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Posts Tagged ‘painted lady butterfly’

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony and shows one of his dogs relaxing in his garden.  He tells me that he sun (almost) always shines in East Wemyss.

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When I woke up this morning, I was very happy to find that the sun was shining and my feet were not hurting.  Life was good and it got better when I went out into the garden after breakfast and found a painted lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui) sunning itself on a Sweet William.

painted lady on sweet william

Things improved even further when Dropscone arrived for coffee, bringing scones of the highest quality with him.  Add to that a passing visit from our friend Gavin who stayed for a cup of coffee and happiness was to be found all around.

In the garden, when the visitors had departed, there was plenty of cheerfulness too. We have three different astrantias and they are all doing well…

three astrantia

…and the painted lady was back showing both sides of its wings.

painted lady panel

On the feeder, a siskin stood for a moment before getting a seed.  (This is a rare siskin picture for me as it wasn’t taken through a window.)

siskin not through window

Mrs Tootlepedal was doing the garden equivalent of housekeeping after the pole excitements when she found this quite unexpected but very pretty iris in the middle of a bed.  Where it has come from is a mystery, as she didn’t plant it.

new yellow iris

Long established irises should not be overlooked though.

old blue iris

Two days of warm sunshine had brought life to the garden and plants asked to be photographed, both in the form of Jacobite roses…

Jacobite rose

…and the butter and sugar iris.

butter and sugar iris

The painted lady returned to another Sweet William and let me get a close up.

painted lady on sweet william 2

The tropoaeolum has burst into flower as well.

tropaeloum flower out

In between running around snapping at flowers, I mowed the front lawn and lent a hand with the garden tidying until it was time for Mrs Tootlepedal to drive off to Newcastleton for an embroiderers’ lunch.

I made a pan of soup for my lunch, did the crossword and then headed out on my bike to see how my legs were feeling after yesterday’s effort.

I chose a route where the wind would be across and hoped that bends in the road would mean that it would frequently change from hostile to helpful as I went along as I didn’t fancy another long spell of battering into the brisk breeze.

I chose a more hilly route but my legs were unfazed and carried me along without complaint.  My windy plan worked well and I didn’t have any long struggles into the teeth of the breeze, but all the same, I adopted a very gentle pace and stopped to take many pictures as I went along.  Here are a sample.

A mown field and a variety of greens made a interesting picture as I cycled down the hill from Peden’s View.

mowed field

There was a pretty selection of hawkweed and daises at Bentpath village (and another painted lady which didn’t get into the picture).

wild flowers at Bentpath

The Esk looked serene when viewed from the Benty Bridge.

esk from benty bridge

The shadows on the back road past Georgefield look attractive but they are a snare for cyclists as it is hard to spot potholes among them and there are plenty of potholes on this section.

road ar Westerhall

I got through safely though and was able to admire this small prairie of buttercups near Enzieholm Bridge.

filed of buttercups enzieholm

When I looked more closely, I found that below the buttercups, the field was also full of yellow rattle.

sweet ratle in buttercup filed

There was a lot of traffic on the road on my way home…

sheep on Benty road

…but I got back in good spirits after fifteen very pleasant miles.

Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from her lunch and was busy in the garden again so I joined her in a supervisory role and took more flower pictures from time to time.

six brilliant flowers

It was a perfect day and all the better because we have had so few good days lately.

The only fly in the ointment came in the evening with the news that Scotland had failed to hang on to a three goal lead in a crucial game in the Women’s World Cup football tournament.  I wisely hadn’t watched the game because I wasn’t in the mood for needless suffering.

I didn’t find the necessary time to catch a flying bird today as it wasn’t a good day to spend a lot of time indoors, so a sitting blackbird of the day takes the position instead.

blackbird on fence.

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my friend Bruce.  He was impressed by the size of this nail brush.  Its owner must have very big hands.

Bruce's big brush

I was awoken by a loud cry from Mrs Tootlepedal.  “There’s a partridge in the garden,” she said.  I had hoped that by the time  that I had got organised with a camera, the partridge would have flown up into our pear tree, which would have been a great gift.  No such luck though as the partridge had walked out of the front gate and down the road.

partridge

It will do well to stick around in the town and take the risk of being run over.  It it goes back out into the country, it is likely to get shot.

The forecast had been for another cloudy day but we were lucky and the clouds had passed over us and gone on their way and it was sunny all day.

The elder tree feeder lived up to its promise this morning and attracted interesting small birds to the garden.

great tit and robin

A great tit and the first robin for some weeks.

