Wednesday, 15 July 2009

This and that . . .

We appear to be having a steadier run of broadband (2 days of it now) so I will risk trying to post regularly again.

We had a little visitor the other night - well, not so little actually, as he was quite a good size with a hearty appetite:

Honey, just approaching, didn't know quite what to make of him! Now I know why there is always a clean bowl in the morning - and I thought it was a combination of stray cat/jackdaws/foxes . . .

I was delighted to find two Comma butterflies in the garden yesterday, squeaky-clean and probably newly-hatched, and luckily staying around long enough for me to find my camera. Butterflies this summer have been a fairly rare occurrence. There weren't many last summer, which was hardly surprising because of it being so wet and cold, and so I suppose very few butterflies actually got to breed. I have seen no Tortoiseshells at all, only 2 or 3 Peacocks, but regularly see one or two Meadow Browns, Speckled Woods and something which is probably a Grayling.

The scalloped wing edges of the Comma readily identify it. We never see them in large numbers in any summer, but this year even two are a bonus.

Finally, a beautifully-made bird's nest which had been blown out f probably the big oak tree dwn our hill. There was a flat bottom to the nest and a little scoop where it would have tucked against the trunk, but I'm not sure what bird made it. Perhaps a chaffinch? Suggestions?


  1. If that creature is what I think [porcupine?] Honey had better have a care! In Vermont we once had a skunk who visited an outside cat dish for several weeks, a bit nerve-wracking to see it rattling around on the front porch.
    I bring in abandoned birds' nests--they are such a marvel of crafting--and the know how imbedded in each little birdy brain.

  2. Here they are MUCH smaller, called hedgehogs, and roll into a ball when touched or they feel threatened, and no firing quills at you! More like fleas instead : )

    For years I had a birds' nest, very similar to this one, which was line with hairs from Merlin's tail. Merlin was a little palomino Section A we had for several years. This one is lined with cow hair I think as no grey horses in immediate vicinity.

  3. I see we must have a discussion of hedgehogs and bird nests--I've seen some other nickname for the creatures in British books and it is gnawing at my memory--will have to sift through the mental debris until I find it.

  4. Somewhere during my driving today the folk name for the hedgehog tumbled out of my scrapy memory--"urchin." {?}

  5. "Urchin" - very much so. Guess they look a bit like the sea variety, with lots of pointy bits! The gypsies apparently used to bake them in clay and they made good eating. Pass . . .

  6. I'm here catching up on my reading:) Lucky you having a visiting hedgehog, I used to have a lot in the garden here but they don't seem to appear very often now or maybe I'm not out at the right times. Comma butterflies are lovely aren't they? There were a lot of butterflies around earlier this summer but with all the rain we've had they seem to have disappeared. It must be very hard for them with so little sun and so much rain.

  7. I've heard of early New Englanders baking woodchucks--I guess it comes down to how hungry one is! Erk!