Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


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Getting up close to butterflies

Weekly photo challenge is ‘Masterpiece’ – the prompt shows part of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona, and I agree that it is an absolutely amazing building. So many mind-blowingly different ideas all in one place – one of the most impressive buildings I’ve ever visited, and Barcelona doesn’t just have one of his buildings, they’re everywhere. Definitely a place worth travelling to.

The masterpieces I’ve seen today though are much smaller. Wildlife of course. I spotted a blue-tailed damselfly this morning by the new pond, but it didn’t stay for a photo. The garden was full of butterflies and bees again too. The most popular flowers are lavender, valerian, marjoram, hollyhocks, hebes and sea lavender. Butterflies up close are just stunning.

Small White on lavender

Small White feeding on lavender – look at those eyes – and what an amazing tongue!

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell on Sea Lavender (Limonium)

Bugs!

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My back was OK again today, hurrah!  Yoga rules.  I went for a walk to look for butterflies and dragonflies as it was sunny. I didn’t see many, and they were all camera-shy, so I ended up taking pictures of various other bugs instead. I used to be really scared of crane flies, or Daddy-long-legses (? dubious plural) but they can be quite pretty, rather like dragonflies.  Apparently there are loads of different UK species (hundreds!)  There was quite a range of colours in the insect world today.

I walked 2.5 km (in about 2 hours – taking photos is very time-consuming when bug-chasing) and ran a tiny bit, but it was on a sideways slope, and pretty uncomfortable, so when a moth distracted me, I stopped and didn’t start up again.

6-spot Burnet Moth

6-spot Burnet Moth

Bee-like fly

Bee-like fly – looks like a bee, but it has a fly’s eyes

Crane fly

A crane fly

Crane fly

A different crane fly with pretty wings

Red and black froghopper

Red and Black Froghopper – startling!

Blue-bottle

Blue-bottle – I have always hated flies with a passion, but have to admit that this is quite striking

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Bit of a gap

Warm weather and tired legs have meant a lack of exercise over the last week, so I’ve not kept up with my Juneathon at all well.  The tired legs are probably a combination of not enough sleep and maybe, the effect of changing my diet to include oats.  For the first six months or so, I didn’t eat oats, as some coeliacs respond to the avenin in oats as well as the gluten in wheat.  Now that my blood tests have shown that I’ve got the gluten thoroughly out of my system, I can try gluten-free oats (grown and packaged away from wheat), then have another blood test.  I need to get that booked up, as I have a suspicion that maybe my insides aren’t so keen on the oats – which would be a great pity, as I really like them.

Anyway, I did go out today, and did a short run – only about 1.5 km, but better than nothing.  It was all hard work though, and I can’t honestly say I enjoyed it.

Still,  I did see the Yellow Flags flowering by the river.  Yesterday I saw three different damselflies there, but they were all too far away for good photos (Large Red, Blue-tailed and Azure).

Yellow Flag flower

Yellow flag – wild iris, growing by a small river near my house


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Distracted by butterflies and damselflies

Any excuse.  I went to bed much too late last night, fiddling about with garden bioblitz stuff, so it was  a struggle to wake up this morning, and I really didn’t feel much like any form of exercise.  However, another gloriously sunny day, so rather than go straight home, I went for run/walk round a nature reserve on the way home from work.

River Leam Cow Parsley along woodland path

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quite a few butterflies and damselflies about, which kept stopping me from running…  I am a list-maker and can’t resist recording every butterfly I can identify.  (Warwickshire butterfly records here.)  However, they don’t always want to cooperate, so I had several bits where I ran backwards and forwards trying to take a photo so I could figure out whether they were Large Whites or Small Whites – or Green-veined Whites, or possibly female Orange-tips (which don’t have any orange).

But didn’t catch any of them, so those are all are now Unrecorded Whites.  But I did see several Peacock butterflies, one Comma and one Orange-tip male.  Plus several Banded Demoiselle males, which are really spectacular. Pictures are less than spectacular as they’re mobile phone ones.

Peacock butterflyBanded Demoiselle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, I was active for about 45 minutes, almost 30 of which were slow running/stop/start/butterfly chasing.  Grand total of…  3.7km, including the walking which is not at all impressive, but it was hot, and I was tired.  Better than nothing anyway.