THE RAMBLINGS OF A STRUGGLING ARTIST ON LIFE WITH TWO TERRIERS, A PONY WITH ISSUES AND OTHER WILDLIFE AND BIRDS THAT CROSS OUR PATH

19 June 2013

A NEW BUTTERFLY AND TOAD PATROL



Whilst out for a family walk/bike ride over in the, slightly less horrible in summer, Fernworthy Forest, I spotted three butterflies I had never seen before: Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary. I'm pretty sure they're the small version because of the slightly different markings and vivid orange. Apparently the marginally larger version are paler in colour. This is me photographing them....very obliging, unlike the perpetually moving dragon flies this week. Not a chance with my camera I'm afraid. 


The underside markings are what give them their name:


According to the UK Butterflies web site:

The strongholds of this species are found throughout much of Scotland and Wales and in the NW and SW counties of England with scattered colonies elsewhere.

Perhaps you see them all the time, in which case you will have scrolled down by now! I was very excited....


After last year's total vegetable garden disaster, we are now vigilantly patrolling our small patch every night for those devilish slugs and snails and picking them off with glee. Last night, by the light of the head torch, we found this lovely common toad patrolling for us:


What a star. I will sleep easier in the knowledge that he/she is out there.

Last week, I put in my fortnightly order for bulking-up-Trigger horse food over the phone to our local supplier, Animal Crackers, and also mentioned I would like the usual bag of bird seed. Oh dear.....I failed to mention the size of the bag, thinking they would know it was 3kg. What I found in the shed later that day was a nearly £30.00, 25Kg bag perched on top of the horse food. I was NOT happy for both space and financial reasons and had to quickly order a seed feeder to start getting rid of the excess. Here it is:


I've fixed it to the side of the post on which I put the bird porridge at feeding time, thinking they would be pecking away with alacrity in minutes. Two days later and it's still full. I've seen one Great Tit halfheartedly poking about and that's it. Perhaps they need to get used to it? I REALLY hope so. 

What a glorious day today. I'm writing this in the sunshine in the garden with a cup of tea, having finished my list of jobs. However, it's so hot, I fear the laptop may explode so I may have to retreat to the cool of the house. Here are a few more pictures from this week so far.

Yellow Hawkbit emerging on the verges:


Moorland grasses flowering:



Lily of the Valley:


The outside of the Great Masterwort (Astrantia Major) again; so beautiful:


These two hardy Geraniums were one of the very few plants here when we moved to the house, both giants which need taking in hand every year:




Beauty in small things: a fly on the window ledge. No idea what it is but I'm sure Margarethe Brummermann of http://arizonabeetlesbugsbirdsandmore.blogspot.co.uk/ will be able to enlighten me:

She did..........a Snipe Fly, probably Rhagionidae Rhagio.

Snippet in the back of the Land Rover due to space issues, not bird seed related this time:


A rare nice bit at Fernworthy Forest:


Magpie wondering when I'm going to leave so it can get to the food:


What looks like a pearl on the Chaffinch's beak


View through the sedge today:


Trigger's hoof is much the same. I had to speak to the vet again yesterday and this morning as he was hopping about looking very lame again, despite endless duct tape and poultice work. He (the vet) is disappointed at the lack of puss emerging. Nice. I've had to scour the field for discarded 'dressings', all of which have been puss-free. He seems better today but I think this is going to be a long haul. The hole is at least three months worth of hoof growth deep so I ordered a new roll of tape today in anticipation of much packing. He was better this afternoon munching:


The Dartmoor Madams having their scoopful:


This one didn't like the bits of Trigger's special food that he dropped over the gate:


I have solved the picture transfer problem with a little USB DX card reader thingy which cost £3.49 including postage. Brilliant. Until next time, here's Snippet at the field today. 


44 comments:

  1. Hi Em, I am just in the process of writing a post as we went to The Lizard and saw what looks like the same butterfly! Love the toad, and all the beautiful images in this post. If I was forced to pick my favourite it would be the outside of the Astrantia-such beautiful patterns and the softest colour. P.S. Trigger is a beautiful looking beast-you do have good looking animals..!

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    1. I like the Astrantia best too. My red one is about to flower too but the colours aren't as subtle close up I don't think. Look forward to your Lizard post!

