Saturday, November 24, 2012

Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve on a Summer's Day

As is often the case with the best laid plans, my 'series of catch up posts' wasn't to be but as the weather here has been so very gloomy for the last few weeks I thought it would be nice to be transported back to one of the very few sunny Summer days we had this year and show you a visit I made to Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve. The reserve is located high on the steep north western escarpment of the Chilterns and part of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Beauty (COAB), it is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).



The beauty of this special place was, for me, marred by the ever present sound of traffic from the motorway, the M40 having been carved straight through the chalk hill, the heart of the reserve, which has resulted in reserve land on both sides of the motorway. For much of the time it is only the constant hum of the traffic which disturbs the tranquillity of this lovely place but there is one part which involves a lengthy walk along a narrow track on the top of the very steep hillside where the motorway is in full view far below. Some would probably not find it intrusive but for me it spoilt the place and it is a mystery to me why the decision would have been made, back in 1974, to cut the Chiltern escarpment through the middle of a supposedly protected National Nature Reserve despite, apparently, fierce and passionate opposition at the time by conservationists. I hasten to add I am not being hypocritical and did not travel on the motorway to get there, even though it would have cut the around an hour and a quarter journey by about twenty minutes or so, preferring to avoid such soulless routes whenever possible.

 

My little rant over ;-) and back to the purpose of the visit which was primarily to look for the Chalkhill Blue butterfly. It is fortunate I didn't go for the Red Kites which should have been there in abundance as the only one I saw was on the journey there! Unlike the visit to nearby Watlington Hill in 2009 when they were everywhere. You can read about that visit here and here. I should add the visit to Watlington Hill was unsullied by sights or sounds of the motorway but I didn't see any Chalkhill Blues there and had read I was more likely to at Aston Rowant and so it was, although on this occasion not in the large numbers I might have expected.



Chalkhill Blue Butterfly


As the name suggests, this pretty little butterfly is found on chalk downland and sometimes limestone downland. Their larval foodplant is Horseshoe Vetch and large numbers of males may be seen en masse obtaining moisture and minerals from animal dung in the same way as the Purple Emperor. The Chalkhill Blue is a butterfly of conservation concern due to weather patterns during the last decade or so.




'0 could I stand beneath the sky,
With shining grass about my feet,
And catch one bright blue butterfly:
I think that life would be too sweet!'
(E.A. Hart)

I interpreted the poem to mean 'catch' with the eye rather than the hands. I think you know I would never approve of that :-)




I only found one with open wings, a male.




There are a small number of attractive sculptures on the reserve which were created by local artists, mostly from wood found there. Each sculpture has a wind-up listening post where you can hear audio clips of either the artist relating the story behind their piece or children and adults explaining what the reserve means to them.




Despite this next butterfly being relatively widespread throughout the country I had never knowingly seen it before although I know many of my UK blogland friends have. It is quite inconspicuous and rarely settles more than a metre above ground so I may well have inadvertently overlooked it in the past.



 Small Heath Butterfly


I spotted this grasshopper on the naturally trodden, narrow track we were following through the chalk grassland, it is slightly out of focus as it was constantly on the move but the photo also shows how chalky the ground is. I'm not completely sure but think it is the Common Green Grasshopper.

EDIT: Thank you very much to Greenie for confirmation of my ID. As always, I knew I could rely on you Greenie.



 Common Green Grasshopper

'When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper's--he takes the lead
In summer luxury,--he has never done
With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.'

(John Keats)


When I visited Watlington Hill I was lucky enough to see a rare butterfly which is restricted to chalk downland in southern England so I was hoping I might also see it at Aston Rowant, I was not disappointed.


Silver-spotted Skipper Butterfly


This delightful little butterfly is on the wing from late July until early September. They have one brood and the female lays a single egg on Sheep's Fescue (a type of grass), or sometimes on adjacent plants, where they overwinter. In early Spring the larvae hatch and then feed in small silk webs around the food plant. They pupate deep within small tussocks of grass and surrounded by loose silk cocoons. Although the Silver-spotted Skipper is of conservation concern, due to a decline over the last fifty years, its fortunes have improved since the 1980s with the careful management of chalk grassland sites.