It was a little chilly after breakfast so I took my time getting ready to pedal and made some apple jelly after breakfast.  Sadly, I might have rushed the job a bit and although the result tastes quite nice, it hasn’t set properly and may need reboiling.

Then, even when I had pumped up the tyres and filled my water bottle, I took more time to admire the poppies…

thre poppies

…and salute the butterflies on the buddleia.

three butterflies

Small tortoiseshell, peacock and red admiral

The wind was coming from the north east so instead of heading south as usual and then having to face the wind coming home, I headed north out of the town.

The trouble with starting in this direction is that there is a steep hill almost as soon as you leave the town.  I am not supposed to cycle up steep hills with my tin knee but I adopted a very low gear and eased up the hill so gently that my knee did’t even notice.

Peden's View

Looking back from the top of the hill.

It was a good day for a pedal as the wind was light and even when it was in my face, it didn’t make me cry.  The hills were looking good with bracken and grasses making a patchwork of greens and browns.

Criag hills

I had to stop to take my favourite view, The Gates of Eden.  It really was that green today.

Gates of Eden

I was cycling up the Esk towards its source and this is the peaceful view of the valley at Bentpath.

esk at bentpath

You can see that the farmers have been busy getting silage cut and bagged.

The Black Esk and the White Esk join forces about ten miles north of Langholm and this is the bridge over the Black Esk just before the junction.

 

Black esk bridge Tanlawhill

I crossed the bridge and followed the White Esk for the rest of my outward journey, stopping in this delightful wood beside the King Pool for my first snack of the day.

King Pool wood

The valley of the White Esk is a perfect example of the ‘sunlit uplands’ on a day like today…

Upper esk valley panoramaIt may not be so welcoming in the winter though.

I pedalled past the Samye Ling Tibetan Monastery without taking a picture (which took a lot of restraint) but was stopped in my tracks a little further on by a beautiful rose and some impressive hips in a bush beside a bridge.

rwild rose and hips

The bridge looked interesting so I followed a steep path down to the river and was most alarmed when I heard an almighty splash as I got near to the water.  What had fallen in, I wondered.

It turned out that nothing had fallen in, but a large family of goosanders had been disturbed by my arrival and had taken off from under the bridge in a great hurry.  I caught a glimpse of them as they disappeared downstream.

flying goodsanders

Not a great picture but it was just to record that ten or eleven goosanders taking flight can sound like a boulder falling into a river.

The bridge itself was worth a look.

Eskdalemuir birdge

Although it looked like a traditional stone bridge, the arch had been strengthened by concrete.  This was doubtless to withstand the battering it gets from the many timber wagons which roll over it.  I am not entirely sure but I think the stream is Garwaldwater.

I pushed on, climbing gently but steadily until I could see the start of the White Esk where the Glendearg Burn comes down from the hills to join another little stream and turns in to the Esk.

Upper Esk

When I got to my turning point, the regional  boundary between Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders….

County boundary

…I could hardly recognise it as the timber farmers had been hard at work here and cut down all the trees that used to mark the border.  It looks rather nondescript now.

Nevertheless at 1100 feet above sea level, it seemed like a good spot to rest and munch an egg roll before rolling down the 22 miles back to Langholm.  I say ‘rolling back’ but in spite of losing 850 feet overall, there is a never ending amount of undulation on the way so it was still hard work.  As the route back was exactly the same as the route out, I have not illustrated it.

I was extremely pleased to find that my knee stood up well to this hilly ride and might try to do some more adventurous rides if time and weather permit.

When I got home, I mowed the middle and front lawns.

When i say that I mowed them, of course it was the wonderful Webb Witch which did the work…

Lawn mower

…I just walked along behind it saying encouraging things.  They don’t seem to sell push mowers like this any more.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy sowing some field beans for green manure in the now empty potato bed and we took time out to watch the many flights of bees and butterflies on the buddleia and Michaelmas daisies.  I actually saw a bee push a small tortoiseshell off a daisy flower.   The butterfly came back sharply and knocked the bee off in turn.

The same three varieties that I had seen in the morning were still about ….

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…but they were joined by a couple of beautiful painted ladies in the afternoon.

painted lady butterfly

One posed for me on a daisy.

The garden was full of insects.

insects in garden

I finished my camera tour with an Icelandic poppy.

icelnadic poppy

Then we uprooted the gooseberry bush as part of the vegetable garden remodelling.  We are going to try to do a little work on this scheme every day that the weather allows so that the work doesn’t overwhelm us.

