Tag Archives: sat-nav

The Butterfly Safari

We’re now travelling back in time. It’s back to Monday morning this time, to a time before the Sheringham Fish and Chips. I put the the postcode for Strumpshaw Fen into the sat-nav and was once again mesmerised by its capacity for random navigation and time travel.

It started off by leading me in what I thought was the wrong direction and then took a turn for the worse as we took in a selection of narrow roads with grass growing down the centre. It was like taking a trip into a time of more relaxed transport and I’m sure I saw a Hay Wain in the distance.

The main butterfly at the reserve is the Swallowtail. There were, according to reports, several still to be seen on the reserve. We also had hopes of seeing White Admirals and Silver-washed Fritillaries.

From the lack of Swallowtail picture in the header you may be able to deduce that things did not exactly go to plan. You may also search in vain…well, you’ll find out in good time. For now I will keep the tension building.

The first thing we saw as we crossed the railway line to the reserve was a bat, which fluttered down into a bush. They have Pipistrelles in the roof of one of their buildings, though they don’t usually fly in daylight. It might, we agreed, be suffering from the heat.

Pipistrelle Bat, Strumpshaw

Pipistrelle Bat, Strumpshaw

We took a walk through the woods, looked at the wire contraptions that used to shelter orchids, saw a few surviving orchids, pointed a camera at several butterflies and muttered bad words at my lack of success in actually photographing them. Ditto for dragonflies.

We did see a Marsh Harrier, but, to be fair, they are hard to miss. The Canadian lady who was in the hide at the time was ecstatic at seeing one, and the conversation moved on to her difficulties in seeing Polar Bears in Northern Canada. It was nice to think of a cold place while burning up in the middle of a Norfolk reed bed.

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Marsh Harrier over Strumpshaw Fen

Whilst listening to tales of the frozen north I noticed that a Comma had settled next to the path. As soon as I pointed the camera at it, it flew away. It’s a common butterfly and I have lots of shots of it, but it was still vexing to miss yet another shot.

I also missed a White Admiral – twice. We had good views of them, but they didn’t settle long enough for a photograph.

I was able to get some damselflies, some blurred dragonflies and, after returning to my primeval origins, hunt down a darter.

This is a Ruddy Darter. Probably.

These are Damselflies – possibly a Common Blue and a Blue-tailed.

Finally, as we sat under an ivy-covered tree, drinking tea and (in my case) restocking my calories with a big chunk of flapjack, I noticed a butterfly. It was the tomato soup red colour of a Comma, which was a poor second prize for a day of butterfly spotting in Norfolk.

However, as I zoomed in I noticed it was a completely different shape to a Comma.

And that was how we managed to take a photograph of a Silver-washed Fritillary.

That evening, after chips, we took a ride out into the marshes, where I enjoyed myself taking blurred photos of larks and pipits, missing a shot of a female Marsh Harrier and, eventually, getting some shots of sitting people and moored boats. They move slowly so I can manage them.

I’ll post them later as I have to go out now.

 

Views from a Hill in Scarborough

On Wednesday we went up a road we’d never used before whilst following the advice of the sat-nav. I’m beginning to hate that thing. I swear it took me somewhere via the 18th Century this morning.

However, it proved to be a good place to take some photos of the North Bay.

I’ve been trying to get a photo of this sculpture for years but there are always people around it. This time I made them part of the story.

Freddie Gilroy Statue and some artists

Freddie Gilroy Statue and some artists

 

Sorry it’s another short post. Hopefully I’ll be back to normal in the next couple of days.

 

Matlock and Macaroons

We had a good day today, as I said in the previous post, despite the rain.

It started with a breakfast at McDonald’s, which I view as a treat when taken in moderation. I didn’t bother to tell Julia that I’d had one after yesterday’s blood test in case she went all diet-conscious on me.

After that we moved on to a doughnut and a cup of tea at Sainsbury’s in Matlock. Julia resisted the doughnut and just had tea, but I was in a relaxed holiday mood. We didn’t actually stop for tea, it’s just that I have a Pavlovian response to seeing a teapot. We actually stopped because my breakfast tea had worked its way through. This tea and toilet cycle was to be a feature of the day.

Next stop was Bakewell, which was the point of the day. We were looking for a birthday present for Julia’s sister and an internet search had located the item we needed in Stone Art in Bakewell. You may recall that we went there some time ago and bought a pendant for Julia. This time we bought a pendant for her sister. Pendants are good for presents – no need to know a finger size and no need to know if someone has pierced ears.

I had checked my bank balance when we were in Sainsbury’s, so I was able to do the decent thing and secure a pendant for Julia.

She, as you can see from the header picture, responded by buying coconut macaroons. She also bought a Bakewell pudding, but there is less comedy potential in a Bakewell pudding.

We paused to take the customary pictures of the locks on the bridge, and the trout under the bridge before crossing the river to the car park, which is where the previous post starts. Sometimes I confuse myself with all the time shifts, but I wrote these two posts in order of how much the events annoyed me, and it’s much easier to get annoyed about closed toilets than it is about buying jewellery.

We got caught behind a wide load coming down the Via Gellia and the satnav picked a peculiar route through Matlock on the way back. I hadn’t used it on the way to Bakewell and was only using it on the way back because I hadn’t switched it off after using it to get to the bookshop. It doesn’t seem to know there’s a by-pass these days.

Finally, back at home, we found a letter from the anti-coagulant service – I have four more weeks until the next blood test, having hit the target again. This is good news, particularly for my inner elbow, which was starting to get quite tender.

We then had seafood linguine and Bakewell pudding and custard for tea. Julia did the cooking and Number 2 son did the washing up.

All in all, an excellent day. And I still have material for another post.