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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wings, wheels and Long Legs

Leaving my birds in the capable wings of Junior, I left for Rehabcare again for a chat and lunch.
Rehabcare is a kind of day-centre for people with physical, sensory disabilities, and it also has a wing for people with intelectual disabilities. {a big word for some lovely people though! }However it is not your ordinary day centre where users hang about, waiting for tea, coffee or lunch. Here, people come who still have an active mind, Work on exercise machines, do crosswords, take part in cooking, gardening, PC, writing or painting classes, etc.
The main reason I go is to talk to people with the use of one hand, after stroke, for my One Handed Booklet.

The garden of the centre is where wheelies and other users get into gardening and therefore has raised flower and veggie beds and the main vegetable garden is divided into small plots. The garden is mostly tended to by the users of the section for those with mental disabilities, where each can grow his or her favourite vegetable. It is not often that Lumix and I venture into the main veggie bit.
At first I went Bee and Butterfly hunting among the beds near the building, a Large White soon got my attention, as it was flying above the large Nasturtiums in one of the raised beds. It let me come very close while it was still flying about and once it had landed. Then it took off around the corner and as I followed it I drifted a wee bit off course and sank into the mud. Getting onto the path again was one of those typical no-hopers on your own, but luckily I got help from two of the girls, working here.

Needless to say, I had to stay on the path! Hence my visit to the vegetable garden. {I have bit of trouble staying indoors} The Butterflies here were all at the other side of the fruit trees, too far off. The Artichokes did catch my eye as did a handsome and very ordinary Spider. You know how architectural plants and Grasses are in vogue these days {while I always liked them, without the need of plants men/women telling me of their uses, like Artichokes and Grasses.} Well, this Spider struck me because of its structure and its shadow, faint as it maybe. I’d really love to have a Macro lens, one day.

Then you get back home and notice that the Jackdaws had done another disappearing act with my peanut cake tub again.

DunnockJunior in the rain, yesterdayHouse Spider above my tableArtichokesLarge White ButterflyHouse Spider in the SunWild Fuchsia

Monday, July 28, 2008

Macro and Micro; two more visiting Moths

As I got into the kitchen this morning, I immediately noticed a dark Moth on the window. After having flown in to find the light source behind the open window, it was now unable to find the opening again and with the window opening to the inside, it had trapped itself.
Every time I am surprised again at how easily they walk into my tubs when I hold them in front of them. It was a Macro Moth and its colouring was beautiful sienna. a few quick pictures for ID later, Moth and I got around the table to the door to freedom.
From behind me, another little Moth appeared suddenly; perhaps realising I was going to open the door? However it now sat on the inside of the door, so had to find another tub for mis{s}{ter} Micro Moth. Camera was still on the table {instead of its home in the window} and Micro was less willing to get into a tub or on my finger, as it crawled as far into the corner of the inside of the door, as possible. With the Sparrows yelling for more peanut cake, I needed to get Miss Micro and Mister Macro outside as quick as they would allow me to.
Eventually, Micro let herself persuade to walk into my second tub, and both tubs were placed in safe spots outside, from where they could easily find a safe place among the Nettles, Pine trees or wherever they chose to spend the day.

With these two creatures taken care of, it was the turn of the birds. Junior Jackdaw too sat waiting in the wings for me to serve him his breakfast, and so were all the others.
At around lunchtime, as I was getting ready to go to the shop, an Amazon package arrived and I left the unpacking of my books for later.

And now I sit here with my new “Concise Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland.” Trying to find ID’s for my Moths. And miss Micro has found one for herself already: I think s/he could well be a Small Dark-barred Twinspot Moth. Similar to one I had before, sitting on the outside of the window of the same door. . Just two and a half weeks ago.
Having had two different Micro Carpet Moths earlier this year. One Dark barred Twinspot on the 30th of May, and a Pine Grey Carpet Moth on the 10th of July.
Therefore, I immediately opened my new Moth Guide to The Carpets. And I think that one of the unidentified micro Moths I found on the 18th of July might be a Small Carpet too, it was a combination of White Ermine and a Lighter barred version of the Dark- bar Twinspot. Without a camera it would have been a lot harder, I’d have relied solely on pen{cil} and paper. I still use these, by making a quick sketch of the pattern, when searching either on the web or now in my book.