We were spoiled in the evening with the highlights of both the Tour of Spain and the Tour of Britain bicycle races to watch.

The flying bird of the day is another sparrow.  Birds do keep their heads still when they are flying.

flying sparrow

 

 

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No words can do justice to the greatest guest picture of the day ever.  It comes from my Newcastle correspondent Fiona who is in the Netherlands and it is a view that just can not be surpassed.

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I’d like a bit of that piquant Jersey cheese.

It was cloudless and chilly when we got up but the sun warmed things up and Mrs Tootlepedal was soon out in the garden trimming hedges for all she was worth.

I went to look for butterflies.  They too were up and about early in the day.

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A painted lady posed for me on the buddleia.

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As the forecast was good, my plan was to go cycling but after I had waited for the temperature to get into double figures and then joined Mrs Tootlepedal in the hedge trimming frenzy, it was later than I had planned before I got under way.

As it was a Saturday, I set off south down the main road, letting gravity and a mildly helpful wind speed me through the first fifteen miles in an hour.  I nearly managed to keep that speed up for thirty miles but after that, things slowed down.

My first stop was for the level crossing on the way to Rockcliffe.  I was not the only cyclist held up.

P1130684

The fellows on the far side were cycling from Penrith to Dumfries, a distance of 61 miles by the national Cycle Route 7 and their intention was to go back to Penrith tomorrow, a very pleasant way to spend a holiday weekend.

I went round the Carlisle by-pass and found myself on the south side of the Solway, riding along the flat ground between the sea and the Lake District Hills.

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My target was to go round the vast radio station at Anthorn….

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…which is on a promontory with the River Whampool’s estuary on one side…

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..and the Solway itself, looking towards the Nith estuary on the Scottish side.

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The road is extremely flat but a noticeable wind made the going quite hard until I had rounded the tip of the promontory and was heading back towards Carlisle.

Once I had got to Bowness on Solway, I stopped for a snack on a handy bench beneath this helpful road sign.

P1130696

Although the sign is part of the tourist business surrounding Hadrian’s Wall (an early effort to keep the English out of Scotland), it does make the point of how far the Roman influence stretched from the seat of government.

As I cycled on, I could look straight across the Solway to the Scottish shore and it was good to see some water between the land on both sides.

P1130691

The tide wasn’t fully in though and there were a great number of birds on the shore.  It would have been good to have had the time and the camera and lenses to look at them more closely.

The long black line of birds on the picture below…

P1130698

…turned out to be oyster catchers, hundreds of them…

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…and the indistinct white blob in the foreground looks like an egret to me.

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The zoom lens on the Lumix could see more birds on the Scottish side and some rough water in between.

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I think that the rough water may have been caused by the incoming tide meeting the outflowing rivers Esk and Eden.

I noticed a group of people looking at the shore further along.  There were a lot more birds there but I made such a bad job of photographing them ….

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…that I am not sure what they are.  They may well be sandpipers.   Kindly readers point out that they are probably dunlin.

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I know that these are swans and you can see the wind turbines at Gretna in the background…

P1130707

…about 7 miles away as the seagull flies but 16 miles for me on my bicycle to get there.

I had to negotiate a bit of traffic on the road across the marsh on my way.

P1130709

All went well though and I returned by pretty much the same route as I went out, stopping to note this view of Netherby Hall through the trees just before I got back into Scotland.

P1130711

My trip came to a neat 75 miles and it would have been a bit further if my legs hadn’t objected.  Perhaps I went a bit too fast at the start of the ride or perhaps they were still feeling the walk up Warbla yesterday but for whatever reason, after about 45 miles they made it very plain that straight home was the only way to go.

garmin route 25 Aug 2018

You can see how flat the Solway plain is.  Click on the map to view details of the ride.

It was lucky that the sun was out for most of the time because when it went behind the clouds, it was a bit chilly.  With only a month to go to the autumn equinox, we may have to come to terms with the winding down of this year’s splendid summer warmth.

Mrs Tootlepedal arrived at home at about the same time as me.  She had spent the afternoon visiting a walled garden at Artkleton, a few miles up the road from Langholm.  It has been opening on a Saturday for visitors and she went up with our neighbour Liz and two other friends and they had a very good time admiring the garden and its flowers with the added bonus of having a cup of tea with cakes as well.

As I sat in the kitchen recovering from the ride, I saw a nuthatch outside the window but once again, I was in the right place but without the right camera and it had flown off before I could catch it.

