Tag Archives: moth

Butterfly Count (2)

From 1.10 to 1.25 forgot to make a note of the time for the last one. It was slightly windier, about 8kph (5 mph) from the south. Temperature had climbed to 23 from 20, though the sky was slightly overcast. I really must remember to be more scientific.

Three Red Admirals.

Three Large White.

Five Small White.

Four Small Tortoiseshell.

Three Peacocks.

No Comma this time, though Vicki did catch a Green Veined White and a tatty Meadow Brown in the polytunnel (both released back into the open air unharmed). I didn’t actually see them whilst watching so better luck next time.


Green-veined White

It was harder to take photos this time as they stayed deeper in the shrubs to keep out of the wind, because the wind was shaking the ones that perched where I could actually get a shot and because I was using Camera 2 (the batteries ran out in the new one). Camera 2 is OK, but having leant it to the group to take pictures of the bantams this morning I started off in Magic Scene mode with Beauty Setting. It’s not the most responsive setting for butterfly photography.

We have a lot of whites in the polytunnels, and they are quite good for capturing other species for us. We had a lot of Speckled Woods and Silver Y moths in there last year. We’ve also had Small Copper, Hummingbird Hawk Moth and Small Skipper in the tunnels. In fact the only Small Skipper we’ve recorded here was in the small tunnel.

This morning we disturbed a large moth with markings like a butterfly when we walked in to the office. It paused for a moment after fluttering, folded itself into a moth and then took off and disappeared before I could get the camera. A search of the internet suggests an Orange Underwing (but it’s the wrong time of year) or a Garden Tiger (but it was much plainer, and brown, when it folded its wings). It’s very frustrating.

However, I did see a Mint Moth, after saying I couldn’t find one at the moment. That’s where Camera 2 came into its own. It seems to focus better at smaller distances. The moth started on mint but I took the picture while it was on marjoram. I’m glad to see it, but a bit worried as by this time of year  can sometimes see six or eight of them at a time.


Mint Moth on marjoram




New Camera

After a few days thinking and looking at cameras I finally came to a decision.

My current camera, an Olympus SZ 14 has been great, and has taken thousands of photos in all weathers and been subject to carelessness, gravity and neglect. It is still working, though with a speck of dirt in the works it needs a clean.

At £99 it is now far cheaper than the price I originally paid, and if I pay for the sensor to be cleaned it will cost me at least a third of that price.

Alternatively I could buy an Olympus SP 820 UZ. No, I don’t know why it needs such a long name. It’s a bigger camera and, crucially, has a bigger lens (40x zoom instead of 24x). I’ve always been impressed by the 24x, but 40x is quite an attraction. It’s £155.

Both cost more than I want to spend at the moment, but neither of them is expensive in camera terms.


Well, I’m a man, so I was obviously going to go for the bigger zoom wasn’t I?

It arrived yesterday, while I was too busy to use it, and today there have been few subjects.

However, I did get a chance to photograph a moth (a Small Magpie) that was resting on the ceiling. I think I’m going to like the new camera. It’s bulkier, feels less substantial and has a flimsy battery cover, but it’s just like the old one in use and it takes decent photos.



It’s a bit of a blur, but I finally got my shot of the hummingbird hawk moth.

It was quite a cool morning and we only had weak sun so I was a bit surprised when Julia shouted from the front garden to tell me it was in the garden.

Luckily, as we were packing the car at the time, I had my camera to hand. It would have been better if we’d had the Canon to hand but you can’t have everything.

Does anyone know if they fly in cooler weather? I’ve seen four this year – two of the other three sightings were in the evening as things were cooling down. The fourth was in the polytunnel, where it kept flying at my head – I’m thinking this probably isn’t typical behaviour.

The length of the tongue is amazing, and makes you marvel at the accuracy as they flit around feeding from small flowers.


Sheds, moths, beans…

The big news of the day is either one of two things, and I’m not sure which is better.

We have our first new recruit for the Screveton Shed after I emailed round the bread group. That feels good and makes it seem like a proper group.

The second is that when we got home there was a hummingbird moth feeding on the Red Valerian in the front garden. It flew away as I tried to get to my camera so yet again I have no photograph. I’ve always been slightly ashamed of the Valerian as it’s a bit of a weed growing in the cracks between the paving in the front garden. It drifted in from somewhere about five years ago and started taking over. I had a major session of hacking it back earlier in the year. Later I dead headed extensively, which produced a second flush of growth. It’s a good thing I did or there would have been nothing to attract the moth.

