Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


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Leaf-cutter bee

Well, we tracked down where it was getting the leaf pieces from – only about 2m away, from a Himalayan Honeysuckle (Leycesteria) that had self-seeded itself in a gravel path.  We’d left it to grow because we weren’t sure what it was last year, but it had got too big and was blocking the path, so I dug it up yesterday!  Only to find out today that it was the leaf-cutter bee’s leaf source – aaagh!

I’d left it lying on the path (to show off the huge effort it had taken me to dig it up, hmm) and Mr Hedwigia found the tell-tale semicircular holes along the leaf edges.  So, I lay in wait and along came the bee. I have also now learnt how to make an animated gif by uploading a set of linked photos, but they don’t seem to work on here, sadly. The bee flying into the hole in the pot looks very funny.
Anyway, here she is in leaf-cutting action.

Leaf-cutter bee

Leaf-cutter bee in the middle of cutting a leaf

Leaf-cutter bee

Leaf-cutter bee loaded up and ready to fly

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Ra ra ra! 45 minute run! Plus… creatures in the garden

I haven’t run much in the last month – just two one-milers since I did the Race for Life 5k at the end of June.  The heat wave has put me off, but it seemed perhaps a bit cooler this evening, and I was in the right mood, so I went out to see if I could still keep going for half an hour.

First ten minutes were tough as ever.  Then it was an uphill bit (not steep, but not flat either).  Twenty minutes in and I was thinking about stopping.  Told myself I could keep going a bit more even though I’d got to a bit with no shade – it was getting on for 8pm, but still about 25 C, which is pretty warm as far as I’m concerned.  I overtook a dog walker (always an achievement for me – they are often faster than I am).  Then it was a downhill slope, so persuaded myself to keep going until I got back to my starting point, which was just under 3 miles.

It took me about 45 minutes, which is pretty slow, but I was happy with it as I was really out of practice and it was hot.  My fingers felt like sausages once I was walking – had to hold them up in the air or they throbbed (they’d been fine while I was running, as they were above heart-level I suppose).

Legs feel fine too.  🙂

No pictures from the run, but some from the garden today.  Lots of butterflies today – Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White and Brimstone.  The lavender hedge is full of bees too – Carder bees, Tree bees, Honey bees, Buff-tailed bumble bees (I think – might have been some cuckoo bees too), Early bumble bees and I also saw a few Red-tailed bumble bees, though maybe not on the lavender.

I also noticed a bee flying with a rolled-up bit of leaf between its legs.  I’ve seen evidence of leaf-cutter bees before, where they’ve cut a semi-circle from the edge of a rose leaf, but don’t remember seeing one actually flying with the leaf before.  I watched it go into a hole in the bottom of a plant pot several times.  Earlier on I’d seen a centipede go in the same hole, so it’s an exciting world inside that pot!

Peacock butterfly

Peacock butterfly – squint your eyes and you can see how this could frighten off an attacking bird

Rosemary Beetle

Rosemary Beetle – Chrysolina americana. On lavender, rather than rosemary though. They will also eat thyme and sage. Only found in the UK in recent years. A very pretty pest. I’ve only found the one so far, but will be looking out for them.

Brimstone

Brimstone butterfly (male) on lavender

Leaf-cutter bee

Leaf-cutter bee in flight with a piece of leaf – heading for a hole in a plant pot