one and all, nature or human is truly a gift. If only the world had more Songbirds in it :-)

  14. It is terrible that your friend has gone, I will grieve for her.
    Those Grebes are certainly at it, I love your blog.

  15. Sorry to hear about your friend Jan.

    Another excellent selection; especially the Grebes.

  16. Jan,

    Presumably you have some special camera equipment but the quality and presentation of your photos is quite superb and its like looking at wildlife in real life, your postings are always an event.

  17. How sad to hear the news. A lovely and poignant post from you.

  18. Mike Atwood

    Thank you Mike :)


    Thank you Phil.
    So glad you are back safe and sound!
    I'm glad I decided to put the GCG shots on now, as I had had them for some weeks I nearly didn't post them at all. The weed dance (especially in its entirety) is a beautiful thing to see :)


    Thank you Roy :)


    Thank you. Yes, the only thing our Robins have in common is their name, they don't even belong to the same family! Our Goldfinches are in the same family but do look very different :)

  19. Warren Baker

    Awww! Warren, I'm blushing, what a lovely thing to say... thank you :)

    Bob Bushell

    Thank you Bob, it is very sad.
    It would have been nice if the GCGs had done the full dance but at least I got part of it :)


    Thank you Keith :)

    Derek Faulkner

    Thank you very much Derek :) This post was rather a long time coming I'm afraid. I just have a DSLR camera but not one of the sophisticated models that many have. I am tempted to upgrade though!


    Thank you Pam :)

  20. what a lovely series of photos of the great crested grebe, they have such wonderful courtship dances!

    Such nice photos of the small copper too, like you I am always surprised by just how small they are!

  21. Hi Jan (just realised your name!)
    Such poignancy in those words and such lovely photo`s, I am sure your friend will be smiling to be remembered in such a way.
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

  22. Hi Jan. I'm very sorry to hear of the loss of your friend, Linda. Her blog will live on hopefully. What wonderful photos and poems you have. The Butterflies are so pretty and they do blend in well with their surroundings. Love that little Blue Tit with the worm in it's mouth.. I think your Robins are so pretty also. I never knew there were different kinds. Have a nice Memorial Day. Hugs!!

  23. Love the photos and commentary with the GCGs. The wild flowers and weeds seem to be thriving in spite of the lack of rain, unlike quite a few of my garden plants.
    It's a while since I saw a lacewing. There used to be lots of them around here.
    We have had a bit of much needed rain recently and today is dull and wet.

  24. Love the photos and commentary with the GCGs. The wild flowers and weeds seem to be thriving in spite of the lack of rain, unlike quite a few of my garden plants.
    It's a while since I saw a lacewing. There used to be lots of them around here.
    We have had a bit of much needed rain recently and today is dull and wet.

  25. Sorry for the duplicate. Blogger is having a senior moment.

  26. What a lovely tribute to Linda. She will surely be missed by her many friends. And she would love this post, Songbird! From the dancing waterfowl to the delicate butterflies, your pictures are amazing and a delight.

    I do hope the rain finds you soon; we have had so much in the past week that there are ponds in the cornfields. I'm actually hoping for a week of sunny skies.

  27. Crafty Green Poet

    Thank you Juliet :) I agree, the weed dance is beautiful, I have seen it set to music on the TV and it was really magical!


    Thank you John :) I do hope so, it was so sad and so very unexpected.


    Thank you Ginny :) Yes, I hope Linda's blog will remain open so that her 'voice' will live on.
    Our Robin is very different to yours, ours is very much smaller and not even in the same family. The only thing they share really is their name! Thinking of you as always and wishing you well...Big Hugs :)

  28. Midmarsh John

    Thank you John :) Some of my garden plants have suffered too, unfortunately not the dratted Ground Elder!! We have had some much needed rain all morning today and it is still raining now.


    Thank you Rose :) I hope Linda would approve, I think she would. She will be sorely missed by so many.
    I am happy to say the much needed rain has reached us today :) I do hope it is sunny and dry for your imminent big event. Just remember, amongst all the hard work, to enjoy it!

  29. Beautiful photos. I particularly like the grebe shots.

  30. Hi Jan
    Just catching up, so sorry to hear about your friend these thing are never easy.
    Anyway another great post I love the Grebe set and even with the adverse weather conditions you seem to be finding plenty of camers fodder esp the Butterflies, and that Lacewing shot is great.

  31. Lovely phostos as always Shy. I particularly like the series of Grebe shots showing part of the courtship ritual...nice one!

