Saturday, 11 June 2011

Just June

So here we are in June already, how quickly the year is going and how strange the weather has been so far. We have had some very dull days here but barely any rain still, we desperately need it and if it is going to be dull it may as well rain! However we have had some sunshine and there is still time for it to turn into 'flaming June'. Rain at night and sun in the day, that's what we need :)

'Sweetest daughter of the year,
Smiling June, I hail thee here.
Hail thee with thy skies of blue,
Days of sunshine, nights of dew.
Hail thee with thy songs and flowers,
Balmy air, and leafy bowers,
Bright and fragrant, fresh and clear,
Smiling June, I hail thee here. '
(Henry Francis Lyte)

Last year on one of our regular local walks I noticed a Blue Tit flying in and out of a hole in a tree obviously feeding its young and recently I saw one at the same tree. I couldn't quite work out if it was feeding young again as it didn't appear to have anything in its beak. I wonder if its young might have just fledged and if perhaps it was checking the nest to make sure there were no more chicks left in it. It kept peering inside for some time before flying away and although I waited for a while it didn't return while I was there.

Blue Tit

This beetle was sunning itself on an Ox-eye Daisy. It is our old friend the Fat-legged Beetle but as this is the female she doesn't have the fatter legs of the male.

Fat-legged Beetle (Oedemera Nobilis)

It is always a welcome sight to see the hedgerows laced with the pretty flowers of the Dog Rose.

Dog Rose

'I am the queen whom everybody knows:
I am the English Rose; ...
As joyous as a Robin Redbreast's tune,
I scent the air of June;
My buds are rosy as a baby's cheek;
I have one word to speak,
One word which is my secret and my song,
'Tis "England, England, England" all day long.'
(Cicely Mary Barker)

I was struck by the beautiful depth of colour of this flower which I at first thought was the Hedge Cranesbill but now think is the Meadow Cranesbill.

Meadow? Cranesbill

Last year whenever we visited this spot there was always a Chiffchaff shouting its name from these wires and this year I am pretty sure it is the same bird back there again.

Chiffchaff (above and below)

With it being persistently windy here for so long butterflies have unfortunately been few and far between but I did see this Common Blue

Common Blue Butterfly

'Airy, lovely, heavenly thing!
Butterfly with quivering wing!
Hovering in thy transient hour
Over every bush and flower,
Feasting upon flowers and dew,
Thyself a brilliant blossom too.'
(Translation from Herder)

and this very smart looking Speckled Wood.

Speckled Wood Butterfly

A lot of the Rabbits I see lately seem sadly to be suffering from Myxomatosis so it was pleasing to see these two young ones looking healthy and bright eyed.


As this bee had an orange-red tail (although it can't be seen in the photo) I think I have identified it correctly.

Bumble-Bee (Bombus pratorum)

'Burly, dozing humble-bee, ...
Where thou art is clime for me,
Insect lover of the sun,
Joy of thy dominion!
Sailor of the atmosphere;
Swimmer through the waves of air;
Voyager of light and noon;
Epicurean of June.'
(Ralph Waldo Emmerson)

I have tried but failed to identify the flower in the next photo so have posted it in the hope someone may be able to help.

Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor)

Edit: Thanks very much to Greenie for identifying the above flower and yes, I should definitely have recognised it! ;) Thanks also to Cheryl and John.

I could hear this Yellowhammer but for some time couldn't locate it but then it stopped singing for a few moments and started again in a different place where I spotted it quite easily.


'But this sweet day, an hour ago,
A yellowhammer, clear and low,
In love and tender pity
Thrilled out his dainty ditty.'
(David Gray)

The poor Yellowhammer was once a much maligned little bird surrounded by fear and fable. Cobham Brewer, in his Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1898) said;

'The eggs of this bird are spotted with red. The tradition is that the bird fluttered about the Cross, and got stained with the blood in its plumage, and by way of punishment its eggs were doomed ever after to bear marks of blood. ’Tis a very lame story, but helps to show how in former times every possible thing was made to bear some allusion to the Redeemer. Because the bird was “cursed,” boys who abstain from plundering the eggs of small birds, were taught that it is as right and proper to destroy the eggs of the bunting as to persecute a Jew.'!

On a happier note, some of both Beethoven and Messiaen's compositions were inspired by the song of the Yellowhammer.

Well, that's all until next time... enjoy the beauty of Nature, wherever you are.


  1. Some of those lame old stories persist into modern times Jan - perpetuated by you know who ;-)

    A lovely tale of June none-the-less jan.