So hopefully, dear readers, you will see proper names above the photos of my two visitors on 16 July under my post Micro Moths {2} And perhaps in a few days you will also see a name above the picture of my Macro of today. Who knows? I certainly don’t!

Macro, I’m not so sure about; it had some prominent marking on the outside, but perhaps it is just another Arches, not the Dark one, I think.
Have another two Micros to ID, too. And with the arrival of Silent Fields and Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland, also, I’m going to be busy enough. Plus a Collins Wild Guide; one on British Wildlife, from Frogs, Slow worms, Birds, Mammals and Plants.
Now all we need is a delivery of Time! Think Amazon does sell this in proper quantities?

In the garden, I noticed that both my Blue Tits and my Coal Tits are returning, after very sporadic visits since spring.
I used to cram peanut cake inbetween the slats of the planter at a certain moment, ensuring that my Tits would always be able to get to food whenever the Corvids were taking not only much food with them, but also overpowering the planter and thus the foodsupply. They quickly got the hang of it before the Sparrows too were trying to hang onto the wood.
My Coal Tit today, hung onto the slats searching for something there, maybe? It was raining too hard at the moment, but I will put some more of it in there.
Yesterday a Large White Butterfly caught my attention from the kitchen, and although it was fast in feeding and leaving, I did manage these two pictures. Today it was all Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies, even in the Fennel. I'm still waiting for the first Peacock and Red Admiral to appear here, the Nettle and Bramble should be able to attract these?

A new Robin fledgling called in too; as well as the two juveniles, one almost as orange as its parents, the other getting lagging behind very closely. Okay, we got still a lot of latest fledgies, Sparrows, a Chaffing and now Robin. I also believe that we are dealing with a few new Jackdaw juvies.

Macro Moth, UnidentifiedSmall Dark-barred Twinspot Carpet MothA Large White Butterfly, feeding on the BramblesThe first Blackberries in my garden, and left for the birdsCoal Tit searching for peanutcakeHouse SparrowsA Smoking House Sparrow?ChaffinchGreat Tit

Friday, July 25, 2008

Brown Macro Moth Again

Sorry, if I become boring and please let me know if so.
An hour ago, at 9pm, I was startled to suddenly see the Brown Unidentified Moth land on my laptop! {Yes, Pete, I did order the Moth book plus a Wild Flower one and something else too; } It then moved onto my fruit bowl on my table, and by the time I was there {fruit bowl is next to the door to the garden} is had moved...? I have no idea where it is now; did it manage to get out, once I opened the door? I hope so.

Actually, I don't think this Brown Moth was the same one from Sunday night; I've got the feeling that their colouring is too different. This one is brown, Sunday's one was marbled brown and silver-grey. I do hope I can find time to join the yahoo Moth group, tomorrow.

It is strange that with such a little creature you can build up such a bond, even if its only on my side and not on the Moth's side. Once you've got Moth returning, or the same species appear in your kitchen, like the Small Magpie Moth of which I've had 5 induviduals either outside on my windows{twice}, or indoors in the kitchen.{three times}, youstart to feel this special feeling inside you which made you wonder what it is which has them come to you?

I've never even considered a Moth trap; and why would I? With such a wild garden, I get them anyway!
Also, today, I had this Bee come into the kitchen, which quite seemed to enjoy the Basil's leaves. even though it offers no food whatsoever to Bees.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Macro Moth {Update}

Oops! Sorry, forgot to publish the text! Silly me. So here goes:
The Brownish Moth in the bathroom on Sunday night had eluded me since then, and left me wondering sometimes if it had found its way out again? This morning however, as Francis opened the curtains in the living room, I could see something flutter behind the nets.
After Francis had left for town, I went over with a container. Actually I had the idea that it could be a Cinnabar also; I thought I’d seen something reddish, but it was hard to see from 5 metres distance.

