Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


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I can still run – and the Big Butterfly Count

I have just been looking at my Garmin (running watch) stats. In May I ran for 30 minutes or more on six occasions, during the 5×50 challenge. In June, just three times. July was even worse, as I only did one longer run, though it was for 45 minutes.

And so far in August, I hadn’t run at all. So off I went this evening, once it had cooled down, and ran for 30 minutes. The first 5-10 were tough as ever, but I knew they would be, so that was ok. Then I kept using the ‘just to the next…’ trick to keep me going. I was going to stop at 20 minutes, but then decided that would be a bit lame, as I could run for 30 all the way back in February when I graduated from the NHS couch to 5k programme.

I even managed to speed up a bit at various points, and although I’m still slow, 13:51 min/mile, or just over 4 mph, considering I’m out of practice, I was quite pleased.

But I really mustn’t let it be two weeks before I go out again. 🙂

Other than running, today I’ve watched butterflies, for the Big Butterfly Count and was really pleased to see my new buddleia being well-used by a Peacock, some Large Whites, Small Whites, and Green-veined Whites. There were also several Gatekeepers on the marjoram and on the apple cordons, and one gorgeous Common Blue male on the lavender.

Peacock butterfly

Peacock butterfly feeding on buddleia

Common Blue male

Common Blue male on lavender

Sadly, I also had to bury a young hedgehog. 😦 We found it munching a slug on the day we got back from our holidays, and now, just two days later I found it dead and covered with flies. It’s about ten years since we’ve seen a hedgehog in the garden, so it’s very disappointing. Perhaps the fact that it was out in daylight when we saw it first was an indication that it wasn’t well. I’ll still send in a record that we saw it though, through irecord, as the county biological records office welcomes all hedgehog sightings, alive or dead – and other wildlife too.

On a more cheerful note, we watched a female Field Grasshopper laying eggs in the dry earth in the meadow part of our garden. She took ages, maybe twenty minutes or more, and then when she’d finished, she used her hind leg to scrape loose earth over the hole, very daintily!  She appears to be a unicorn grasshopper – one antenna is missing.

Field Grasshopper laying eggs

Female Field Grasshopper, Chorthippus brunneus, laying eggs

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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)


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Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly

Photo prompt – ‘Fresh’

Freshly-opened lavender flowers in the hot sun (29 C in the shade) were attracting butterflies today. I cut two bunches of lavender to hang up in the kitchen. They are slightly different shades of purple.

Green-veined White on lavender

Green-veined White on lavender

Meadow Brown

Meadow Brown

Lavender

Lavender bunches – the dark one is Munstead Dwarf (I think) and the paler one is a self-seeded one