  2. ShySongbird ,
    I would agree with your Meadow Cranesbill ID . Also with your Bombus pratorum (Early Bumblebee) ID , the other Red Tailed Bumblebee doesn't have the gold band infront of the wings .
    You will kick yourself re. the yellow flowers , it's that parasitic Yellow Rattle/Rhinanthus minor .
    Another most enjoyable read , beautifully put together .

  3. Hi Jan,

    Beautiful post as always.

    Sorry to hear that you have not had any rain. We have sunshine and showers. I must confess I am enjoying it, feels more like a UK summer to me.
    I hope rain comes soon, I know that many areas in UK need it.
    Poor farmers.

    The purple/blue wildflower is meadow cranesbill. The yellow one, looks like yellow rattle to me. I would love some of that in my garden (meadow area).

    I do so love the yellow hammer.
    When I was little, Mum and Dad would walk us over the cliff tops of Hastings. Listen, Dad would say, can you hear the yellow hammer? Alas I always heard it, but never saw it.
    I did have one in my garden one very cold winter. It's visit was fleeting......

    Time is so fleeting Jan. I realise it more and more, as I walk the path to old age.

    Whatever the weather, cherish each moment.....

  4. Brilliant set of birds, flowers, invertebrates, and animals. You find that introduction is right about our weather. Beautiful pictures.

  5. YOUR Explores are beautifully documented by these awesome photos! The little blue tit certainly has an interest in that hole!
    What a lame story to have passed around and even more lame that people actually believed it--ABOUT like one that floats here that the Dogwood having the red stains on each corner to reminds us of the crucifixion..Love that photo of your yellowhammer!!

  6. Another excellent and interesting post, Jan, very stimulating after my gruelling 12hr shift today!

  7. these are all beautiful. really enjoyed the wood butterfly! wow! and that cute little blue tit peeking in the tree holes! lovely bunnies!

  8. Hi Jan,
    A very absorbing post, love the lost little Blue Tit!
    As far as the Cranesbill is concerned, I was under the impression that Meadow Crane`s-bill has a lighter, almost white vein on the petals, whereas your photo shows them to be darker than the petal,I could be wrong,probably am! It looks more like Geranium x magnificum, a cultivar of the hardy geranium which has very dark veins to the petals. The yellow flower is Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor (Scrophulariaceae)).
    A visual and mental delight!
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

  9. Jan, I think the Blue Tit is a female.
    They normally have one brood Apr to May, so I'm am not sure what she is doing. Perhaps she is looking for future suitable winter quarters.{:)

  10. Awww. That little Blue Tit is so cute as he looks into the hole on the tree. What great close ups! Love the Bumble Bee. And the flowers are so pretty. You can have some of our rain. It was raining all day today and will be tomorrow also. We've had too much already this year. Have a nice Sunday Jan! Hugs!

  11. Lovely post Jan. We have been promised rain here in Dorset today, a much needed rain, both my waterbuts are empty and it is rather expensive to water my pot plants with tap water:) The temperature must be low for this time of year, I noticed last night at work, which is hospital, the heating was on. I have never known the heating to be on at the hospital, where I work, in June!

  12. Hi ShySongbird, Lovely post again, I'm glad the Yellowhammer posed for you, that's a great shot, I wonder if the Blue Tit was starting to think, second brood? A realy nice read :-)

  13. Lovely post Shy....enjoyable as always.

    Stunning Yellowhammer and what a cracking Speckled Wood photo!

  14. Warren Baker

    Thank you Warren :) Yes, I agree there are far too many old tales like that and far too many people who still believe some of them!


    Thank you Greenie. Yes, I have kicked myself black and blue ;) especially as I commented on the Yellow Rattle when you posted it on your blog!
    I was pleased to see you agreed with my Meadow Cranesbill ID but have since had a comment from John/Hedgeland Tales wondering if it is Geranium magnificum as he is under the impression that MC has an almost white vein on the petal rather than the dark vein in my photo. However, I have looked on google images and found photos of both the pale veined flowers and the darker veined, each purporting to be Meadow Cranesbill... confused? I am!!


    Thank you Cheryl :) It is the strangest thing that the last two or three times I have posted that we have had barely any rain, the very next day we have some and that is the case today! We have had quite heavy rain most of the morning and very welcome it is too although we still have the quite high wind blowing which seems to have been with us for weeks now and dries the ground out so quickly.
    So nice to read your Yellowhammer memories. A friend of mine here had them in his garden during the Winter, it is quite a small garden but he is lucky to have native mature trees in close proximity.
    Yes, time goes so very quickly... it is frightening. We can only enjoy the moment.
    Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

  15. Bob Bushell

    Thank you very much Bob :) We have some much needed rain at the moment!!