  32. Hi Jan, I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, Linda.

    Your photos again are such a pleasure to see. Fantastic shots of the grebes and I loved the captions! Talking about camouflage, that's a marvellous shot...blended into perfection!

    I'm not familiar with the does remind me a bit of the damselfly. Your butterflies, birds, and wild blooms are lovely!!

  33. I'm really sorry to hear about your friend. This post is a beautiful tribute to her - wonderful photos and words, as always. The coy GC Grebes are my favourites, or maybe the perfectly camouflaged Orange-tip.

  34. Another lovely post, I think my favourite pic is the camouflage Orange Tip but the grebe story is great! I wonder how many minutes or hours we've waited for a Butterfly to open it's wings?

  35. Hello again Jan, like Liz I never crossed blog paths with Linda but I too have seen mentions of her on blogs. Sounds like she’ll be missed in Blogland as well as in the real world. I’ve no doubt you will miss your bird/nature exchanges.

    Loved that blue butterfly shot and the orange tip with wings folded – wow what beautiful markings and so very well camouflaged as you say. Your keen nature eye doesn’t miss much :-)

    Great series of Grebe shots. I’d love to see this behaviour. Enjoy the rest of your week. Hope you are getting some rain :-)

  36. Jeremy

    Thank you very much Jeremy :)


    Thank you Monty. It was a great shock to so many, she will be very sadly missed.
    I believe the weather is supposed to improve for the rest of this week... I hope so :)
    Each year I look forward to seeing our beautiful butterflies again.

    Jason K

    Thank you Jason. The weed dance is lovely, maybe I will see it in its entirety one day :)


    Thank you Kanak. It was very sad.
    Nature's camouflage really does amaze and enthral me, it is just incredible! :)
    Lacewings are quite similar to damselflies but much smaller.

  37. Marianne

    Thank you Marianne :)
    I am filled with awe every time I see Nature's camouflage, I find it breathtaking!

    Alan Pavey

    Thank you Alan, lovely to see you back from your holiday :)
    I waited quite some time for that butterfly to open its wings and when I walked back that way probably an hour or more later, it was still in exactly the same place with wings still closed! I suspect it was settled for the night.


    Thank you Shirl :) Yes I will miss Linda very much having followed her blog and she mine pretty well since I started it, she loved her garden and the wildlife which visited it.
    Nature's camouflage never ceases to amaze and thrill me!
    I hope to see the entire weed dance one day, I hope you do too.
    We had some much needed rain most of the day on Monday but the wind is quite keen again today which dries the ground so quickly!
    Enjoy the rest of your week too :)

  38. With all this fine praise I dont know what I could add but I will try for you are deserving of it! WOW..your butterfly shots are just amazing-I am envious, and you are so right about the camo..I hardly noticed that Orange Tip on that flower until you pointed it out!! So sorry about your blog friend, I lost a dear blog/net friend this yr and his birthday was last Fri...he got so many nice messages left on his Facebook, I know he would have been blushing for he was shy.
    Hope you get some rain soon!!!

  39. OH dang its me again...FORGOT To mention those GREBE shots are so terrific and I loved your captions too!

  40. Hi Jan.
    Just love the photo's of the Great Crested Grebes, you really captured the moment.
    Also a lovely shot of the Cormorant feeding the young one.
    Take care.

  41. Sondra

    Thank you Sondra and apologies for the late reply. I remember reading about the loss of your friend. It is surprising how close we become in blogland and to lose one of our circle is very sad.
    So glad you liked the Grebe shots, they were entertaining to watch :)


    Thank you Ken :) The two Cormorants were actually having a bit of an argument but I can see why you might have thought it was a parent feeding a youngster.

  42. Hi Jan. A lovely tribute to your blogger friend.
    As usual you have put together a beautiful selection to celebrate last months wildlife encounters.
    We have recently had the first rain in months and the garden was gasping for it. FAB.

  43. A lovely tribute to your blogging friend I think ~ some of my blogging friends are my lifeline at time even if we have never met. I love the variety of photo's especially of the Grebes :-) And the quote by John Clare on the butterflies is very apt :)

  44. Frank

    Thank you for your kind comment Frank.
    Still very little rain here, it is desperately needed!


    Welcome! Thank you for visiting and commenting.
    I agree, it is lovely to have contact with so many like minded people and to be able to 'talk' to them regularly.
    It is always a challenge (but enjoyable) to find fitting poems and quotes :)


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