Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


5 Comments

Rainbow of fungi

A colourful day – saw a rainbow again, on the way to work. Bizarrely, it wasn’t actually raining when I saw it, though it had started to rain by the time I’d got the camera out.

Rainbow

Rainbow

Then I went out for a fungus walk at lunchtime (as you do) and saw some very brightly-coloured beauties.  I just cannot resist vivid fungi.  The ‘Blue Roundheads’ don’t quite live up to their name – ‘Yellowish-greenish Slimy Flatheads’ would be closer to the mark, but they were strikingly gloopy.  The Shaggy Ink-caps aren’t colourful, but they do have a great texture when fresh, and when they go over, they deliquesce into black slime that I think used to be used as ink.  I rather like the alternative name of Lawyer’s Wig too.

Edited: I hadn’t identified the red one correctly – it is probably another ‘Roundhead’ – the Redlead Roundhead, Leratiomyces ceres. So three of the new fungi I found this week were Roundheads, as I’d also found a yellow Garland Roundhead, but didn’t have a good photo. Last year I found some Cavaliers growing on the ‘green roof’ of our garage, which all goes rather well with being near the site of the first battle in the English Civil War.

Bugs!

5 Comments

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

This gallery contains 6 photos


1 Comment

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.


Leave a comment

Moths and butterflies

Well, not many moths and butterflies, but I did see two Green-veined White butterflies, quite a few Burnet moth chrysalises and a Yellow Shell moth.  I walked just over 3 miles, which included edges of wheat and rape fields, a stream, a path through a meadow with buttercups and clover – just beginning to flower, and the edge of a lake at a stately home that is now an art gallery (Compton Verney) and some woodland.  Later on, I went to see a friend in the village, and jogged most of the way home, including a short steepish hill.

 footpath bridge

Footpath bridge over stream

footpath direction

Footpath direction post

Burnet moth chrysalis

Burnet moth chrysalis on Meadow Foxtail grass

hawthorn blossom

Hawthorn blossom

Green-veined White

Green-veined White butterfly on Cow Parsley, Anthriscus sylvestris

pink Hogweed

Pink Hogweed flowers (just part of the flowerhead) – usually they are white

Yellow Shell moth

Yellow Shell moth

 


Leave a comment

Roundabout delight

We visited a nearby road cutting that is managed for wildlife.  Rather limited Juneathon activity, but good exercise for ankles on the steep banks.  When the new road was built 20 years or so ago, instead of adding topsoil and grass seed, the banks were deliberately left bare, for plants to recolonise naturally.  Now it is a particularly good place to find wild flowers, and the insects that visit them.

Bug's eye view of the footpath to the roundabout and cutting

Bug’s-eye view of footpath to the road cutting, with red clover flower

DSC04994 Sherardia arvensis Field Madder

Field Madder, Sherardia arvensis
Tiny pink flowers about 2 mm across

Leontodon hispidus Rough Hawkbit

Rough Hawkbit, Leontodon hispidus

vetch ants buttercups and daisies

Common Vetch, with black ants feeding from the nectaries on the leaves.

Dingy Skipper

Dingy Skipper butterfly
Quite a rare species. These are very small butterflies that move very fast, and are hard to see!

DSC05034

Burnet Moth caterpillar

Wild Carrot in bud

Wild Carrot, in bud.
Beautifully lacy

Common Spotted Orchid Dactyorhiza fuchsii

Common Spotted Orchid, Dactyorhiza fuchsii
They were just coming into flower.

Latticed Heath moth

Latticed Heath moth
A small but striking moth

 

 


Leave a comment

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.


1 Comment >

A three hour walk in bluebell woods, recording plants and one butterfly (a peacock – and a very tatty one too).  That took me about 3.5 km, just over 2 miles.  It was a gorgeous sunny day, with lots of birdsong, including a buzzard ‘mewing’ overhead.  Then I ran back along the road, about a mile, which was pretty slow – 14 minutes, but I was carrying binoculars, notebook and my fleece and it was pretty warm too.

I have yet to figure out how to layout pictures properly in here – seem to be getting one of them twice…  Maybe I’ll work it out soon.

Muddy path at Edge Hill woods

Squelchy and slippery!

Flowery meadow down to Radway

Bugle and Buttercups in an almost alpine view

A huge Jelly Ear fungus

The biggest Jelly Ear fungus I’ve ever seen. Must have liked all the rain.

Moschatel, Edge Hill woods

Moschatel, or Town-hall Clock
An uncommon woodland spring plant with green flowers.