Feline Mullein

The markings on the head of a Mullein Moth caterpillar seem to have a feline quality to them. I found this one on the leaf of a buddlea – a common host shrub. It spends the longest part of its life cycle in an underground pupal stage before emerging as…

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Grey wagtails at the Ford

Male Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea A pair of grey wagtails annually take up residence at Barwick Ford and this year has been no exception. In previous seasons, nests have been attempted unsuccessfully on the footbridge, but this year the nest location is well hidden and away from the bridge. Last week the parents…

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A D-Day Dakota travels home

Magical things sometimes happen when you are painting.I spent a blissful couple of hours late yesterday afternoon, sat in the long grass by the riverside, painting a watercolour of the view down the Rib Valley.The time had been special.Out of time in fact.A scene largely unchanged in decades, eye and…

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Weevil – Liophloeus tesselatus

This weevil was wandering mechanically at the top of the garden as we supped tea the other afternoon, identified with a bit of research as Liophloeus tesselatus. Their heavily defensive exoskeleton and slow pace mark them out as plant eaters and some of the species are seen as pests to agriculture…

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Greater Water boatman – Notonecta glauca

This is a tadpole’s eye view of a greater water boatman that has its home in our outdoor aquarium. Notonecta glauca is one of several UK species of Greater Water Boatman and a tadpole would do well to be wary – these ‘backswimmers’ as they are known in the US, are…

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In the company of foxes

A walk up the lane turned into a special moment last Friday evening when we encountered four young fox cubs playing at the edge of woodland in the early evening sun whilst their parents were away hunting. They chased in the grass and bounded through the developing crop, oblivious or…

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Cardinal Beetle

Cardinal Beetle Pyrochroa serraticornis This stunner of a beetle was wandering our yard the other day and despite its size, you couldn’t miss it. Cardinal Beetle is the common name for three british beetles. The most common is this one, pyrochroa serraticornis, distinct from the others in having a red head.…

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The Great Barn at Manor Farm

A return to very old stomping grounds last Sunday with a trip to Ruislip in Middlesex, where I lived until the age of five. The focus of our visit was Manor Farm and it’s farmers market, held in the cathedral space of the Great Barn (circa 1300). The warm spring…

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Dancing the sun up

Each year at dawn on the 1st May, Standon Morris ‘dance the sun up’, starting at The Puddingstone in Standon, Hertfordshire.This sound recording records the performance – a magical moment that celebrated the turning of the season and the arrival of spring in one small country village’s cultural year.

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