Last week I went for lunch with my Dad to a farm café up the road from me. They are pretty self sufficient and grow all their own veg, use locally sourced cheese and have many a hen, so use and sell their eggs. We chose a nice day and sat outside. A view that stretched for miles and a couple of alpacas munching on the grass next to our little picnic table. I think they have such character!
|I really thought the shadows and highlighted areas on this old leafless tree looked amazing. I don't usually do monochrome photos but thought this subject was enhanced by the monochrome format.|
We were out water vole surveying again last Thursday and came across hundreds of these caterpillars. After a little bit of research I have come to the conclusion that they will one day turn into a reed dagger moth. Considering they were all over the reeds... makes sense!
|Reed dagger moth caterpillar|
We didn't have much luck on the water vole front but these sheep were very abundant and awfully inquisitive. We had already come a bit close to a herd of big pregnant cows with some smaller bullocks on a very narrow path which wasn't particularly easy to get through.
Lots of these vibrantly coloured migrant hawkers are still around. This male is hoping he might be able to break up this partnership and get some dragon action.
|Big fat female 4 spot orb weaver spider. Lots of these around.|
After lunch we still hadn't come across many ratty signs. Chloe noticed this grass snake curled up on top of some dried out reeds. Sun baking to warm its cool blood. Migrant hawkers were hovering about 2 metres away from it. I was begging it to get closer as that would have made for an interesting photo. I got each in a separate shot which will have to do for now. The snake heard us nattering, raised its head and slithered off into a crack in a concrete block. A snake sized crack.
|Migrant Hawker. Shame it's flying away from me|
I took Bracken down to Oare and met my lovely friend Bess and her dog Bo. We walked along the seawall to Conyer and had lunch at the pub there. Great weather and wonderful catch up. Brack and Bo enjoyed chasing each other around, jumping in the mud and rolling down the slopes. Safe to say they were both knackered for the rest of the day. Bird sightings included a couple of cormorants, a few shelduck, 5 or so oystercatchers and a curlew just to name a few.
|Brack giving Bo a kiss|
|Anyone know what this is? I can't find it in my books! Edit: I asked Kevin (warden I volunteer with) and he suggested Salsify from my description and upon researching I agree. It is a Mediterranean plant.|
|Looking very happy with themselves!|
The weekend arrived and mum and I drove to Victory wood which I have written about before. Lots of sheep around so we had to walk a route avoiding them. We noticed this amazing caterpillar!! Mum kept Brack away because I think he would have tried to eat it. It was about 6 or 7cm long! After flicking through the books we thought it was probably either oak eggar or fox moth. A little bit more internet research confirmed it was a fox moth caterpillar! Along the rest of our walk we saw many more of these and also a few other buggy, insecty things.
|Fox moth caterpillar|
These young swallows kept landing in this tree/bush. Unfortunately we weren't closer and there was a bonfire in the background.
|Loved the colours amongst the newly planted trees and vegetation|
The next two photos are quite similar. I prefer the composition of the first but the colours are brighter in the second. Annoying! I haven't edited either and just thought I would put both on here for comparison of results with different settings. That will teach me. Check settings before shoot!
|f8, ISO 1000, 1/1000s|
|f10, ISO 360, 1/250s|
On Monday we (the Swale area volunteers) returned to the land in Stalisfield where we cleared a large area of dock and thistle around the new(ish) ponds. Our task for the morning was to burn it. This appealed to the other volunteers (older men) more than me. Must be their hunter gatherer primitive instinct to build fire! I helped chop the branches and build it. There is actually a technique for creating a good stable bonfire. While we watched the matter burn, a buzzard soared above some nearby woodland, linnets chattered in the hedgerow and common darters laid their eggs in the ponds. Can't beat being out in the countryside!
Currently, on top of work at the pub and volunteering, I have a number of creative little projects on the go. I am also reading 3 different books and am in the process of turning the (too big for me) linen trousers below into some kind of skirt. My wonderful mum has been helping me design a pattern. If it weren't for her I would have just cut them up and sewed them up in any old fashion. Would have looked awful. Still might, but I just wanted to have a go at up-cycling some clothing :)
I also have 5 or 6 knitting projects in the pipeline. Some leg warmers, a practice rectangle of fair isle, a scarf which I will post a photo of once it is finished and other little odds and sods.
|Knitting bible and some of the little projects|
I hope everyone is having a good week so far! I watched The Great British Year last night. I thought there was some lovely filming and the sequences of hares was just magical. Not sure I like all the fast, sped up time lapse stuff though. What did all you lovely people think of it??? Oh and if any of you saw the wildlife revival programme on Sunday, the PhD student from Sussex who was talking about water voles and the trapping etc is the lady I go trapping with!
Also... as a bit of an after thought just came back to add this photo. Another caterpillar. Rubbish photo taken on my phone on a very wet water vole volunteering day...
|Willowherb hawkmoth caterpillar! (I think) (13th Sept) Edit: Dark form of the elephant hawkmoth caterpillar. Unfortunately not the extremely rare migrant!! Thanks to Steve Ogden who corrected this for me.|