Saturday 28 July 2012

Hot, Hot, Hot!

I don't recall a summer with so many extremes of weather. After weeks of cold and wet weather, it was all change this week. Hot and humid with temperatures over 30C (86F) - once again not the usual UK summer weather.

The warmer weather has brought out the butterflies and moths, but still not as many as usual.

  Purple Emperor Butterfly

I managed to snap this Purple Emperor butterfly yesterday. It was a bit difficult to get a decent photo being quite high in a tree but I think it is interesting because you can see the purple sheen on its wing which give it its name. Only the male has this colouring.

A piece of good news about the roe deer twins - I have now seen them with their mother a couple of times. My fears that something had happened to her were happily unfounded.

Just before this hot spell, the hares were spending a lot of time in the garden. I took a series of photos one day when a couple of them were right outside our conservatory. It had been raining so their coat was a bit damp, but I rather like some of the poses.

Brown Hare

  Brown Hare

  Brown Hare

  Brown Hare

Finally, it seems to be the grasshopper season. There have been dozens them in and around the house. I keep picking them up on a piece of paper and depositing them outside, but they seem to leap straight back in again! There were 5 of them on our French windows one day last week.

The weather has now cooled down a bit to more "normal" summer temperatures. I hope the rain holds off at least for the duration of the Olympic Games.

Saturday 14 July 2012

Wet, Wet, Wet!

Roe Deer Fawns Not much to report at the moment apart from the lousy weather. I don't actually recall the last time we had a full day without any rain :(

June was officially the wettest since records began and July is not looking much better.

We have been lucky not to be affected by flooding that other people in the UK have experienced. We live at the top of a hill so we feel relatively safe in that respect.

The weather has played havoc with most of the usual outdoor summer activities - village fetes and the like. But, it is a really tough year for wildlife, too. I have hardly seen any butterflies, moths, damselflies or dragonflies this year. The garden is normally teaming with insect life at this time of year.

The twin roe deer are still around but no sign of their mother. I am wondering if something has happened to her? There are also two Muntjacs hanging round under the apple trees most days eating windfalls.

A very strange event happened last week - and I missed it! A friend saw a mole above ground right outside my kitchen door! There is no doubt that it was a mole but it was on the patio and then started burrowing into the ground under one of my climbing roses growing up the pergola. Sadly no photo. I looked up this strange behaviour and my book says that moles are sometimes seen above ground in wet weather. So, it is not only us humans that are feeling disgruntled with this miserable weather! The strange thing is that there are no molehills around this year, so I have no idea what this little chap was doing or where it is.

When the weather allows I have been out watching the badgers at the sett. Their behaviour is also very strange compared to last year. I watched them for much of last summer and they would emerge from the sett at around 8.30pm and have a good scratch. This grooming would go on for 15 - 20 minutes. They would scratch themselves and then each other.

This year there is less grooming and when they emerge from the sett they start mock fighting. They have a good rough and tumble with each other, sometimes just two, sometimes three or four of them. I am sure they are not hurting each other but there is lots of squeaking and squawking. Very entertaining.

The weather has not been good enough to do much flower photography. Everything is being battered by the rain. St Swithin's day tomorrow and the weather forecast is good. I am hoping that the tradition holds true and the next 40 days and 40 nights will follow suit.

Fingers crossed!

Roe Deer Fawns