Before we set off for the reserve I had made a mental note to look out for another rarity however, when we arrived I was so engrossed in looking for butterflies that I completely forgot but on our way back to the car we passed an information board which mentioned it and decided to double back and make another foray, this time looking not for a butterfly but for a flower.



Consequently I spent another hour or so going uphill...very, very steep, breath taking and back bothering hills ;-) and down dale but with no success having completely lost track of the instructions of the route to follow which were given on the notice board. In the end I admitted defeat and decided to try again another time....Only to get home and find that just the third photo I had taken, on arrival, of a pretty but unknown flower was what I had subsequently spent so long searching for at the end of my visit! Why it didn't dawn on me when I took the photo I really don't know, if it had I would have spent more time taking a better one than this solitary, quick snap :-)



Chiltern Gentian

As we wended our way back through the woodland to the car park this sculpture looked quite magical with the setting sun's rays falling on it through the tree canopy.




A most enjoyable visit rounded off by a couple of Roe Deer running across the track and into the reserve as we started the journey home.

I know this has been rather a lengthy post but as my posts have been few and far between this year I hope I will be forgiven.

Until next time...enjoy the beauty of Nature, wherever you are.

76 comments:

  1. the butterflies are beautiful. sorry about the trafficway being cut through such a 'should-be' serene place.

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  2. Great post Jan. Lovely jewels of summer.

    It seems so long ago that I spent time looking for butterflies in the sun. lol

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  3. This post has been a beautiful antidote to the recent weather, thank you Jan.

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  4. Nice post Jan. I have made a couple of trips up to that spot mainly looking for kites, with a lot of success of course. The motorway cut through the hill is known as Dibley Cut as it is featured on the credits of 'The Vicar of Dibley'. Another useless bit of info.

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  5. TexWisGirl

    Thank you Theresa, It should never have been allowed, a criminal act in my opinion!

    holdingmoments

    Thanks Keith, Those few sunny days were so brief, surely next year will be better.

    Toffeeapple

    Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it :-)

    Mike Atwood

    Thank you Mike. Not useless to me at all! I had no idea about that and I should have with the amount of times I have watched the programmes. Here's one for you now, I have a cousin who is a vicar and she has a dog called Dibley for obvious reasons ;-)

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  6. Jan,

    I'm always impressed by the way you lay out your blogs, the photos always stand out really impressively, well done.

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  7. A lovely summer, or, a few days we call it summer. I love the Chalkhill Blue butterflies, beautiful. I have only three in my life. Brilliant photos and post.

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  8. Hi Jan,

    Lovely photos; as always I love Butterflies - who doesn't???!!

    Can't believe how horrible it's getting now though, and I'm really concerned about snow... Eeeeek. Really, really don't want to have any this year but it's already cold compared to last year.

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  9. Hi Jan - What a lovely post to brighten up a miserable dark, dreary and rainy day. The photos are really lovely - so glad you managed to see these beautiful species and got a photo of the Chiltern Gentian :)

    It looks a beautiful reserve although its appalling that the motorway was allowed to cut through the middle :( Why on earth couldn't it have made a detour and gone round the reserve? I really do despair of this country at times.

    I followed your links to Watlington Hill :) Some great photos of Red Kites and butterflies. It is such a beautiful spot with amazing views.

    Just hoping the weather is drier and warmer next year and we both get chance to go out more often and that the year will be better for butterflies.

    Love the last photo of the sculptures by the way - it looks like a fairy glen :)

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  10. Another lovely post and especially nice to read on such a dull day :-) Great photos as always too I would love to find Silver spotted Skipper, maybe next year ;-)

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  11. Summer! when was that Jan.{:))

    Thank you for this lovely post (even the rant.) {:))
    We were quite fortunate to see a good number of Chalkhill Blues in one location in this area this year which was quite unexpected considering the poor summer for butterflies generally.

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  12. Oh the glorious days of summer, and all the great stuff those sunny days bring to us, eh?
    I love the shots of the little butterflies with their larger than life eyes and bright colors. IT is a shame that a highway is placed in a spot that should be quiet and peaceful.