I had to make do with some sparrows.

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Mrs Tootlepedal made a tasty cheese flan for our tea and that rounded off a good day all round.

You can find a flying sparrow of the day if you look hard enough among the flock.

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Today’s guest picture, sent to me by my son Tony, is a slightly fuzzy snapshot of members of his family enjoying the rock pools at East Wemyss.  They seem to be settling in well.

dogs at Wemyss

I did some settling in myself today.  I got up, had breakfast and then settled back in bed for a snooze.  It turned out that I was slightly tired for some mysterious reason.

I got up when Mrs Tootlepedal went off to church and mowed the drying green and the greenhouse grass.  Although Mary Jo’s rain gauge was registering 0mm this morning, there has been enough rain recently to keep the grass growing at a great rate.

I couldn’t help noticing the butterflies on the buddleia beside the drying green.

There was the usual peacock…

four eyed peacock butterfly

…enjoying the morning sun enough to spread out its wings and show all four eyes and a painted lady posing prettily nearby.

painted lady butterfly

Beside the butterflies was the first of the Michaelmas daisies…

michaelmas daisy

…which is an uncomfortable reminder that the year is inexorably on the march towards autumn.

I had a walk round while doing a bit of dead heading.  The calendulas rise and fall with great regularity.  We have a great number in the garden and if you keep dead heading them, they keep on coming. The same applies to the poppies so we have to keep busy with the snips.

The dahlias were attracting bumble bees.

bumble bee on dahlia

And the red buddleia had a single butterfly on it.

butterfly on red buddleia

While I was wandering, I was once again struck by the glory of the new lilies.

colourful corner

More of them come out each day.

The gaura, which I thought was going over, has got a second wind and is flowering furiously.

gauraIt seemed to have been out for a long time so I checked and found that I had taken the first picture of it on June 23rd so it has been good value for money.

The golden wedding roses have done so well in our warm summer…

many golden wedding roses

…that Mrs Tootlepedal purchased a couple more roses of a similar type but different colours a couple of days ago to add a bit of variety to our view from the kitchen window.

new roses

The test will come when they have to put up with our winter.

New poppies appear daily at the moment.

pink and white poppy

Some with added insect.

red poppy with hoverfly

And a second flush of orange hawkweed has replaced the first flowering which was trimmed off when it went over.  It has been a very good summer.

orange hawkweed

I had intended to go bicycling in the morning but having failed to do that, I made the mistake of sitting down after lunch and didn’t get up again until four o’clock when Mrs Tootlepedal summoned me out to help drive in a stake to support a really tall sunflower.

very tall sunflower

It really is really tall.

The drying green buddleia was awash with peacocks…

four peacock butterflies

…and it was tempting to hang around to try to take the definite peacock picture but now that I was up and active, I thought that I ought to make something at least of a really good summer’s day.  Our temperatures recently have been perfect for me, hovering around 20°C.

I rolled round my customary 20 mile Canonobie circuit, trying quite hard but not going very fast and only stopped for a picture when I crossed Skippers Bridge on my way back into Langholm.

Langholm distillery

I looked both ways.

River Esk from Skippers Bridge

When I got home, I took a self indulgent picture of the middle lawn which has survived a miserable winter and a drought not too badly.

middle lawn

You can see the very tall sunflower in the background.

A gentle and enjoyable day was rounded of with an excellent meal of roast chicken with vegetables from the garden all provided by Mrs Tootlepedal.

I didn’t find the time or the energy to take any bird pictures so the flowers of the day are the phlox which continue to dazzle.

phlox

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows some of the measures that have to be taken to control the river in Grimsby because of the large rise and fall of the tides.  My brother made an excursion to the town while on his visit to Cleethorpes.

Grimsby

We are beginning to get used to warm, dry weather in Langholm and it will be a big shock when we revert to our more usual rainy style.  Meanwhile we are enjoying our sunny days and making the most of them.

I started today with a visit to our producers’ market in the Buccleuch Centre.  It was not as busy and cheerful as it normally is as there was a distinct lack of both buyers and sellers.  Still, I stocked up on fresh fish, good meat and excellent cheese so the lack of honey, tea and coffee was bearable.

There was no time for idling in the garden in the morning as we had a lunchtime appointment in Carlisle.  The lady who takes our Langholm Choir had arranged a small charity concert to support the work of a group in Carlisle that takes necessities to the refugees who are unfortunate enough to be stuck in ‘The Jungle’ at Calais.  We thought that this was a good cause so we went.