    Thank you Sondra. Yes, such a shame that people would be so influenced by the story that they would urge their children to kill the poor things. I seem to remember, in complete contrast that it was once believed that our Robin received its red breast in the same way but that was thought to be a blessing and so the Robin was revered!

    Kevin Groocock

    Thank you Kevin :) A 12 hour shift doing your particular job sounds exceptionally gruelling. I hope you get some time to yourself soon!

  16. texwisgirl

    Thank you :) The Blue Tit was entertaining to watch.


    Thank you John, I am really confused now ;) After looking at Google images of Meadow Cranesbill it seems that some photos show it with the light vein and some with the darker vein, I'm not sure what to think!


    Thank you Roy. You could be right although last year I took photos of Blue Tits feeding their young in the nest in that tree at the end of May and the photos this year were taken on the 6th of June. I assume it was probably the same bird as they usually return to their old nesting place. I read that if their brood is unsuccessful for any reason they have been known to breed again the same year so maybe that was the explanation. I think I would prefer your idea though :)

  17. I'm glad that people don't believe in such fables anymore, not only for its unbelievable prejudice, but also to spare such a lovely bird as the yellowhammer.

    Your butterfly photos are exquisite! I haven't taken a photo of a butterfly yet, but they are about. Friday my friend and I were sitting on the front porch when two swallowtails did a dance for several minutes. I was so mesmerized that I didn't even think to grab a camera:)

    I do hope you get some rain soon. We've had such a heatwave here that even with frequent rainshowers I've had to drag out the hose to water everything quite often.

    Hope you are having a relaxing weekend, Jan!

  18. Once again, an excellent post Jan.
    Full of information too. That's what makes blogging so enjoyable for me.

    That little Blue Tit looking inside that tree, is a lovely capture.

  19. Well done Jan, another excellent post that immediately puts one into memories of golden days. I particually liked the Dog Rose verse.
    I wonder who Warren's "you know who" might be - possibly that person is simply trying to re-dress the balance in order that we can maintain the memories that you stir so easily.

  20. June already and the longest day is just around the corner Jan. I hope the second half of the year slows down and brings your area some rain. We've certainly got some more here.
    Lovely post as ever. Thank goodness we live in a more enlightened age, at least as far as the Yellowhammer is concerned, although when one species is being left alone it seems others are still being maligned.

  21. Ginnymo

    Thank you Ginny :) I have put the spell on it... we have rain today!!
    Blue Tits are such pretty and entertaining little birds.
    Enjoy your Sunday too... Big Hugs!

    Linda Yarrow

    Thank you Linda :) We have rain at last!! We have had heat on the last two evenings which as you say is very unusual in June... expensive too :(
    I hope your potted plants get some nice gentle rain water today.

    Alan Pavey

    Thank you Alan :) I seem to have done quite well for Yellowhammer sightings this year, that one was in a different location again!
    I believe it is very rare that the Blue Tit has more than one brood in the same year but you never know.

    Jason K

    Thank you Jason, glad you were able to comment easily without being Mr Anonymous, hope that is all sorted out now :)
    I was rather pleased with that smart looking Speckled Wood myself.

  22. I really enjoyed your wonderful photos with accompanying poems and info :)

    Your photos of the little blue tit are delightful ~ it would be interesting to know what it's up to ~ perhaps it is just curious like the rest of us ;)

    I googled the Yellowhammer, such a pretty bird ~ it lives in the UK and Europe and has been introduced to New Zealand, so I'm not likely to see one over here, am I.

    Striking photo of the bee...eyes and all!! The butterfly is so clear as well. Hoppy little bunnies are fun to watch. They hop away too quickly for me most of the time.

    The Dog roses you picture seem to the same as our Wild Roses, which are just coming out now. Lovely fragrance.

  23. Great post - lovely images and poetry :) I love the Yellowhammer photo in particular with the elegant shapes of the thin twigs. I've never heard that story about Yellowhammer eggs before, remarkable stuff.

  24. Rose

    Thank you Rose :) It is incredible that such beliefs could become so ingrained and that an innocent little bird could be so horribly persecuted as a result, but then it is incredible to me that anyone for whatever reason could harm any living creature... and they say we are the intelligent species?...
    How lovely to see the Swallowtails like that, a magical moment!
    I am happy to say that it rained all day long yesterday, we needed it so desperately.
    Have a great week :)


    Thank you Keith :) It is interesting how much extra information I have picked up through reading blogs and through researching for my own posts, as you say it makes blogging so enjoyable.