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  13. This was a lovely post. I enjoyed strolling around the preserve with you and your camera. The butterflies are tops!

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  14. Derek Faulkner

    Thank you for your very kind comments Derek.

    Bob Bushell

    Thank you very much Bob. This year was the worst Summer for weather I can ever remember :-( I wish there was somewhere a bit closer to home to see the Chalkhill Blues but at least I am nearer than some.

    gwirrel

    Thank you Liz, I love them too and am missing them already! I don't feel ready for Winter or snow at all, mind you it seems to be nothing but rain at the moment!

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  15. Lovely to see you and your summer butterflies :) What a pleasant surprise to find you had already taken a photo of the flower you spent time and effort looking for! Very unfortunate that the large motorway runs through such a beautiful area, especially noticeable when you knew how peaceful it was before. I'm sorry your summer was not cooperative this year; I think I remember there was an early spring there, which set everyone up...and then poof, gone. I love the last photo as well as the butterflies and grasshopper ~ it does look like a magical spot.

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  16. Superb images Jan They convey what Summer should be all about,The butterflies are lovely, and I concur with your comments about motorways.
    Good to see another post from you.

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  17. Beautiful photos of the Chalkhill Blue. Love the first wood sculpture, reminiscent of a dinosaur.
    Thanks for brightening up a dreary, dull, soggy November.

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  18. Hello dear, I ever join very much visiting your blog. Your photos are georgeous? The blue butterfly with the fly opened are wonderfull!!Really all are wonderful. You are a great photographer. Warm regards

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  19. It is a cold day here so I really enjoyed being transported back to a summer day. I love your beautiful butterflies and the lovely poem. The sculptures are great and the preserve looks like a beautiful place to visit. Lovely photos, have a happy day!

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  20. Ragged Robin

    Thank you for your lovely and generous comments Caroline :-) In my naiveté I didn't realise the motorway did cut through the middle until we got there! I would never, ever have believed they could do such a thing. To invade such a beautiful place like that really does seem criminal and completely inexplicable to me, I feel sad every time I think of it :-( I should add I wouldn't want to put anyone off visiting because it is still a beautiful place and it is possible to enjoy some wonderful walks without too much sight of the motorway.
    I do hope we have a much better Summer next year and as you say that we are both able to get out more.
    You are spot on with your 'fairy glen' description :-)

    Alan Pavey

    Thank you Alan, I think we all need cheering up this weather especially after the nonexistent Summer we have had. I hope you do get to see a Silver-spotted Skipper one day.

    Roy Norris

    Thank you Roy, It was those few days that we could pretty well count on the fingers of one hand! :-(
    It must have been lovely to see Chalkhill Blues in your own area, I have to travel for over an hour to try to find them.

    Sondra

    Thank you Sondra, Glorious days indeed...except we hardly had any...but it did make those we did have even more glorious :-) I think putting the motorway through the middle is an abomination!

    Barbara

    Thank you Barbara, The butterflies were delightful :-)

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  21. Songbird, That was a welcome blast of sunshine and brightness :-)

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  22. Glo

    Thank you Glo. It certainly was a lovely surprise to find I had a photo of the gentian all along, quite funny too if you knew how much extra walking we did to look for it ;-) We did have a few beautiful days early in Spring which I think gave us all fase hope for a good year but it rapidly went downhill from then on.

    Monts

    Thank you Monty, I miss the butterflies already. Surely next year will be better, I do hope it is, I think we all need it.

    Midmarsh John

    Thank you John, Yes, I think you are right about the 'dinosaur' :-) I do hope you're not too bothered by these awful floods, I think we have more rain to come later!

    Eva de duënas

    Thank you for your lovely comments Eva, you are very kind. If I was half as good at photography as you are at painting I would be very happy :-)

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  23. Jak za oknami jest szaro i smutno, to przyjemnie sobie przypomnieć lato, tak jak to zrobiłaś. Spacer po rezerwacie był pewno miły, ale i męczący. Dobrze, że chociaż częściowo spełnił Twoje oczekiwania. Bardzo lubię niebieskie motylki i pozostałe maluchy. Rzeźby w lesie też były ciekawe. Pozdrawiam cieplutko.
    As for the windows is gray and sad, it's nice to remember the summer, as it did. Walk through the reserve was certainly nice, but tiring. Well, at least partially fulfilled your expectations. I like blue butterflies and other youngsters. Sculpture in the forest were also interesting. Regards warm.

