The birds and the bees (and the butterflies)

Today’s guest picture is another of my sister Mary’s studies of the lakes and ponds of London’s parks.  This one is the small lake in Parliament Hill Fields

The small lake in Parliament Hill FieldsWe woke to the coldest morning of the autumn so far at a meagre 4 degrees C and to find the town well covered in mist.  It took some time for the mist to clear but by lunchtime, the sun had broken through and the afternoon was well up to recent sunny standards although it never got very warm.

I started the day with a visit to the health centre to get some blood taken for tests which I hope may give me an excuse for stopping taking statins.  While I was there, the nurse took the opportunity to give me my annual flu jab thus hitting two targets with one arrow.

When I got home, it was time for a late breakfast as I had not been able to eat for twelve hours before the blood test.  Then, in an effort to keep up with Mrs Tootlepedal, who was wielding the vacuum cleaner to great effect, I tidied everything off all the surfaces in the front room.  Looking around as I type this in the evening, many things have mysteriously materialised out of thin air and covered some of the surfaces again.  Tidying up is  not my forte.

I had time to make a pot of coffee and stare out of the window though.

blue titsI had put some brightly coloured pink bird food out in the covered feeder and it attracted the blue tits.

blue tits and pink foodI admire the way that blue tits cope with food that is too big to swallow in one go.

A coal tit approached the problem from a different angle.

coal titThere was an early visit from two goldfinches.  I was pleased to see them but I don’t think that they returned the compliment.

goldfinchesWe were intending to go to a garden centre straight after coffee to get some sand for the lawn but there was a slight hiatus while we searched for my debit card which had disappeared.  For a moment, we wondered whether it had been mislaid on the Edinburgh train on Tuesday and this involved a catch 22 conversation with that grand misnomer, ‘customer services’.  The Edinburgh lost property number was faulty and not working so I was advised by a kind lady in Fort William, who was working, to leave a message on the answer-phone at the Glasgow lost property office, the head office for lost property, and they would ring me back.  Luckily the astute Mrs Tootlepedal had found the offending card before they rang and we set off for the garden centre and lunch.

I got the reply from Glasgow later in the day on my answer-phone.  It said, ‘Please ring the Edinburgh Office.’

The visit to the garden centre went well in spite of the fact that they had no suitable sand.  We bought lunch, a moveable bird feeder, some bird food, some peat and logs for the stove in the front room and a small potentilla so we hadn’t wasted our time going there.

By the time we got home, the  sun was in full swing and the garden was full of bees and butterflies.

bees and butterflySomeone suggested that counting the bees must be difficult but as you can see in the picture above, the bees are behaving rather like sheep and are steadily grazing on the sedum rather than buzzing about.  There were well over a hundred here again today.

Unlike yesterday though, there was a good turnout of butterflies too.  There were well over a dozen flitting about, though there were none of the peacocks that looked so pretty yesterday.

Today we had red admirals…

red admiral butterfly…small tortoiseshells…

small tortoiseshell butterfly…and painted ladies…

painted lady butterflyThe painted lady gave me a profile shot.

painted lady butterflyLovers of the 1980s will appreciate the deely boppers which butterflies sport.

There were butterflies and bees wherever we looked.

butterfliesIt seemed that every flower had an insect friend.

poppy and daisy with insectsastrantia with insectsI was dancing about with glee like a little boy allowed a free run in a sweetie shop.

I calmed down enough to take a shot of a poppy for the poppy parade.

poppyI will miss the poppies when the season ends.

We were expecting Mike and Alison to come round for their usual Friday evening visit for music and conversation but Mike rang to say the Alison was unwell and had retired to bed.  This was sad but at least it let me practice a little choir music and write a business letter that had been waiting to be written for nearly a month so some good came out of it.

The flying bird of the day is a bee.

flying bee

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

39 thoughts on “The birds and the bees (and the butterflies)

  1. Took me three seconds to count the insects on my sedum today: two bees, one fly, and a small spider. I believe the last is not even technically an insect…

  2. The birds and bees here have eaten the last of the grapes. Every last one. Bees can get in through the bird netting. With the extended drought this year, there is little to no forage for them, and they are in survival mode. So good to see you have so many healthy looking bees in your gardens. the flying bee of the day looks like a flying teddy bear!

  3. I loved the butterflies, well done for getting that business letter finally written. That sort of thing lurks at the back of ones mind until done.

  4. Fantastic display of the three b’s.
    Clever blue tit, looking after his large beakful.

  5. Your macro shots of insects are so sharp, Tom. Very impressive. I wish my garden had as many butterflies, but perhaps If I put as much effort into it as you and Mrs T, I would actually have them too. The last flying bee shot is wonderful and the blue tits are nice and clear and bright as well. The blue tits really are such pretty birds. I’m glad the feeders are working well to attract them. 🙂

    1. As it happened, we were watching a gardening programme on the TV tonight and the presenter was waxing lyrical about having a sedum in your garden to attract insects.

  6. The blue tit/coal tit series is very amusing! I think that the problem with papers on all surfaces is a legacy of being a schoolmaster: the piles of marking just follow you from place to place, and like that business letter you finally wrote, never disappear until they are properly dealt with. Isn’t retirement wonderful?!

  7. I had forgotten all about deely boppers. I was a little too old in the eighties but I think I might be the right age now.
    The flying bee is a corker as are all the other insect shots. We were a little warmer than you yesterday morning. When I drove into Norwich with my daughter it was 6 degrees.

  8. I have never seen that many bumblebees in one place at the same time! Amazing shots, Tom. I was complaining that our weather had turned cold because it was in the 60s F, but I think I will keep quiet about it after reading your comment about the 30s! Brrrrr….

  9. I like the image of you dancing about in glee over the sedums and insects, and that reminds me to tell you how much I have been been enjoying all your recent sedum and insect photos.

  10. A fruitful visit to the garden centre, except for the very thing you went for. Sounds like my shopping expeditions. Your garden is alive with insects right now. The flying bee of the day is lovely too.

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