This is more than I can say for the Silver-Studded Blue Butterfly– or at least as far as I am concerned. So far we have made two trips to their local habitat on Buxton Heath. According to Iris and Diana “is easy to spot…they don’t fly very high and they stick to the heathery areas at the north end”, and as I always believe what I hear, I went along with it. What else would you do if instructed by people named after classical goddesses? It may have been a coincidence that another “Iris” appeared – this one was rainbow after a heavy summer shower. The shower put pay to any idea that I would be able to find my quarry. I had no further luck on the other occasion. I will persevere and hope for fine weekend
Welcome return of rain
The return of rain in June has been welcome and much needed. The local flora which had become dormant and parched during May has sprung back to a wholesome green. The arrival of the wild Mallow flowers has coincided with a second flush of Dandelion and those small spires of the village garden favourite, toadflax. Not the most inspiring name but a plant which is appreciated by bees. This is particularly the case for the Common Carder Bee. This is a member of the bumble bee family, albeit a more subtle fur of orange, russet and dark brownish black. I understand that the “carder” in the name is related to it’s habit of removing hair form plants to line it’s nest.
This morning I walked through a lens of scent which was suspended in mid-air. The Woodbine or Wild Honeysuckle is at its peak. The vines bind an Ash and an Oak together in a cloud of sweet scent. This scent is transient and is seems to be at it’s strongest when the morning sum hits the dew-covered flowers in the morning. The light summer breeze pulls the scent down wind, but the cloud seems to retain a foothold on the source bloom.
It reminded me of that sign of summer in Cold Comfort Farm when.. “The Sukebind (was) hanging heavy from the wains…”. This is the peak of the year and all we need is more rain.
Elsewhere in the Village the Albertine Rose at the Old Post Office and others continue to contribute their own fragrance. At the other end of the spectrum I recalled the contribution from Street Farm when it housed the herd of pigs.
Cuckoos of both colours – there is a grey form and a brown form – are temporarily resident in the village. On Thursday evening a pair, one of each form, flew from Willow to Poplar along the Long Meadow.
The call of a Cuckoo, when heard in close proximity, is far less melodious than when it is heard at distance. It is more of a “Cuck-Coop” than the smoother distance version. When a pair are calling together the call takes on whole new phrase; “whup ..whup..cuck..whup ..whup..koo” is as near as I can get. This does not really do it justice.
An audible tension, a pause and an alarm call made me look up in the garden. The cause was a Hobby, a small falcon, which in the songbird world is seen as a real threat. It’s route was marked by a Swallow which flew in pursuit, albeit at respectful distance.
The Hobby’s wings which a sickle-shaped, seem excessively long for a bird of its size, allow it to row through the air at considerable speed. I saw it perhaps for only three seconds as it sped through the air of the quiet village. Apart from glimpses during the migration season, my only similar memory was from watching a pair of these birds pursuing dragonflies over a broad-leaved wood in the Parish.