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  2. You actually had YOUR photo taken ! Amazing when that happens. x

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  3. Wonderful photos and I always enjoy seeing your close-ups...if I tried that the butterfly would have made off before I even focused. Sorry that Triggers hoof is still giving problems, such a nightmare to deal with.

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    1. They really were incredibly obliging Ann. It's usually the same for me - they fly off just as I'm focusing!

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  4. Gorgeous photos, especially of the butterfly. Catching sight of that would certainly have made my day. I love the little toad, as you say - perfect for eradicating your slugs. How annoying about the bird seed; I've had animal feed misunderstandings with my local supplier before now. I can still remember the bin of gosling mash, specially ordered in, that was barely touched, in the end.

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    1. Still no action on the feeder....I think I'm going to have to start broadcasting it about but then next door's cats might pounce. What a dilemma. I winder if they're fit for human consumption????

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  5. What a pretty pattern on that butterfly. And those striped antennae are so interesting.
    Sorry to hear that Trigger has an abscess. I hope he heals quickly.

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    1. Those stripes are gorgeous aren't they?

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  6. and just why would all the birds eat seeds when they have you making all the wonderful cooked porridge ! well duh !

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Very true but I thought perhaps when the porridge had gone?

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  7. You take such wonderful photographs, I love visiting. Are the markings on the underside of the fritillary metallic silver? If so it is the same as we have here and that is a long way away!. That ferny waterfall in the woods is idyllic! I could sit there all day -- if it didn't rain. Love to Snippet!

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    1. No Chris - they're just a creamy white but I like the sound of yours!

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  8. P. S. You need a duck for those slugs and snails!

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    1. We do! However, we'd need a twenty foot fence to keep the foxes away so the toad will have to suffice for now.

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  9. Lovely butterfly pics. After last summer we have so few butterflies about this year - all whites bar a couple of Orange Tips, a couple of Speckled Woods and, rare here, a Brimstone! I was delighted to see that one.

    Somewhere in the dark depths of Fernworthy, are a few archaeological remains - but I bet you would be hard put to find them! We did try looking once, but gave up in despair.

    Well, it sounds like your birds are going to be well fed for the summer. I am sure they just haven't realized that that THING is a new bird feeder. It took mine a while to get used to a new one in the garden.

    I'm sorry to hear that Trigger has an abscess. It sounds like a very deep-seated one, so I hope it doesn't emerge as a Quittor instead . . . Have you tried Top Line for getting some weight on him? Sometimes those Arab genes make for very slender bodies. My Fahly (being mostly Crabbet) was built like a brick you-know-what!!!

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    1. I hope it doesn't emerge as one either. Had never heard of them, but having looked them up, I wish I hadn't! In its favour, it's front rather than hind and he is light rather than heavy, so the chances are less apparently.

      The food I'm using is something you soak whose name escapes me but at least it's keeping him stable. Nearly worming time again too but I might try Top Line next - thank you. If they did it in a 500Kg super bag, no doubt that's what I would order by mistake.

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  10. Hi Lovely to see the butterfly photos as we don't have those here. Sorry to hear about Trigger's abcess. ope he is not in too much pain. Margaret

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    1. Hello Margaret, lovely to hear from you. He doesn't seem to be in too much pain now thank goodness. I stuffed the hole with cotton wool soaked in tea tree oil today and taped it on. At least he smells nice!

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  11. As usual Em, a glorious post full of interest and super photographs. I am sending a link to your site to my friend who is not a blogger but who is a keen naturalist. I am sure she will be interested in reading it.

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    1. Thanks Pat. We have thick fog here today so not a lot of photogenic stuff out there at the moment!

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  12. I was enjoying my virtual stroll through the English countryside with you until I got to that FLY. Icky, creepy, buzzing, annoying creature - I nearly lose my mind if I see one in the house!

    Beautiful shots, aside from that nasty fly :)

    ¤´¨)
    ¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•`¤... Jennifer
    Jenn's Random Scraps

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    1. A miracle of nature though don't you think?!

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    2. I suppose... so long as the miraculous-ness stays outside :)

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    3. Fair enough - I did chuck it out once it had had its photo taken!