A closer look revealed a beautiful brown Moth, which I think was the one I had seen on Sunday. {As I write this, at 9pm, with the lights on, I can suddenly see a tiny Micro Moth fluttering above my table, and then as you look up, has disappeared. Do any of you, readers; have such an abundance of Moths inside? Or is it the Brambles and Nettles in my garden? Or is it just me? It has disappeared now of course; will most likely find it somewhere tomorrow, when my trusty container will take it outside again. }
The Moth had hidden itself behind the curtain in the dead corner against the wall and bottom of the window, nice and dim. It walked easily into its container, one about 12cm tall; as I’ve “lost” a Moth before from a smaller one. It was soon obvious though that this one was not inclined into escaping whatsoever. Even outside, when it felt the breeze on its body and wings, it only crawled further into the tub.
Even when it did decide to come out, it kept hanging onto the tub. To make sure it was alright, I had a closer look, before it ‘fell off’ the tub. Not knowing where it had gone, I searched all over my feet, and the hem of my leggings. The last thing I wanted was bring it back indoors. Nor did I want to leave it stranded on the path, but not knowing where it was, I had to move my wheels somehow, without flattening it. Of course, I hear you say, that it had flown off safely, but how could I be sure?
As I moved back my wheels, little by little, I heard this eerie high-pitched sound, a creature’s call, moving the wooden blocks from where it came, did not result in any sight of the caller.
Eventually I went inside, believing that Moth and caller were OK. All I had left now was a set of pictures, and I was anxious to see them. Would these help me in finding an ID? I hope so.
The photos are showing me that this Moth is coming straight out of Hogworts; the wizards there would be jealous of this beautiful cloak with its own magical powers no doubt. Perhaps Flying is one of them?
{Francis has already set Micro Moth outside. Light Brownish with dots, mix between Ermine and the one on the kitchen door, last Wednesday. Only little darker.

It seemed to feel quite safe at the bottom, showing its Wizard's Cloak,With all its might did it hang onto my tub

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Finally, a Macro Moth!

Sunday night I found a gorgeous and large moth in the bathroom, and it actually looked more like a Fritillary Butterfly, which I had looked at in trying to ID the micro Moth which I found on the floor in the kitchen on Wednesday, after having found another one on Wednesday morning. [One starts almost thinking that the full moon on Friday might have anything to do with the abundance of flipflaps as my mother and grandmothers used to call any Moth in the house. I would have to try and catch all Moths which were to be found in the bedroom of my mother, or my grandmother, depending on where I was at that moment. Mostly I would capture a White Ermine, which is why its whirling noise sounded so familiar when I had one at the window behind me. For my sister I’d have to catch Spiders on her bike and later her Vespa in the shed, an ideal environment for these creatures. In our previous house, with those foam tiles on the ceiling, I’d be able to hear spiders walking on the ceiling. Eyes closed, I would point out the spider’s whereabouts above our bed and I was always spot on.

Back to my Mystery Moth in the bathroom: the find of this brown beauty made me rush to get my camera, and I was glad that it was still enjoying our hospitality, yet as soon as the flash went of, it was decided that this particular light source was a little too much and so it opted for the hall and I presume that from there it went into the workroom.
I’m pleased with how the photo worked out; its right legs had just left the surface of the door and with only its right forewing stretched out, as well as both fore and rear wings on the left, it has shed a little more light onto how Moths and Butterflies take off.

With both left wings visible, it gives a decent link into finding its ID. At least with this one I can try and start searching under Brown Moths on the UKMoths website.
The other two Unidentified Moths, I had in the kitchen on Wednesday, were both much harder to search for. And I still have to join up with the Yahoo Moth group, to see if they could possibly help me out.