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  24. What a stunning area Jan, it seems that you had a really productive visit. I saw Chalkhill Blues for the first time this year, they really are smart looking butterflies. Not seen Silver-spotted Skipper Butterfly though...nice one!

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  25. How nice to see the photos of butterflies, especially on a cold day like today. I'd forgotten about summer already.
    Shame about the motorway cutting through the reserve. Reminds me of that song that goes: " See paradise, put up a parking lot"

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  26. ShySongbird ,
    Know exactly what you mean re. sites near motorways , I have a couple overlooking the M25 .
    Well done with your butterflies and nice shots too . I believe the site also has Black Hairstreak , one of our rarest species .
    Glad you got your Chiltern Gentian , a species I haven't seen , and very surprised no Red Kites .
    Wouldn't argue with your Common Green Grasshopper , the keel on the head is diagnostic .
    Really nice to see the sunshine .

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  27. What a beautiful series with fantastic butterflies. I really love these butterflies and you have a truly wonderful series put down. Beautiful colors, amazing detail and vibrant colors. Also your grasshopper is a beautiful album. You vistas give a good picture of the landscape and then a wooden artwork. Very nice blog, compliment!

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  28. eileeninmd

    Thank you Eileen, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Much of the UK is flooded at the moment so it is nice to be reminded of those few days we called Summer this year. Have a lovely week :-)

    Warren Baker

    Thanks Warren, I think we could all do with a blast of brightness at the moment :-)

    Giga

    Thank you Giga, It has been nice to look back to better weather as a lot of us in this country have flooding at the moment. Yes, walking up those hills was definitely tiring. ;-) Sending warm hugs.
    Dziękujemy Giga, Było miło spojrzeć na lepszą pogodę, jak wielu z nas w tym kraju powodzi w tej chwili. Tak, chodzenie tych wzgórz było zdecydowanie męczące. ;-) Wysyłam ciepłe uściski

    Jason K

    Thank you Jason :-) It was a very enjoyable visit apart from that dratted motorway of course. I hope you get to see a Siver-spotted Skipper one day, they are really pretty.



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  29. Ugh!!! The traffic drives me crazy!:) There are places like that unfortuneatly and I wish that there were a barrier between the road and preserves...hopefully the critter death is minimum. Your butterflies are beautiful as are the landscape shots.

    On a personal note, I just want to say thank you for stopping by and leaving comments. I never respond unless there are questions. I just want to say thank you for reading and even though I don't respond to the comments, I do appreciate your kinds words and thoughts. So thank you. And I'm writing this because it's not often you post....so when you do, I want you to know that I do read your words and take them to heart. Hope you had a good start to your week. Chris

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  30. What a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting post. Despite the intrusive motorway, that reserve looks like a fantastic site with loads of botanical and insect interest. The Chalkhill Blue is a butterfly species I would love to see one day :)

    Great to see you blogging again by the way and I look forward to your next post :)

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  31. Crystal

    Thank you Crystal, Our so called Summer was so very short that it is only too easily forgotten. You're spot on with that old song!

    Greenie

    Thank you Greenie, Nature reserves and motorways just don't go together! I don't think the Black Hairstreak is seen there although there are sites within reach of me where it is, including Bernwood Forest, where I saw the Purple Emperor this year. Thank you very much too for confirming the Common Green Grasshopper :-)

    Helma

    Thank you for your lovely and generous comments, you are very kind :-)

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  32. It seems a life time ago that I felt the warmth of the sun on my face Jan, but these shots bring the memory back! Thank you for that!
    J
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

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  33. ah lovely! makes me long for Summer and some sun!

