Sunday (Phew! What a Scorcher)

Now, I have sat down here to write a post for you and beside me there is a steaming mug of black coffee and a large glass of whiskey. This is not good, I don’t do my best writing when I am drinking black coffee. I have taken a sensible precaution and I have written “Don’t Ramble” on the back of my hand in Biro. So now if you are sitting comfortably, I will begin….

Scorcher

YesterdayΒ started well. Saturday had been as warm as a late Spring day and Sunday looked just as promising. So we had to ask ourselves, “what will we do with all of this sunshine?” We can scour the woods for fungi when it’s raining, we decided to go and look for butterflies instead.

It was a long shot given the time of year but if it was going to happen it would be on a day like this.

Well we didn’t see any. In fact it was just a sunny winter’s day and not spring at all and in winter everything that isn’t dead is asleep.

So that’s that.

The End.

FizzOkay now I am rubbing the word “Don’t” off the back of my hand with spit.

Why on earth did I think we would find butterflies on the last day of November?

There are five British butterflies that overwinter as adults and that means that throughout the whole winter these delicate little insects will be outside, even when the streams freeze up and stop moving and frost covers everything in long crystals.

On any warm winter day they can and do wake up and they have a little stretch and bask in the sun for an hour before going back to sleep. These five will be the first to welcome the spring.

I will show them to you.

Three pictures of the Brimstone because I don’t think that I have had it on the blog yet. Not very flashy wings but it has a lovely photogenic face.

Brimstone Butterfly

Brimstone Butterfly

Brimstone ButterflyThe other beautiful animals are…

Comma
Comma Butterfly

Red Admiral
Red Admiral Butterfly

Small Tortoiseshell
Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Peacock
Peacock ButterflyAll of these animals emerge in the summer sun and they are like teenagers, they don’t have any responsibilities. All that they do is drink nectar and enjoy the sun. Somehow when summer ends they have to survive the winter and when spring comes they will have to learn about territories and breeding. Well, that can be fun too.

It was a long shot but we could have seen any of these butterflies.

Anyway this isn’t going to be a post about any of these, this is a post about the Orange Tip and somewhere there is probably a reason.

This morning I wrote a couple of posts for my Easy Wildflowers Blog. They were both about Strawberries (of sorts) The Wild Strawberry….

Wild StrawberryAnd the Barren Strawberry.

Barren StrawberryPretty easy to tell apart, the real strawberry has a yellow dome in the centre of the flower.

Whilst I was researching the species I came across this interesting bit of information, you can tell the species apart because on the leaf of the Barren Strawberry the tooth at the tip of the leaf is smaller than the teeth either side of it. (True)

Barren StrawberryWhereas on the Wild Strawberry it um…isn’t (particularly)

Wild StrawberryDid you know that?

I think that there are easier ways to separate the plants but it is all good.

Wild Strawberry

Wild StrawberryThe other good way to tell if it is a real Wild Strawberry is to wait and see if Bananas grow on it. Wild Strawberries are really small and Bananas are far away.

OOOh! That coffee is kicking in.

Anyway I digress. While I was checking out my pictures of Strawberries I happened to notice some other pictures of Orange Tips and the Orange Tip is a butterfly. Do you get the connection?

The Orange Tip was sitting on my hand. Over the last few days I have become involved with a bird that might sit on my hand and so the Orange Tip struck a chord.

Robins are pesky birds.

I made the mistake recently of not identifying this bird, it is a European Robin. In the UK this is probably the most recognised and most loved bird that we have. I have got a love of these animals.

Robin

Robin

RobinThey hang around my flat and try and steal my stuff. Over the last few days I have been trying to get one to feed from my hand and so that is why I decided to write a post about the Orange Tip.

Everybody loves the Robin Redbreast. It is an audacious little bird and approaches men and seems friendly.

Male Robins will not tolerate each other and they fight to the death. I have read that up to ten per cent of all Robin deaths may be down to robinicide, they are little psychopaths, they are killers but they are fine with other species.

