Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. He found himself on the shores of the Humber estuary today and took this fine pictures of the famous bridge just to please me.
We were up and about quite smartly today as we were volunteering for the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve again. We didn’t have to cycle far though as the task was helping to clear rhododendrons at the recently felled wood on the edge of the town. The rhododendrons were mostly small but they were tough work to shift in the rough ground for the small band of volunteers.
We built up a couple of quite substantial piles after a couple of hours, but there is plenty of work still to do. It was heartening to find a lot of young broad leaved trees growing of their own accord now that the conifers have been removed, including quite a few oaks which must have been lying dormant in the soil for many years.
Mrs Tootlepedal had left before me, and when I got home, I found her having coffee with our neighbour Margaret and mulling over royal affairs. Margaret takes a keen interest in the royal family.
When Margaret left, we went out into the garden, We were very pleased and somewhat surprised to find the runner beans plants producing beans at a great rate after doing nothing up until now. Mrs Tootlepedal pulled up an enormous turnip. We will not be short of vegetables at our meals.
I had a look round the garden. The late delphinium is lovely . . .
. . . and there is still plenty of colour about thanks to the comparatively warm nights, as well as signs of the passing year.
I took a second look at that insect on the sedum in the bottom left panel above. It was worth a close up, I thought.
Research leads me to believe that it is a sericomyia silentis, a sort of hoverfly. It is described as common but I don’t think that I have knowingly seen one before.
There has been a transformation in the number of insects in the garden since the recent rain. They were falling over each other today (with an additional tiny moth as a bonus).
We were ready for an early lunch after the rhododendron activity. While we were eating our soup, the sun came out, so after lunch, I went out into the garden again with my macro lens, intent on finding some more interesting bees and hoverflies.
As a bee outing, it was a bit of a failure. When I looked at the dahlias. I saw nothing but butterflies.
And when I looked on the little buddleias in the vegetable garden, there were even more.
There were lots of red admirals . . .
. . . quite a few small tortoiseshells . . .
. . . and one or two peacocks.
I peered closely at them . . .
. . . and took the wider view.
Mrs Tootlepedal came out to join me, and while we were taking in the sheer number of butterflies about on the buddleias . . .
. . .she noticed that there were one or two painted ladies in there as well.
It was wonderful to see the garden alive with colour as the butterflies flitted from flower to flower.
I did try to fulfil my original attention of looking at bees and hoverflies but I was distracted by mustard seed and a butterfly crashed my bee pictures.
I think my favourite picture of the session was not the best technically but I liked it all the same.
By the time that I had taken 50 butterfly pictures, I thought that I perhaps ought to stop, so I went in, got my cycling gear on and went off for a pedal on my road bike.
There was a light north wind blowing, and my plan was to pedal as far up the main road to the north as my legs and time would allow, and then glide home home helped by the friendly wind. As a plan, it went very well.
I managed twenty miles into the wind, helped by a ten minute stop for a chat with a friend who lives at the top of the Ewes valley, and then whisked myself home without too much effort. Riding the electric bike has certainly not harmed my cycling fitness, and even after a morning pulling rhododendron roots up, I was very pleased with how I went.
With a lot of photos already taken in the garden, I didn’t take many on my ride. This was a view of a new foot bridge across the River Teviot at Commonside . . .
. . . and this is a view up the Phaup valley to give a flavour of how the country is looking as autumn approaches.
I stopped for a quick sip and stretch with six miles to go and noted a rowan tree still full of berries. (It was definitely a rowan.)
I got home in just under three hours, and as this is par for the course for me when I am doing a gentle forty mile ride, I was very happy with the whole outing.
Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy in the garden when I was out, but she was back inside by the the time that I arrived. When we looked out of the kitchen window, we could see a robin perched on our fake tree.
In all the excitement of a very good day, I didn’t have time to watch the birds, so it is fortunate that two red admiral butterflies are on hand to fill the flying bird of the day slot.