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  34. Rohrerbot

    Thank you Chris, I'm not sure about the situation with animal casualties on the road, I think there was some quite good fencing but I tried to avoid looking down at it as much as I could ;-)
    Thank you for the very kind words at the end of your comment Chris, they are much appreciated. Although I don't manage to visit you every day I do enjoy your blog. Your enthusiasm always shines through as does your charming personality :-)

    Wold Ranger

    Thank you David, It certainly is a beautiful area. Personally, given the choice in future, I would prefer Watlington Hill because there is no problem with the motorway but both places are lovely and full of interest.

    Gary Jones

    Thank you very much Gary :-)

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  35. Thank you for introducing me to these lovely butterflies--the blue reminds me of a similar one we have, but the others are different from anything I've ever seen. I'm sorry you had to go on a "wild gentian" chase only to discover you already had a photo! Well, at least you can say you got some exercise:)

    What a shame this beautiful area had to be carved up for a highway!

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  36. What a delightful and cheery post Jan! Splendid images of the Butterflies, Grasshoppper and that naughty Chiltern Gentian;-)

    It sounds as though you had a thoroughly good day at Aston Rowant NR. I will read up about it on Google.
    The wooden sculptures are a clever idea and a delight to see.

    Thanks for cheering a dull and rainy day Jan! Cold weather forecast for the next few days, I suppose we will moan about that next.lol! Never satisfied are we.:-)

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  37. Hi Jan, thanks for posting these beautiful, warm and sunny pictures, spot on for diverting our attention away from the dank, grey and dismal weather (it's still windy and raining here!!) we're having just now.

    It's a shame that you had to travel so far to see the Chalkhill Blues, but worth it in the end, they're so beautiful. And well done with finding the Silver-spotted Skipper, that's one I've not seen! (how about I swap you Chalkhill Blues and Dark Green Fritillaries for Silver-spotted Skippers next summer?...if we get one!!)

    I'm glad you enjoyed your walk in search of the Gentian, you must have been really pleased when you finally found it!!

    And I won't mention you know what as I can already feel a rant coming on!!

    Stay safe...[;o)

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  38. John

    Thank you John, I think we all suffered from a lack of that feeling this year. It hasn't set us up for the Winter at all.

    Pete

    Thank you Pete, You and me both! Surely next Summer has to be better...doesn't it?

    Rose

    Thank you Rose, I'm glad you enjoyed seeing some unfamiliar butterflies. The 'wild gentian' chase was funny really, those hills were certainly challenging! ;-) Putting the motorway through the middle was an obscenity. There was a beautiful, large and solitary old house right by it, the owners must have been devastated and it must be completely unsaleable now!

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  39. Hi there - a great set of pictures of butterflies I dont see anymore! Nice to see them again.

    Stewart M - Australia (late of Somerset!)

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  40. Pam

    Thank you Pam, It was a lovely visit especially as it was sunny and warm for once. The sculptures were fun and quite unexpected. Yes, I'm sure we will always find something to complain about with the weather, we're good at that in this country aren't we? ;-) At least if it turns colder we are more likely to get some sun which will be very welcome though.

    The Herald

    Thank you Trevor, I'm glad I was able to brighten up a rather bleak November a little :-) I think most of the less common butterflies are in areas around an hour or so from me. There should have been some DGFs at a site only fifteen or twenty minutes away but despite several visits I failed to find any so yes, I think I should take you up on that deal ;-) It was really funny to find I'd taken the gentian photo right at the beginning of the visit without realising it :-)
    Thank you for sparing me (and you) another rant ;-)

    Stewart M

    Thank you for your kind comment Stewart and also for following. I'm sure you're not regretting missing our miserable November weather ;-)

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  41. Hello Jan:)
    How lucky you are to live so near to this very beautiful Nature Reserve.
    Shame however about the "Dibley Cut",an unfortunate decision to say the least!

    Lovely photos Jan! I particularly liked all your photos of the charming little Chalkhill Blue, which thanks to you, I will now be able to identify. The photos of the Silver-Spotted Skipper are truly amazing. What a pretty little creature! I notice that on one photo it is yellow and on another brownish!!

    I also went to your other links, Watling Hill where you have some stunning shots of Red Kites, and butterflies.Always a pleasure to
    see such interesting and informative posts:)
    Warmest Regards
    Sonjia.