    Derek Faulkner

    Thank you Derek :) I like the Dog Rose poem too and thought it fitted quite well with the Rose being such a quintessential symbol of England!


    Thank you Phil :) I was thinking the very thing just the other day and then tried to put it out of my mind, the year is going far too quickly for my liking!
    I agree completely, I do hope that one day people will realise they cannot persecute innocent creatures in an attempt to correct the problems man himself has created.
    We had rain here all day yesterday!

  25. I Jan been a bit late catching up with this one,won't mention the rain I think you should have had some by now as it was really soggy here yesterday but very needed.
    There you go again throwing Yellowhammer pics at me, and I cannot get a shot of one for love nor money.
    Bombus pratorum is ok as the 2nd abdominal segment has a yellow band which is broken in the middle which yours is.
    Anyway thanks again for a super post and a great read enjoyed it very much.

  26. Glo

    Thank you Glo :) So glad you enjoyed the post.
    I just hope nothing nasty had befallen the Blue Tit's brood!
    Yes, the Yellowhammer is pretty, sadly it is on our red list of endangered species :(
    The Roses could well be the same, ours do have a scent.


    Thank you for your kind comments Marianne :)
    I thought the Yellowhammer info was fascinating too, sad though!

    Hi Monty, thank you :)
    Sorry about the abundance of Yellowhammers ;) I have seen more here this year than I have for some years which is great. I hope you get some soon!
    Thanks also re the bee, I believe the only other Bumble with a red tail is the Red-tailed and I knew it wasn't that one.

  27. Hi Jan ; } how did I know that???
    I just joined the groupee's that follow you blog hahaha...and thanks for coming over to my side!!
    I laughed when I saw your poppy, bumble bee and the rose, for my being the next day of the same, but the kicker was the Yellow Rattler ....just this past week on a little roadside walk near my home I saw the exact plant...I had a hard time getting a good photo, nothing like quality of your...and did not know what it fact I not sure I have seen it before!!
    I have a wild flower site I like of The New England states with color went for the yellow and there it was...maybe it came with the settlers when they came here from England lol!!
    Small world !!
    I loved the information you added on the Yellowhammer..amazing stuff..very nice to the poem to go along with the photo's!!
    Have a good one!! Grace ; } Did you know that???

  28. grammie g

    Hi Grace ;) Welcome! Thank you so much for visiting, following and commenting. So lovely to see you here. Oh yes, I definitely knew it was Grace ;) (such a pretty name) after spotting your comments on other blogs.
    I too laughed when I saw the similar post on your blog. Your Poppy photos were beautiful by the way!
    The Yellow Rattle was rather embarrassing as I had not long ago commented on a photo of it on another blog.
    I do hope you visit again, it is always a pleasure to make a new blogland friend :)

  29. Lovely shots of the Blue Tit and very jealous of the shots of the Chiffchaff. Sometimes on our walks I can hear one really close but I have never managed to see one yet.

  30. Midmarsh John

    Thank you John, I am lucky in that particular location, there are at least a couple of Chiffchaffs there and always one singing from the wire.
    Of course it would look much prettier in a photo if it was perched in a tree, I just missed one posed like that the other day!
    When you hear one, try looking near the top of the tree canopy, they seem to like a high perch with a clear view most of the time :)

  31. Another beautiful post, Jan. Half the year has flown so fast. I hope rain comes your way. We're enjoying the rains here. Which means it's not too much or everything gets flooded.

    Striking colour on the Meadow Cranesbill. I always enjoy your bird pictures and loved the Blue Tit photos. Great captures of the butterflies too.

    Thank you for the comment on my blog. Yes, you're right. It's the same dragonfly that you'd seen on my blog before. But a different shot. I was going through my folders and I noticed the glitter of the sun on its wings and went ahead...:)

  32. Have just been much enjoying catching up with all your beautiful photos - you lucky thing having the Yellow Hammer - haven't seen one here at all - not sure if they are in Brittany? Loved the shots too of the Blue Tit - this looks like an ideal nesting site and from experience here they are the most fantastic parents! Hope by the time you recieve this you might have been enjoying the same quantities of rain that seem to have arrived in Brittany this week and over the weekend - the garden and birds are loving it! Take care Miranda x

  33. How lovely it is to be visiting again. Thoroughly enjoyed the diversity of your post, from your splendid photos to the poetry, and so interesting to read. Thanks for stopping by, it was so nice to see you again.

