Damsels in Delight

The sun burned down on the Lake bringing out the Damselflies in force
20180531-09

Most were Common Blues and there were dozens in the air at a time
20180531-16

There were more males than females so courting couples were often shadowed by a gooseberry
20180531-97
20180531-48

There were quite a few Large Reds as well
20180531-35
20180531-34
20180531-33

An enterprising spider had strung a web to ensnare a few
20180531-94

Eggs were deposited
20180531-22
20180531-54

and much fun was had by all
20180531-23
20180531-72

The Chaser was back
20180531-117

and then there were two males in the air with a bit of competitive buzzing as the female arrived
20180531-100

A brief mid air mating and then she was busy dabbing eggs on to the water surface
20180531-145

Meanwhile Dinah was resting. She is supposedly in pig – due in a week – but we will believe that when it happens
20180531-86

The Field Mice have not had difficulting reproducing
20180531-05

Pond Census

Pond 1

20180530-18

Pond 1 is not much more than a metre in diameter but is teeming with life. There may be newts in other ponds but here they can easily be seen. Shine a torch into the water after dark and they are immediately visible. It is surprising there is any room for them considering the growth of Water Lily. Despite having other water available, birds like to drink from here – when the level is a little low they perch on the side and then fully invert their bodies to reach the water below.

Pond 2

20180530-02

Like Pond 1 this was inherited from our predecessors. Here it is being dug out in 2002
20180530-03-2
It was in the middle of grassland with a few small shrubs and saplings round about
20180530-01-2
Those saplings are now mature trees which, together with ten-foot bamboo, overshadow the water which easily fills with leaves. That is fine as it now provides unique habitats – and has newts.

Pond 3

20180530-03

Was dug out eighteen months ago and has attracted a fascinating range of animals
20180530-08
One Water Lily root, extracted from Pond 1 last year is expanding to take advantage of the space
20180530-07

Pond 4

20180530-01

Is taking shape at the bottom of the large polytunnel, known as Zenith. Living at this altitude, with this weather, we have discovered that polytunnels are a wonderful way to create micro-climates. The first one is strictly utilitarian – grapes, figs, kiwi-fruit – the run of the mill stuff but Zenith is slowly taking shape to combine growing space with a sensuous and stimulating place to be. This includes a place to sit when the weather is a bit inclement, looking at the view – and Pond 4

20180530-15

(not that we do sit – but just planning for ten years hence)

Elsewhere in Zenith the tomatoes are being set out – ready to be supported by bamboo from Pond 2

20180530-17

Who can resist the Comfrey?

Hard to come inside this evening
20180528-05-3

Outside a Song Thrush is serenading the moon
20180528-02-3
and the air heady with Lilac and Hawthorne.

Earlier, the Comfrey was a buzzing
20180528-27
20180528-29
20180528-31
20180528-33
20180528-36
20180528-39

Wild Garlic looking bright and spikey
20180528-01

The Lake Flags are showing the first tip of yellow
20180528-07-2

In the Meadow, the all-important Rattle is starting to flower – and seems to be spreading its reach
20180528-10

We have let the Runner Beans out of the greenhouse
20180528-16

Other moments from today

20180528-11-2
20180528-11
20180528-14
20180528-15
20180528-14-2
20180528-18-2

Rolling Thunder

Thunder rolled round the horizon, cloaked in mist and cloud. From time to time the the moistness swelled into an approaching drum roll as a storm shower swept over.

All was refreshed
20180527-04-2
20180527-09-2
20180527-10-2

The Berberis was shedding its petals in any case
20180527-04
accelerated today to make a golden lawn
20180527-06-2

Other blossoms resisted the downpour
20180526-27
20180526-29
20180527-01

The May is coming in as May is going out
20180527-05-2

Yesterday the Lily buds were nosing out
20180526-06
Today, raised water set them another few inches of growth

Nearby the Large Red Damselfly rests
20180526-12
(it is a large red damselfly and it is a Large Red Damselfly)

The Buddhist tree is fully robed
20180527-09
and the Iris spikes are sharpening
20180527-11

The seed-sown beans are raring to get outside and join their bought in competitors
20180527-13
but they have not seen the slugs

Don’t turn your back…

Internet down (again) for three days this week and the problem is that when we can communicate we are overwhelmed with the pace of things.

Turn your back on a plant and it erupts with something new

20180525-09
20180524-07
20180524-26

This red hawthorne was planted in memory of Muriel so exceptionally exciting to see the first show of colour
20180525-06

We were wondering if our runner beans would germinate. We betrayed them by buying in some seedlings
20180521-42
We looked behind us at the Greenhouse
20180521-06
and later that day found this
20180522-18

You just let trees get on with life and then look up and see that several inches of new growth have appeared while your back was turned
20180521-18
20180521-21
20180521-17

Goodness know what the bees have been doing while we weren’t looking
20180520-07
but we are ready for expansion
20180525-03
the Bumblebees look after themselves
20180524-36

The late Spring has compressed the season into a couple of weeks. The Apple blossom came and behind our back dropped the petals
20180525-11
to get on with the next stage

The bird feeders continue to be busy
20180524-49
and with the ground baked dry we put out mealworms for the Blackbirds
20180524-06

One day we will have time to sit down
20180521-34

Out of the water, into the air

Last summer we were delighted when our newly made pond brought in damselflies and dragonflies. One of the most engaging was the Broad-bodied Chaser. He had read the book which said “He regularly returns to the same perch after swift flights out across the water” as that is exactly what he did – adopting a horizontal twig on a hazel stump from which he did regular patrols round the pond.

His residency must have included a successful relationship as today a nymph crawled from the water, for some reason traversed a meter or so of grass, before choosing a stalk for its metamorphosis.

20180520-01

Very slowly its wings began to expand

20180520-04-2
20180520-10-2

In this vulnerable state the colour and shape of the wings blended with the surrounding grass stems

20180520-16-2

and from above, while its head was spectacular in colour and shape, it was also very similar to the surrounding Meadow Buttercup buds

20180520-20-2

It took about an hour and a half to prepare – no movement was apparent but its shape and colour were constantly changing

20180520-17-2
20180520-27-2

Eventually her (this is a female) wings parted slightly

20180520-29-2

before suddenly flicking open to full spread

20180520-33-2

Then it was off, leaving the empty exuvia still clinging to the grass

20180520-38