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  42. Hello again Jan, what a delightful post. It is always such a treat to see the wildlife on your trips. Your photo captures are great. So many things here that I’ve never seen before.

    You seem so knowledgeable with your ID’s and focussed on what you want to see on your trips. Sorry, but I gave a slight chuckle when I read about your gentian photo – it’s the sort of thing I would do too :-)

    I dearly hope you have escaped the devastating flooding that we have been seeing on news reports. Stay safe and warm :-)

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  43. From your lovely pictures, it certainly look like a great place to discover!
    Have a great day!

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  44. Dziękuję, że mnie odwiedziłaś i pozdrawiam.
    Thank you and greet you visited me.

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  45. Summer seems like a distant memory now Jan. But so nice to have it refreshed!
    Thanks for a lovely reminder.

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  46. Breathtaking
    Thank you Sonjia, It is a beautiful place apart from the motorway but because of that I prefer the nearby Watlington Hill reserve which has no such problems.
    Regarding the Silver-spotted Skipper photos, I think the difference in colour is partly due to the sun but also I think the paler looking one is male and the other female.

    shirl

    Hello Shirl and thank you for your kind comments. It was funny about the gentian but my goodness it was a trek up and down those steep hills ;-)
    Thank you for asking,there has been some local flooding here but thankfully we live right on the top of a steep hill so were unaffected...steep hills seem to have figured quite largely in this reply ;-)Have a lovely weekend Shirl, don't they come around quickly!!

    Noushka

    Thank you Noushka, it certainly was :-)

    Giga

    Thank you Giga :-)

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  47. Phil

    Thank you Phil, All the more distant because it was so brief I think!

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  48. Such a lovely post, chock full of beauty and freshness. Grasshoppers and butterflies are long gone here, so it's especially nice to see them on your post.
    Too bad about the highway. I love green spaces.
    Hugs

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  49. Wendy

    Thank you very much Wendy :-) I'm afraid those sunny, Summer scenes are a very brief and distant memory now. We have frost and ice today and before that a lot of flooding, thankfully though we live on a hill so weren't affected.

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  50. BOnsoir et bien tu as encore des papillons la chance je trouve
    c'est bien l'azuré en bleu!!!!!!!!!! j'adore aussi regarder ce superbe papillon puis il est tellement beau je trouve
    je n'arrive pas à faire marcher la traduction donc je dois en louper des choses
    Mais je vais revenir et essayer de te lire
    c'est important pour moi
    Je t'embrasse

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  51. France

    Merci pour votre commentaire France. Donc désolé la traduction ne fonctionne pas pour vous. il semble fonctionner quand je l'ai essayé. J'ai remarqué sur certains sites, il prend beaucoup de temps. Envoi d'une chaleureuse accolade à vous :-)

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  52. The A38 cuts through Saltram House Nat Trust estate near Plymouth despite fierce objection is nothing safe from developers? Love your photos of The Chilterns never been there. Chalkhill blue butterfly is so beautiful and all the others are lovely.

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  53. the cuby poet

    Thank you :-) It is a lovely area to visit particularly when the motorway is out of sight. No, unfortunately I don't think anything is safe from developers :-(

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  54. These are an absolute joy to see, fantastic photos!

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  55. As a fan of your blog I'm nominating you for a Liebster Award!
    To accept you have to list 11 random facts about yourself and nominate 11 other bloggers you like.
    It is no problem if you don't wish to accept, just know that I think your blog is really nice :)

    ReplyDelete
  56. Sure, I understand perfectly, I hesitated also quite a bit!!
    I guess it's the last time for too!!
    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  58. DeniseinVA

    Thank you very much Denise and apologies for the late reply.

    Noushka

    Thank you so much for thinking of me Noushka and I'm very glad you understood. I felt really uncomfortable the first time I refused one but have found everyone to be very kind and understanding. Thank you again :-)

    faysal ahmed

    Thank you very much for your kind comment.

    ReplyDelete
  59. An enchanting post filled with lovely photographs and interesting information! It's especially nice to view butterflies right now, as we are expecting a large snowstorm here in the midwest (of the US). Your photographs are so very beautiful, as always. Oh how I would love to catch sight of the stunning butterflies you saw at Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve. Breathtaking!