RobinSo anyway, as I was saying, When I first arrived here I was quickly accepted because of my affinity with animals. I know what they like to eat.

Everybody was happy because I brought Robins with me (Meal worms). The old fellow even started stealing my photographs to put on his wall…..

PhotographThen the Goldfinches arrived (Sunflower hearts)

Goldfinch CharmThese birds are so sweet and charming and as they had never been here before I received a request to stop feeding the Robins in case they chased the Goldfinches away.

Like Goldfinches can’t look after themselves πŸ™‚

The bird wears war paint.

Goldfinch

Goldfinch

GoldfinchI have been feeding the Robins by my back door and recently I have begun to think that I could get them feeding from my hand, which would be very nice.

So little animals in my hand was on my mind when I looked through my library for strawberry pictures and that is when I saw the Orange Tip.

Now, keeping in mind the need to be precise and avoid rambling, I just need to tell you about how little animals came to be in my hands in the first place.

Blue tit chickBack in the olden days when I first started hanging out in woods the animals were very friendly.

Some of them were a bit too friendly and it seemed like they just couldn’t get enough of me.

MosquitosΒ What you are looking at there is probably the second most dangerous animal in the world. Mosquitoes kill more people than all of the Tigers and Great Whites and Crocodiles and everything else that you can think of put together.

The only thing worse than a Mosquito is me and my kind.

Still I quite like them. I understand that it is only the females that take my blood and they only do it because they need the protein to make their eggs and Mosquitoes love their children as much as we love ours.

Horse Flies on the other hand are just mean.

Horse FlyYou don’t even feel a Mozzie, they are masters of stealth but Horse Flies have mouth parts that slash and rip flesh and you get instant pain.

Ouch

Ouch! That had to hurt.HorseShut up! Who asked you?

Being quite green (Naive rather than environmental) my solution was Deet.

DeetIt is very effective. It works by creating a smell that is really offensive to insects and for a couple of years I lived in an insect free world.

One day my bottle of Deet just stopped working. It had always worked and then it just stopped. Why would that happen?

On my first day without Deet I got this photograph.

Red AdmiralThat was the day that I realised that the best way to approach insects might not be to cover myself in insect repellent. I have never worn it since.

So to get to the subject of this post.

The Orange tip is a lovely spring butterfly.

Orange TipIt is very common in the spring time and easy to recognise, you can spot them a mile off.

Orange Tip

Orange TipThe female of the species is a different matter. She doesn’t have the orange tips, she is just white and there are a few small white butterflies around at that time of year. I desperately wanted to photograph the female.

Every little white butterfly that I chased down the hedgerow turned out to be one of these.

Green Veined WhiteThis is a Green-veined White and not a female Orange Tip.

I was beginning to think that Orange Tips must mate with Green-veined Whites and there was no such thing as a female Orange Tip.

So anyway, one day I was out looking at the Wild Arum flower.

Wild ArumThis is not really a flower at all, the flowers are inside. The Arum Lily is really a complex Fly trap.

Wild ArumIt is a bit like the opposite of an insect repellent, it is designed to attract insects.

Now I am not suggesting that anybody goes out and covers themselves in Arum sap. It is a deadly poison that burns and blisters the skin but these things do happen and in the process of examining the fly trap I was exposed to the sap.

Wild ArumI did wash my hands in a nearby puddle of mud and I dried them on a convenient walking hand towel that I always keep with me for just such an emergency.

Hand Towel

Hand TowelBy this time my hands must have been smelling pretty good. (It’s okay I didn’t poison the dog)

This is a female Orange Tip.

Female Orange Tip

Female Orange Tip

Female Orange TipNow I am afraid that I have forgotten what I was talking about. Monday evening has become Tuesday morning and the whiskey is all gone. I must get some sleep.

This month I have to work on my Easy Wildflowers blog and get some content on there. You might think that I am slacking a bit. It is only temporary and it will be worth it. That blog is going to be very good.

Take care.