As it is, a minute either way and we would have missed it.

(A confession here – all the plants in the front garden are growing between the cracks- though the allysum and marigolds are descended from plants I actually planted. You can grow a lot of stuff without much soil, though it wouldn’t work for carrots.

I don’t have a picture of the moth and I don’t seem to have one of Red Valerian, but I do have one of a curly bean I picked today. Here it is.


A tale, told by an idiot

Well, it’s been an interesting day.

One of our co-workers had a fit of tidying before we arrived and all sorts of things were randomly repositioned to fit her mental map of “tidiness”.

Still, there’s no point being downhearted, even if you are locked into a turf war about a second-hand desk, and the devil makes work for idle hands.

Having taken delivery of a number of potato sacks from Thompson and Morgan we quite clearly had to hold a sack race. Well, “clearly” is probably overstating things, but it seemed like a good idea. As you can see from the photo the race was fast and furious and finished without injury.  With the T&M sign looking like a sponsorship logo I’m thinking of putting a bid together to see if they fancy sponsoring a semi-pro sack racing league.


Speed blur!


Winner and not winner, but I’m not saying which is which…

Then we had a man knock on the door with a couple of members of his family and ask if they could use the toilet. I said yes, though I was slightly perplexed at why we’ve suddenly become a noted public toilet. It seems that they had been travelling from the Midlands to Skegness and needed a toilet – reference to the internet had produced us a solution. Then I found that it wasn’t just his family but two minibuses of people with special needs and their helpers – 38 in all. Try explaining the workings of a waterless toilet to 38 people who aren’t listening because they have their legs crossed!

When I went to take a picture of the “accidental permaculture bed” to use on the Wild Food page I found that the Fat Hen has disappeared from the bed, leaving just rocket and beans. We can cancel the foraged fat Hen soup I was going to make tomorrow as I won’t be able to find enough. I suspect somebody pointed out it was a weed at the weekend and that was the same as a death sentence the way things are around here at the moment.

I have a picture of the desolate former accidental permaculture bed, but it’s too depressing. Instead I’ll ask if anyone can help me identify the red-bottomed bumble bee in the top image. We have a nest of them somewhere on the farm – can’t say where as it might go the same way as the permaculture bed.

If anyone knows what the moth in the picture is I’d be grateful if you can tell me. Sorry it isn’t a better photograph.


Mystery moth

Finally we had a run-in with the newly repaired alarm. Five attempts!

And that’s how we get to the title – It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Would make a good title for the film of my life.

A blog in need of a smart title

Even if I cut out all the boring bits (I do cut out the boring bits don’t I?), and cut out details of my personal life there’s still a lot happening. Even after I cut out the lives of our clients, the majority of my moaning and, intriguing as they may be to me, the workings of my bowels, there is still too much happening. Without spending all night writing about it I just couldn’t cover it.

So this is a quick digest of some things that happened in the week.

(1) Got some good butterfly and moth sightings – Julia got the best ones this morning whilst taking round a class of 4-year-olds. Included Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and a Painted Lady.

(2) I got a good photo of a Silver Y in the polytunnel – hanging on the roof to make the photo look weird.


(3) One of the kids got stuck in the toilet seat – too big for the adaptor and too small…well, you get the picture. Actually, and I cannot tell a lie just to appear more interesting, this is a lie. But a couple were afraid of falling in. And someone’s hat once fell in. I remember it well as I had to get it out. The kids didn’t want it back, as you may imagine, but it’s not compostable. Then one of the teachers told us how her daughter got wedged down the toilet whilst potty-training. The daughter is now 19 and hates the story. Well, you would, wouldn’t you.

(4) The scarecrows came home from the Hampton Court Garden Show.



(5) We hosted an evening BBQ, a long bread session, yoga (twice this week) and a group of 4-year-olds. This is a restful week compared to next week.

(6) i reached over 900 followers on Twitter after a surge I can’t explain. I did wonder if I’d inadvertently used some sexual code word, like Coventry Bears Rugby League when they launched their first website without realising that “bear” was a slang term on the gay scene. Oh, how we laughed at Nottingham Outlaws.