Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


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Black jelly

Yesterday I went for a walk to find blackberries, and accidentally came across this beauty, as I was taking a photo of a butterfly next to it. It’s head looks rather like a little cartoon dog!

Dragonfly

Southern Hawker dragonfly head – can you see the dog-face?

Little windfall hedgerow apples, about an inch across were chopped up with two Bramley cookers from the garden – the first it has produced since we planted the cordons about seven years ago. They’re not really quite ripe yet, but the Bramley next to this was damaged, and both came off together.

apples

Bramley apple on left, hedgerow apple on right

jellybag in action

Jelly-bag in action. Look at that rich colour.
Really must get those chairs recovered…

Along with about a pound of blackberries, they boiled up beautifully, and then I drained the juice with this wonderful arrangement, then added about 1.5 pounds of sugar, boiled until the jam thermometer said ‘jam’ and poured into jars. Wonderful-tasting B&A jelly. Yum.

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Misread the calendar

Hmm.  Went off to a grass identification workshop this morning (I like my plants).  However, when I arrived, I found out that I’d misread the calendar (another senior moment), and it isn’t until next week.  So, as I’d driven all the way to the nature reserve, I thought I might as well learn about dragonflies instead…

Very interesting they were too, with beautiful photographs, but as it was overcast by lunchtime, I didn’t stay for the dragonfly hunting, but went for a walk round on my own.  I didn’t see any butterflies or dragonflies, but I did see some good birds, and I walked 2.6 miles, so good exercise.  I wore my running trainers, so my feet felt ok.  I even jogged a little bit.

I heard a cuckoo, which was great; that’s the third time I’ve heard them this year.  As I went into the first bird-hide, I was told that a kingfisher had been around earlier, but they’d been waiting about twenty minutes and it hadn’t come back – but I was lucky enough that it returned while I was there.  Just a fast flash of blue – stunning.  There was a reed bunting there too.

At another hide I saw a reed warbler, and then on a different lake, with a mudflat, there was a wonderful range of birds, including two I don’t think I’ve seen before – teal and little ringed plover.  All quite a long way away – and the plovers ran around really fast, like little mice!   Sixteen species altogether.  So, even though I didn’t get to the grasses, I had a good day out.

Lapwing

Lapwing and reflection

male Teal

A male Teal duck. Gorgeous patterning on the feathers on its side.

Little Ringed Plover

Little Ringed Plover staring at me.