Better late than never

Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Gavin. He has added to the collection of Scottish islands that he has visited by going to the Isle of Coll of our west coast.

We had another dry and fine day here with quite a bit of sunshine. The active part of it started with first a visit from Dropscone, armed with treacle scones, and then a visit from our neighbour Margaret. She appeared on our local TV station on Monday when she was interviewed at a lunch at the Day Centre. We looked at her with great respect.

When Dropscone and Margaret left, I had a look round the garden and found that the butterflies were making up for lost time. They were out in force again.

They could be found in all corners of the garden feeding on sedum, buddleia, Michaelmas daisies, rudbeckias and dahlias.

And did I mention astrantias? There were assorted other insects too.

All in all, the garden was a hive of activity.

I like peacocks . . .

. . .and Mrs Tootlepedal is good at spotting painted ladies. This one was taking in some rays while lying on the bare earth of a vegetable bed.

I went in and looked out at the birds. A goldfinch was feeding and a greenfinch was considering its options.

I was picking some of the good crop of blackberries from Mrs Tootlepedal’s thornless bramble when what I thought was a leaf fell into the bowl. I had a second look . ..

. . . and when I realised that it was in fact an angle shades moth, I took it out and put it on a leaf. They are beautiful little creatures.

I cycled round to the corner shop for supplies, and I was just putting them away when a sudden racket in the garden pulled me outside again. A flock of jackdaws had settled noisily on the very top of the walnut tree. They then flew off again with a good deal of shouting and screaming.

Down below, more insects were hard at work,

All the bee and butterfly activity has made me neglect the flowers so I took a few pictures before I went in for lunch.

I saw our first Icelandic poppy in early May this year. They have been flowering for four months. They are good value.

Mrs Tootlepedal is secretly growing a large marrow.

After lunch, I got ready to go for a cycle ride on my road bike round my familiar 20 mile Canonbie circuit. Mrs Tootlepedal was doing some gardening, and when I went over to look at what she was doing, I noticed yet another garden visitor.

A European garden spider was repairing the damage caused by a bee to its web.

My legs turned out to be in a very good mood, so I went along well on my cycle ride. There are lots more insects now beside the road as well as in our garden . . .

. . . but I would be much happier if they had been about earlier in the year as well. There must have been many wild flowers that were not well pollinated.

I stopped when I came to a herd of Belted Galloways. Some were interested in me . . .

. . .and some had better things to do.

Margaret had been interviewed by the TV because the Day Centre was celebrating the visit to Langholm of the family of Neil Armstrong, the lunar astronaut. He visited Langholm fifty years ago. The family were also supposed to have attended an event at Hollows Tower, home of the Clan Armstrong Centre, last weekend, but it had been cancelled because of the death of the Queen. The tower was looking very smart in the sunshine when I passed it today.

Although I can’t manage the same speed when I am under my own steam as when I am electrically assisted, I was very happy with my progress on the bike ride today. The wind was light and in a kind direction which helped.

When I got home, I made a batch of ginger biscuits . . .

. . . and I will try not to eat them all at one time as I have been putting on a bit of weight lately. I do like a ginger biscuit with my morning coffee (unless there are treacle scones available of course).

There was time for another visit to the garden where Mrs Tootlepedal picked some autumn raspberries and some more of the blackberries.

She is impressed by the height that her mustard plants have reached . . .

. . . and I was impressed by the drawing power of the Lemon Queen. It seemed as though it almost had a bee on every flower.

During the day, I picked up a lot of windfalls from one of our espalier apples. We will have to decide what to do with them. I feel another tarte tatin coming on, but there may be apple chutney too.

We made a puree of the raspberries and blackberries and had it with custard as afters at our evening meal.

I was tempted to have another butterfly as flying bird of the day . . .

. . . but two greenfinches leaving at speed have got the honour.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

28 thoughts on “Better late than never

  1. The wee moth has remarkable camouflage – it’s no surprise that you mistook it for a leaf.

    Gavin’s photo looks very much like parts of Newfoundland.

  2. I like the markings on the moth. If it landed on tree bark it might be a lot harder to see.
    It’s interesting how all the insects seemed to wait so long to make an appearance. Interesting and a little disturbing.
    Things might be different now with a celebrity at the coffee table. I’d say that maybe you should buy some moon pies to go with the coffee but you probably don’t have then there.

    1. ” Interesting and a little disturbing.” – more than a little disturbing, I would say. It doesn’t seem as though our government cares much about what is going on in the natural world. I haven’t come across moon pies. I will look them up.

  3. Those ginger biscuits wouldn’t last long if they were here in my kitchen! I think it’s time for me to bake some… once the temperatures go down at least another ten degrees so I don’t mind the oven being on.

  4. The biscuits look delicious, you must be a great cook 😉 There is a lot going on in your garden, now that the heat has disappeared. I found last weekt plants that usualy come up and flower during spring. Strange to see it in september.

  5. Interesting to hear of the Armstrong family visit, and Margaret’s appearance on local television.
    That looks like a prizewinning marrow Mrs T is growing.

  6. Beautiful butterfly shots, Tom. Unfortunately, we are not seeing the numbers that you are currently enjoying, just the occasional appearance but they don’t stay long enough for me to run and get the camera.

  7. The butterfly photos are wonderful. I’m really envious! We’ve had lots of moths though….in the house!! I can see there’ll soon be lots of cooking in your kitchen with that super marrow and all your fruit. Hope you’ve grown a ginger plant to help next time with your tasty looking biscuits! It’s been a great year for my ginger plant!

  8. I enjoyed all the photos from your day, especially the insects today. That solitary peacock butterfly is quite eye catching. I agree, the angle shades moth is a beautiful creature.

    1. I think the peacock is my favourite butterfly though as we only see half a dozen in the usual course of things, I don’t have a lot to choose from.

      1. In trying to check their conservation status I just learned that they are long-distance migrants. Ours go to Mexico and yours go to North Africa. They are the world’s most widely distributed. Now I’m going to be looking for them as well as noticing Monarchs.

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