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  13. Amazing butterfly, I've only seen 3 whites and an orange tip so far here this year, which isn't great news perhaps about the state of butterflies hereabouts. The moths are doing much better :-)
    Lovely pics. I'm glad to see snip can barely see out of his eyes too (although Ted's recent hair do has revealed his again after a gap of several months!). CT x

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    1. I'm trying to appropriate the house hair clippers to do Snip's hair but it hasn't gone down well as a suggestion with the two human users! I may have to buuy him his own as he doesn't appreciate the scissors.

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  14. Lovely early summer photos! And you sent me back to my few European insect books that I took with me...They are in German and call it Schnepfenfliege, so no English common name, but we can probably agree on scientific names. The closest I get is the family Rhagionidae and genus probably Rhagio. Larvae predatory, habitat forest, distribution all of Europe

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    1. I knew I could rely on you Margarethe and our 'Snipe Flies' is a perfect translation of the German!

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  15. Hi Em, First of all I agree with Margarethe about the fly, specifically it is Rhagio scolopaceus commonly known as the Common Downlooker Snipefly.

    How envious I am about your butterflies!! They are not seen in my immediate area although I had planned to go and look for them this year in a particular location an hour or so away but unfortunately circumstances haven't allowed and it's getting a bit late for them now. I too would have been really excited to come across them, lovely photos of them also! The Toad is gorgeous, I thought at first it was a garden ornament :-) We used to get one in our garden a lot but lately it only seems to be frogs. The photo of the grimacing pony is priceless :-)

    Hope you don't mind me going off topic but just wanted to say that I'm so glad I'm not the only one who didn't think much of the Colin Firth version of P and P and that absurd lake scene. For me David Rintoul is the ONLY Mr Darcy, absolutely perfect and just how I imagined from the book!

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    1. I could go on at extreme length about my misgivings regarding THAT adaptation. Elizabeth was absolutely wrong for me too. David Rintoul did the best aloof acting. We must meet up one day for a seminar on the subject! I wonder if you can get the one we like on DVD?

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  16. Wonderful photos as always Em. The Fritillary ones are just beautiful. What a treat to see such a lovely butterfly. The only place I've seen Fritillaries in West Midlands is the Wyre Forest. Great for butterflies but a heck of a trek!

    The Great Masterwort flower is so pretty. A really lovely post again and I loved the last horse photo :) Do hope Trigger's foot improves soon.

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    1. I'm so glad I wasn't overreacting about the Fritillary - I'll hvae to keep where I saw them secret!

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  17. Loving the pictures, especially Mr Toad, I don't understand why anyone would not love to have them in the garden, such great natural slug control :) Hope Trigger's hoof clears up soon, abscesses are so frustrating. If / when you get sick of duct tape silage patches can be great to cover hooves, four stuck in a cross shape will wrap around most smallish hooves fairly easily and tend to be nice and waterproof, I feel your pain on this!

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    1. Great tip - thank you! His hooves are TINY.

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  18. Birds do take a while to get used to a new feeder. I'm sure all that seed won't go to waste..
    Beautiful astrantia. I've just bought a lighter coloured one, my others are dark red. I hope it will turn out to be as lovely as yours!

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    1. My mum has just given me another red one but it's not as impressive as the Major. I'm just so pleased I can grow them.

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  19. Give the birds time. Every time I get a new feeder, even if it's identical to the one I'm replacing it takes the birds a while to get used to it.

    Love the "Dartmoor Madams"! They probably look forward to your visits. Love the Lily of the Valley. Haven't seen one in years and years.

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    1. They clamour round the gate and I have to fight my way through and past them to sprinkle their scoopful! Am very fond of the grey one now - she's not very wild any more.

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  20. Wow, your photos are incredible. Beautiful.
    Horse making that face is wonderful. I love it!!

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    1. She does it every time she eats a bit of that food and never learns!

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  21. I saw one of the larger pearl bordered fritillaries a couple of years ago in the forest of dean and remember it being a very beautiful butterlfly! You have taken some lovely photos :) I really like the flowers and grasses and the pony showing you its gums is brilliant! :)

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    1. That pony is doing it every day now but I'm not feeding it anything nicer!

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Thank you so much for leaving a comment. It's great to read them and I will always try to reply.