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.