  34. Nature Rambles

    Thank you Kanak :) We have had some much needed rain now and everything is looking a little fresher than it was.
    Butterflies seem to be in short supply here at the moment, I do hope the severe Winter we had hasn't affected them.
    That dragonfly of yours is a stunning colour and the sun glittering on the wings makes it look fairy like ;)

    Miranda Bell

    Thank you Miranda, lovely to see you here again :) I think you do get Yellowhammers in France and presumably in Brittany. It seemed they had disappeared in my area as I hadn't seen them for a few years but this years I have seen them in four or five different locations locally which has been a real thrill!
    Yes, we have had rain now and very welcome it was too :)
    Have a lovely week!


    Thank you Denise, it is lovely to have you back :) So glad you enjoyed your visit, you are welcome here any time :)

  35. Jan, it's me again. Thank you for checking out my post on 'Nests". I was surprised to read that ants do not make nests out of leaves in your part of the world. Wendy, from Canada, also mentioned the same thing. Here, it's pretty common to see such a sight.

    There's a new post on my other blog where I've included a video of my nephew singing. I'd be delighted if you check that one out as well!:)

  36. I think your Bee is Bombus hortorum.
    But you know what I Know........sweet nothing.

  37. Nature Rambles

    Hello again Kanak :) I have popped over and enjoyed the video. You must be very proud of your nephew, he obviously comes from a very musical family. And he is still only sixteen!


    Thank you Adrian :) The photo didn't show it but the bee had a distinctive red tail and as we only have two red tailed bees here and the other is only red and black with no gold, I'm afraid it does make mine Bombus pratorum. Your input is always much appreciated though :)

  38. Jan...thank you so much!! For stopping by and for watching the videos on You Tube.

    Since you asked... my younger son is a drummer with a local band. He has performed in quite a few cities in India and has won some competitions. He'll soon be 17.He just got back from Chennai today where he attended a summer (drum) camp conducted by the famous German drummer, Benny Greb.

    I'll upload a video in a month or so but there's one on You Tube where he plays the drums with a band. It's called Dark Horizon/Hallucination.

    Thank you once again. My nephew was very happy to read your comment and the ones left by other blog friends. And my husband was thrilled too!:))

  39. You love Nature ! You love photography !

  40. A lovely post... your images are beautiful...many thanks for sharing.

  41. Hello again Jan, June certainly has flown by hasn’t it :-)

    Love the series of blue tit photos on the tree and the pretty cranesbill. I am a fan of the hardy geranium. Nice to see some butterflies, wind & rain have kept them away from here.

    Wonderful Bumble bee capture too and interesting to hear about the Yellowhammer. It is a very pretty bird and I don’t see it often at all.

    Wishing you some rain soon so flaming June can make it before the end of the month! Enjoy your wildlife sightings and the rest of your week :-)

  42. kanak7

    Hi again Kanak :) You certainly do have a musical family. I found the video you mentioned, if I am honest it wasn't quite my taste ;) but it was certainly energetic!!


    Welcome! Thank you so much for visiting, following and commenting. Yes I do love Nature and trying to photograph it which can be very challenging and frustrating at times :)


    Thank you Andrew, always a pleasure to see you here :)

  43. shirl

    Hi Shirl :) The whole year is going too fast for my liking!

    You spoke too soon! Not a butterfly in sight here now, not one :( But we have had lots of rain which was welcome but I've had enough of it now ;)

    We used to see Yellowhammers in one particular place here some years ago then they disappeared and it was some years before I saw another but this year I have seen them in several different locations which is great!

    Enjoy the rest of the weekend Shirl, I hope you and yours are all well :)

  44. Dear Jan,
    Here I am catching up....always love to see your butterflies. Do hope more emerge as the rains stop and summer comes on.
    I love my butterflies.
    I miss them so much in the winter we often have to travel so I can see bugs....I actually can become depressed. So I enjoy every butterfly moment I can while the weather allows.

  45. So I'm going into the past for your blog. I love that have Blue Tits in your area. I would love to see this family of birds that live in your areas. Beautiful little birds. So are things warming up and how's the migration? I'm starting to see different butterflies and birds around in my garden. Love your shots of the flowers and nesting BT. All my best. Chris


Please feel free to leave a friendly comment and thank you for taking the time to visit, it's much appreciated and I try to answer each one although it may sometimes take me a few days to do so.

PLEASE NOTE: Any comments which include unrelated links will be deleted!