Learning ~ One Little Bug At A Time

IMG_7212

Leaning over the garden fence the other morning, I caught sight of a tiny moth flitting about in the guerrilla garden. It stayed while I went indoors to fetch the camera, and obliged me with a few shots.  Then I went back inside and googled ‘very small diurnal moth UK’ and ‘images’ and up it popped. A Mint Moth, says the font of some wisdom that is my PC –  Pyrausta aurata. The butterfly conservation link also told me that it flew actively in sunshine (which is was doing) and particularly liked spearmint (which is where I found it and where you see it here). I confess a frisson of success: ID done and dusted.

It’s a dainty little thing  – 70mm across/ three quarters of an inch. Here are a couple of closer views:

IMG_7215

IMG_7221

Softly Captured ~ The Uncommon Beauty Of A Common Blue

IMG_3805

When you suddenly spot one, it’s as if the summer sky has dropped a small fluttering piece of itself.  It takes a second or two to register what you have seen, and by then it has gone. For Polyommatus icarus, the Common Blue butterfly is not only small – around one inch across – it is also skittish.  I did not attempt a closer shot for fear of spooking it. And then I thought that I didn’t really want a close-up; they have their limitations. Better, I thought, to share the Common Blue much as a I saw it (soft focus and all) on the flowers of creeping thistle beside field path.

Lens-Artists photo challenge: soft

You can find out more about the lovely quartet of bloggers who host this photo challenge HERE. Like me, you’re probably already following one or more of them.

Meet The Gatekeeper

IMG_6951

Pyronia tithonus also known as the Hedge Brown or the Gatekeeper. The latter name apparently derives from this butterfly’s habit of feeding on clumps of flowers in gateways or along field margins. It is a midsummer butterfly and common across England from Yorkshire southwards. I spotted this one yesterday morning having a very good feed on one of my doronicum flowers, but refusing to open it wings. Then it moved to the nearby apple tree, and I caught a momentary display. When not visiting gardens it prefers the nectar of Wild Marjoram, Common Fleabane, ragworts, and Bramble. Interestingly, the Common Fleabane flower does look very similar to the doronicum.

IMG_7000

IMG_7001

To And From The Allotment: Finding A Beautiful Blue

100_5558

Readers who have been visiting my Edge for a while will know that at Christmas I mourned the loss of my Kodak EasyShare point-and-shoot. It died on a beach in Anglesey, and its last image was of me peering into the lens, though I’m not sure what good I thought that would do. Anyway Santa Graham had bought me a Lumix replacement, so I wasn’t without a camera for long, and I was quickly enamoured of its dynamic monochrome facility.

But then some people are never satisfied. And the thing was, not to be ungrateful, I still missed my Kodak. And since the Kodak company is no more, this led to a little trawl on Ebay, and the purchase of a rehabilitated, slightly upgraded version of my original digital (more zoom), and all for the princely sum of £17.50. It is thus the camera I mostly take to the allotment, because you never do know when you might want to snap the portrait of an especially fine cauliflower, or record progress of the lettuce in the polytunnel. (I am not joking. Just you wait).

But first things first. The butterfly. This was spotted yesterday in the corner of field between our house and the allotment. I was carrying a big blue IKEA shopping bag of kitchen waste for the compost heap and a bunch of 6 foot bean poles, and it was very windy. Nonetheless, despite all these handicaps, trusty Kodak captured this gorgeous, if tiny, Common Blue butterfly. In real life it is probably less than half the size of the first photo image. You can see it more in context of this next shot. It is about 1”/2.5 cm across:

100_5553

See how wonderfully it posed, and with great gusts of wind too. Here’s a shot with  breezy blast thrown in:

100_5567

I thus dedicate this post to blogging chum, Ark, at A Tale Unfolds. In his Leading you up the garden path posts, he has been treating us (among other things) to dramatic entomological scenes of ambush and slaughter inside a yellow gazania; and all from his garden in Johannesburg. At different times he has also captured some splendid shots of butterflies, birds, more spiders and several praying mantis. He apparently does this while roaming his domain with a mug of coffee in one hand. For some reason this makes me think of the Mad Hatter, though I don’t think he wears a hat, and certainly not a topper. Or do you, Ark?

And now to conclude this inaugural series of to-and-from-the-allotment, here are some more dandelion clocks (broken and intact) because I’ve decided to consider them wonderful instead of a curse on my plot:

100_5540

and followed by the cauliflower, which is what I really wanted to show you all along, and is also a thing of beauty, produced on my plot without pesticides, but overwintered under enviromesh. And just to boast, it was at least twice the size of the photo, and tasted delicious with kamut pasta in a goat’s cheese, parsley and onion sauce. And no, I do not do takeaways. Sorry. Though I do share excess, uncooked veggies, but you  need to come to Much Wenlock to get them.

100_5524

copyright 2015 Tish Farrell