It was lucky that we did go because Mrs Tootlepedal and I constituted a sixth of the whole audience and the little concert was good enough to have deserved ten times as many or more to hear it.

As we were in Carlisle and it was a beautiful day, we decided to go for a short drive when the concert finished and chose to visit the memorial to Edward I at Burgh-by Sands.  He died there in 1307 while on his way to teach those dratted Scots a good lesson.

In spite of its name, Burgh-by-Sands isn’t right on the seashore and we drove some way from the village, parked the car and still had this delightful farm track to walk down before we got to the marsh.

Burgh-by-Sands

You can see the estuary of the river Eden in the background.

The fields beside the road were full of grazing cattle and sheep and we were a bit surprised when the sheep suddenly left the fields and filled the road in front of us.

cattle and sheep Burgh-by-Sands

Fortunately, they soon turned round and went down the road towards the marsh following the car.  We followed at a safe distance.

The memorial to Edward I is stuck out on the marsh…

Edward II memorial

…and is protected from the attentions of the cattle that graze there.

cattle on Burgh Marsh

Mrs Tootlepedal thought that this looked rather like a Dutch landscape painting.

The memorial is not well tended at the moment and the plaques are getting rather weather beaten.

Edward II memorial

The present monument was erected by the Earl of Lonsdale in 1803 and replaces an earlier obelisk placed there by the Duke of Norfolk in 1685. The inscription on the monument reads “Omni veneratione prosequens inclytam Edwardi primi famam, optimi Angliæ Regis, columnam hanc humifusam dirutamque, hic reponendam curavit Gulielmus Vice-comes de Lowther, Anno Salutis MDCCCIII”  Readers will doubtless be so fluent in Latin that to translate these words for them would be an insult so I won’t.

As you can see Edward I was regarded as a great king but since he was responsible for starting the 100 years war against France and 300 years of fighting between Scotland and England, he is probably mourned more by some than others.

The marsh cattle began to move towards us so we made a dignified exit before they arrived and walked back up the lane.

The sheep were now in a flowery field…

Burgh by sands sheep

…and there were enough wild flowers about to keep me very happy snapping away.

clover and dock

The humble clover and dock

cow parsley and hawthorn

Decorative cow parsley and hawthorn

vetch and orange tip butterfly

Vetch and female orange tip butterfly

We saw quite a few orange tip butterflies of both sexes but this was the only one that didn’t flit away as we approached.

This part of the country is full of old villages and churches but there are not many thatched cottages so I stopped to take this picture as we drove back to the village.

burgh-by-sands cottage

It needed some support to survive as you can see

It was well over 70°F  (22°C) as we drove home and we were pleased to get into the cool of the kitchen and have a cup of tea when we got there.

It was too nice to stay indoors though so I went out to sieve some compost and Mrs Tootlepedal found a home for it on the strawberry bed.  When I went out first, I saw a butterfly…

butterfly

…but it obstinately kept its wings closed until I put the camera down, at which point it opened them up and then flew away.

I consoled myself with pictures of my current favourite flowers…

iris

aquilegia

…until the butterfly returned in a more obliging mood.

painted lady butterfly

It was a painted lady butterfly, not one that we see often.

I mowed the middle lawn and set the sprinkler to water the front lawn first….

lawn sprayer

…and then the middle lawn when I had finished the mowing.  I am trying to make the  very best use of the good weather to get the lawns looking a bit better.

I left Mrs Tootlepedal to turn off the sprinkler and went out on the slow bike to see if the light was still good enough to capture a nuthatch.  I stopped at this fine display of wild flowers just before I got to the nesting site…..

wild flowers

…but the light wasn’t good enough for nuthatch spotting at the tree so I turned my attention to a nearby cricket match.

A bowler was working up a good speed of delivery at one end…

cricket on castleholm

…too fast indeed for the batsman at the other end who played too late and heard the bail being dislodged from his wicket before he had completed his stroke.

cricket on castleholm

You can see the ball and bail in the right hand frame just in front of  the last fence post

I pedalled on and saw a dipper when I looked downstream from the Sawmill Brig.  By the time that I had got down to the river bank, the dipper had been replaced by Mr Grumpy…

heron

…who had found a shady spot to stand.

The fish from the market made an excellent evening meal and rounded off an interesting day.

The flying bird of the day is the heron flying off to find a better fishing spot.

heron flying

 

 

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