Advertisements

42 thoughts on “Sunday (Phew! What a Scorcher)”

  1. I love the butterflies and the little birds and Fizz! πŸ™‚ I dont like the mosquitoes!!! They are the only animals, or bugs, I actually kill. I carry other bugs out, but I kill mosquitoes! In India they are very dangerous!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Trini πŸ™‚ I totally agree with you about killing the Mosquitoes. Most of the people they kill are little children but killing Mozzies in England wouldn’t change that. It would be a senseless act of revenge. Given the misery that they cause worldwide it would still probably be a justifiable act. Fizz sends her love πŸ™‚

      Like

    1. Thanks Maureen πŸ™‚ The answer to your question is almost but I hope not. The bird was a Blue Tit and a neighbour had found it whilst mowing his lawn, with the best intentions and assuming that it was in trouble he brought it to me. That little bird was fledging, leaving the nest for the first time. Being on the ground is a natural part of that process. They don’t just take off and become expert fliers in an instant. The parent birds would have been close at hand, looking after it and encouraging it to make it’s next flight. I took it straight back to the place where it was found and released it, There is a post about it here.

      https://atrampinthewoods.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/a-bird-in-the-hand/

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That female orange tip is amazing. Such good camouflage.
    Love the Goldfinches too.

    I usually have trouble reading long posts due to cognitive probs and poor eyesight (making reading tiring), but mix short sentences up with excellent photos and it’s much easier. Thank you for that, Colin.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My wife saw a butterfly on Sunday, not sure what sort as I was in the kitchen at the time. So your hunt was not without reason. Oh, and I’m convinced Wild Strawberries are the bestest thing ever! Much more flavour than most real strawberries.

    Like

  4. OK, everyone has said nice things about the orange tip and Vicki likes the female orange tip, (probably ‘cos it doesn’t have a norange tip) and, yes the photos were really breathtaking and Fizz was there but no one asked the important questions. “What was the whisky? and was it any good.?
    Priorities Colin. Priorities!

    Like

  5. I do so love reading your posts! You have really cheered me up after a stressful morning and the prospect of a visit to the hospital for a check-up this afternoon. I think it took me about two weeks to get orange-tip photos this year. They fly very fast, unlike me. Continue rambling and taking your beautiful photos please.

    Like

  6. It’s great when you ramble. The pictures of your birds are always fascinating, to see how different they are from our birds, and how much more bright and colorful. Your first butterfly, Brimstone, that’s some of the best camouflage there could be…..I sure thought it was a leaf till I looked closer. Amazing. Evidently spiked coffee makes for excellent posts!

    Like

  7. I so delight in your blogging adventure! I find myself laughing out loud as I wonder if the creatures prefer whiskey to beer? I ask because we went to a butterfly garden once where they informed us that butterflies are attracted to beer. Once we dipped our fingers in the beer, we became “butterfly magnets.” My question is how do you attract all the birds ?!! I love the finches with the “warpaint.” The American Finches would be properly frightened!:) Your Robins are adorable. (Ours are more red-bellied) I’ve never seen anything quite as beautiful as your peacock butterfly! Love your loyal companion and can’t wait for the next adventure! Thank you!

    Like

  8. You are too funny! I agree with avian101–great post! I loved the bird pictures. So different than the robins and goldfinches we see here in Pennsylvania. Also the butterflies! Beautiful little creatures.

    Like

  9. We have deer flies in my part of the world and inevitably they land on a part of the body just slightly out of reach like just between your shoulder-blades when you’re wearing a bathing suit whilst canoeing on a hot summer day in the middle of a lake and you only know they’re there the nano second before they bite and then they draw blood with their chompers just like horseflies. (That was a rambling sentence to go with your wonderful rambling post and gorgeous photos.)

    Like

  10. Tons of wonderful photos here. Now… the Goldfinch. I identified the European Goldfinch, but what is the other bird with just the black and white markings on it’s head and the yellow breast? The markings on the E. Goldfinch are fantastic.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s