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  60. Hello Jan:)

    In case you don't post again before Christmas, I just came over to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
    All the best.
    Sonjia.

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  61. Życzę radosnych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia i szczęśliwego Nowego Roku. Pozdrawiam cieplutko.
    I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Regards warm.

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  62. Julie G.

    Thank you Julie and apologies for the rather late reply! I remember seeing, on the television, that you were expecting a large snow storm but then I don't think I heard any more so I hope if it did arrive that it didn't affect you too badly.
    Yes, the butterflies were beautiful and I am looking forward to seeing more next year, I miss them so much in the Winter. I wish you and yours a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful 2013 :-)


    Breathtaking

    Thank you so much for your kind wishes Sonjia and I wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year :-)

    Giga

    Thank you very much Giga and I wish you a very Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year...and to your lovely dog too :-)


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  63. Jan, many thanks for this and all your delightful posts this year, it has given such a lot of pleasure to me seeing your photographs and reading your words and the poetry that you share. I hope you and all your family have a lovely time this Christmas and a great 2013.
    Jerry

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  64. Thinking of you at this festive time, and wishing you and your loved ones a very Happy New Year! I hope your Christmas was magical...

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  65. Jerry

    Thank you for your very kind words Jerry. I just wish my posts had been more regular this year but for various reasons they have been few and far between, perhaps I will be able to post more often in 2013. Thank you for being such a good blogland friend, I have enjoyed all of my visits to your blog and look forward to continuing our blogland friendship in 2013. We have very much enjoyed our Christmas, I hope you have too and send you and your family my best wishes for the New Year.

    Glo

    Thank you Glo, We have enjoyed a very Happy Christmas, I hope you have too and that 2013 wil be wonderful for you and yours :-)

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  66. I hope you are all keeping well Jan.
    Very best wishes to you all for 2013

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  67. Happy New Year, Jan! And thank you for your wishes...it's a treat to come and see your photos...I hadn't intended to take such a long break but something or the other demanded more attention...I hope I'll be able to get back to regular blogging soon. Once again, all the best for 2013!:)

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  68. Hello ShySongbird,


    I'm glad you see the pictures of the owl also liked.
    for you and all your loved ones a very fine and happy 2013.

    Manny Greetings, Helma

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  69. Midmarsh John

    Thank you very much John and the same to you and Penny :-)

    Nature Rambles

    Thank you very much Kanak. I'm so glad there is nothing wrong. For several reaons I have become a very irregular blogger in the last twelve months but hope I will improve before too long, some nice sunny weather will help :-) All the very best for 2013 to you again too.

    Helma

    Thank you very much Helma. I hope you have a wonderful 2013 :-)

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  70. Hi Jan
    Many thanks for the greetings on my blog,
    I would also like to wish you and yours all the warmest wishes for a very Happy and Peaceful New Year, and look forward to many more of you posts

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  71. Hi Jan,

    I live just a few miles from here! I've been to Aston Rowant quite a few times, such a lovely place. The wild flowers on display there are quite a sight. Very strange how you only saw one Red Kite though. I always see them in very large numbers around there.

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  72. Monts

    Thank you very much Monty and of course the same to you. Apologies for my very sporadic postings last year, I hope to get back to more regular posting eventually :-)

    Joe

    Thank you Joe, so nice to have you visit again :-) Yes it is a lovely area. I do prefer the nearby Watlington Hill reserve because of the (to me) intrusive sound and sight of the motorway at Aston Rowant but the whole area is lovely. I was amazed about the Red Kites particularly as when we visited Watlington Hill they were literally everywhere, a magnificent sight! No doubt we will visit both places again this year :-)

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  73. Dziękuję za miłe odwiedziny i pozdrawiam cieplutko.
    Thank you for your kind visit and greet warm.

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  74. write down the blog and have noticed a wonderful love of nature

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  75. Giga

    Thank you and sending warm wishes to you too Giga :-)

    agata

    Welcome Agata! Thank you very much for visiting, commenting and also for following. I shall be over to visit your blog very soon :-)

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