Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label Fauna. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fauna. Show all posts

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Monday 2 August 2010 – Dunham Massey and a Banded Demoiselle Damselfly

Banded Demoiselle Damselfly

After noting recently that the ‘rare’ Banded Demoiselle Damselfly is the emblem of the Mersey Vale Nature Park, it was still something of a surprise to see one today by the Bridgewater Canal.

According to Wikipedia it is “a large damselfly with a total length of up to 48 mm and a hind wing length of up to 36 mm.  The male has translucent wings which each have a broad, dark iridescent blue-black spot (or band) across the outer part. On immature dragonflies the spot is dark brown. The body can be a metallic blue or blue-ish green.

Our very active specimen certainly fitted this description.

Sue, Dot and I had enjoyed a short stroll around Dunham Park, where the ‘fountain’ was conspicuous for its green-ness rather than for its fountain.

The fountain - not turned on

A large group of Fallow Deer bucks lazed near the entrance, seemingly weighed down by their new horns.

The boys hang out

The house was still standing proud, with the coppiced trees that were bare a few weeks ago now looking like dark green lollipops.

Dunham Massey House

After a tour of the grounds and a luxuriant coffee, we headed down to the Swan with Two Nicks and onto the canal towpath.  The weed below – perhaps a Black Knapweed, was busy with insect life. Mark would probably identify the bee as a Red-tailed Bumble-bee, Bombus Lapidarius, but I can’t ‘sex’ it as I can’t see whether or not it has a collar!

Bugs on Knapweed

Then we saw the Damselfly.  Quite exciting really – we watched it for ages, though we failed to get the desired picture of it flying.

The images below were the best I could manage.

Banded Demoiselle Damselfly

Damselfly in flight All in all, a very pleasant little excursion.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Happy Birthday Blog!


I started these scribblings on 1 October 2007, exactly two years ago, so it is now six years since I was last in full time employment!

Doesn’t time fly!

Whilst the blog is basically my indulgence, it has proved to be a good medium for keeping a diary and recording activities etc on a fairly timely basis.  It has enabled us to keep in touch with family and friends from distant parts.  New friends have also been made, too numerous to mention, as a result of the blog, and also as a consequence of me and Sue continuing to take part in the TGO Challenge annual backpack across Scotland.  The image above is taken from this year’s Challenge, and shows me on the south summit of Gulvain towards the end of our toughest day, on 10 May 2009, with the Nevis peaks in the background.

Scotland can be wonderful in May!

Here’s a picture from last year, with Tim and Kate Wood, on their 10th Challenge, crossing the bridge over the River Spey at Carnachuin.  Sadly, Tim and Kate were unable to take part in this year’s walk, so this may be the last time they crossed this characterful bridge, as it was washed away in this year’s August floods in Scotland.


Readers may be aware that Sue (Nallo Lady) is out of sorts at present and unable to get out as much as she would like to (she can’t carry more than a small bum bag, and has limited ‘range’).  I shall miss her company whilst she remains incapacitated, and it’s a solo entry that has been made for the 2010 TGO Challenge, so the old Phoenix Callum Hord tent will be accompanying me on that trip.  It astonishes me, when I read so many whinges from backpackers about condensation problems in their tents, that this 25 year old single skin tent seems to have retrospectively skipped beyond the current leading edge of tent technology.  Whilst its old seams need TLC, the tent is, and always has been, free of any condensation.

Anyway, whilst Sue has been grounded, she has made a new friend.  He lives in one of our window boxes:

0103spider1 0104spider2

She also discovered this pretty little devil in her apple tree; with its bright yellow stripe, red dots and two ‘horns’ it should be quite easy to catalogue, but we have no idea as to its identity.


Today’s plan had been to enjoy the Snowdon Horseshoe walk, just as I did six years ago to celebrate my new found part time status (I recommend it), but with a four day trip starting imminently I’ve been lazy and stayed at home.  Hopefully Susan from Connecticut will join me on a stroll up Snowdon later this month.

I wrote a year ago about my feelings on this blog and its place in the outdoor blogging community, and those feelings haven’t changed.  I enjoy the process and will continue so long as that is the case, aided by whoever I can get to vary the monotony by way of guest entries.  There’s certainly plenty to read for those with time on their hands – 123,000 words in the past year (1st year: 165,000!), with about 1,200 images (1,200).  The blog is now publicly followed’ by 25 people (4) and has 52 subscribers (17).  This is pretty middle of the road for an established UK outdoors blog, with many bloggers achieving a much larger readership (as a result of their notoriety or charisma or subject matter [gear?] etc), with Lighthiker seemingly leading the way with an astonishing 593 (200) subscribers.

Finally, today the page loads for the blog have hit the 50,000 mark (year 1: 18,000; year 2: 32,000), with some 30,000 unique visitors and 10,000 returning visitors (both roughly having doubled in the second year).  This is all pretty irrelevant, but it is nice to know that some folk appreciate the entries, whether they be regular visitors or have found the blog through a search engine, in which case I hope it has been a useful resource.

Hello to all of you, thank you for visiting, and your comments are as always most welcome.

Now where’s that rucksack?

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

A Wriggler

Could this little 'wriggler', trying with valiant contortions to remove its 8 inch frame from my hand, possibly turn into one of these?

So is it a baby Slow worm? If not, what could it be? We saw a few of them on our Alpine trip, writhing in the undergrowth of forest paths at around 1500 metres.
Help George!
Help Darren!
I'm off to the pub now, so you have all evening for this challenge!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

The Mullein Moth (larva) - Cucullia verbasci

Here's another image from the Alps - the Susa Valley area. I think the flower is Orange Mullein, but the caterpillar was a complete mystery.

The original text of this blog - headed 'A Mystery Caterpillar' suggested that "Perhaps that guru of all things lepidopteran, Weird Darren, will come to my aid. What is it, Darren?"

Within the hour, Darren had indeed correctly identified the little blighter, brightly coloured so as to remind anything that may consider eating it that it tastes most unpleasant. But not before George - London Backpacker - had provided the excellent and informative link to the UK moths website.

So, well done and thank you, George and Darren, and I will have another mystery item for you tomorrow.