Mystery Macro Moth,Turned out to be A Dark Arches Moth

Friday, July 18, 2008

Micro Moths {2}

As usual, I had the kitchen door open in the early morning, while working and thus listening to my birds and to the call of the Collared Dove which has been tantalising me now for more than two years by calling out loud and yet not showing itself. Only once it did appear here in the flesh when it landed onto the streetlight at the front wall. I was sitting next to the planter, scooping peanut cake into the tub there. It looked down at me, and unlike the Robins and my Great Tits, it did fly off as soon as I raised the camera. {the others don’t mind if I remove the lens cap, raise camera and press the shutter while I talk to them. I’ve noticed that as soon as I stop talking they become wary of me! I often talk to my birds through the window too, so they probably feel safe while hearing my voice, as nothing bad happened before during this? They like food served on my hand too, but I don’t often keep my hand out, as I am afraid that they might get too comfortable with humans. Especially with those which still have to go and leave for a new territory where they will start their real lives.
When I had closed the door later in the morning, I’d noticed that a tiny Moth had been trapped inside behind the door, and was now frantically trying to fly through the window of the door. It had two dark spots on either side above a light wavy bar, and it reminded me of the Dark-barred Twinspot Moth I’ve encountered earlier. Looking for a Light barred Twinspot had no success however.
After opening the door slightly, it hopped onto my finger, and did not mind me moving the other fingers which were trying to open the door further. {You try pushing a door handle and pulling a heavy door with a tiny Moth on your index finger; not easy!} It soon left the warmth of my skin and flew off into the fresh air. With the pictures uploaded to Photobucket, I was getting ready for my bit of lunch and chat with the folks at rehabcare in Bantry.
Back home, and whilst sweeping the kitchen, a little movement underneath the hob caught my eye as I was organizing the recyclables and cleaning there. Whatever it was, it did not move away; but on the marbled lino I had trouble to see what it was.
And yep! Another tiny Moth. Unable to fly, only fluttering up before landing again immediately afterwards, it hopped into a little tub easily, thus allowing me and my camera a better look at it, before I brought it outside. Placing the tub in a plant pot, it caught the fresh breeze in its wings and after a few hesitant flutters it did fly off to a Happy Ever After Land. I’ve kept an eye out during the evening, checking if its wings had given up, but I think the reason it was unable to fly properly indoors, was most likely the result of having been trapped indoors for too long.

The first Moth of the Day had been very small, 1 ½ -2cm across, but Moth 2 was a lot smaller than even that, which why I had not seen missed spotting it until it had started to move. It was a real mini-micro Moth!

Micro Moth 1, on kitchen doorMicro Moth 2, camouflaged on the floorBee on BramblesCommon Fly on Bindweed

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Purple and White mysteries {Swallows, shingle, Swans part 2}

Monday I took 386 pictures of mainly the Wildflowers which had sprung up since last time, and I’m still sifting them. I’m surprised how many I’m able to ID with my little Irish Wildflower book. Still there’s always one or two which just keep baffling you. One of these is a strange stalk, growing next to a fading stem of Foxglove, its lower lips pouting in the Sun and trying to soak in new life. Around the two stems, Nettle was growing rife and the Thistles also were showing how well they could do too, just with a little Sun, a lot of rain and wind, I wonder how Thistle would have looked in the past? Has time shown progress in how these plants and have figured out how to best grow, set & spread seed and germinate
However it is not the Thistles themselves I was attracted to; I’ve had these in my front garden a few years ago {and this made for delightful birdwatching from my PC as I sat working too!}
It is the strange fleshy ‘thing’ which grows tall beside the Foxglove which makes me go philosophical, like the Wild Angelica flower-bud I came upon in Mizen Head. This one too is looking fleshy.
As if to protect itself, it has nestled in between not only Thistles to ward off any harm from outside, but also within a sea of Stingy Nettles. The Foxglove is about as high as I am in my wheels, and my wheels are higher than your average ones. The green plant will come up to my elbow, I’d think, and I’m sorry if that is of no help to you, the reader.

Moving away from this strange plant, I am enthralled again by the little pink flower which seems to be popping up all over the place. Not in big numbers, mind; every few metres or so, I see the little pink heads, looking up at me. Another one, which is ogling me is a small white one, she just reaches out to the light, from under the dense leaves which form the hedge between fields and road, and more than her little white face I cannot see. My mind is going through the families in my little book; Buttercup, Geranium, Pea, Dandelion, and all the others, whose members I’m starting to learn. {Catherine C. would be proud of me!} I thought it looked familiar, but it is the split petals which bother me and which should make identification easier, but it does not feel that way in my mind.
Then I remember that some in the Geranium family do have 10 petals instead of five, where they have that same split personality. At least now I’ve got something to work with. Also unusual is that it has a green centre, instead of yellow which is much more common in my mind. Yet I wonder, will these five petals still split further and will it end up in having 10 petals perhaps, instead of five? Is it that I should be looking for such a face instead of the five petal one? And I might have seen two other beautiful specimen, one of which is most likely Strife, it is this little one which would go so often unnoticed as it did not need large flowers, flashy colours or tall spikes, and grew in a shady spot too. It was definitely my highlight of the day. And nearby was this lovely little plant with 5 purple flowers, which looked like those with a lip perhaps? Even if I had put my plastic magnifyer to it, I would not have seen much more, it was barely 10-15cm tall, and there was no way I would be able to get close enough. I was leaning far to the right, in order to get a decent picture. It had long unlobed leaves, despite being surrounded by Maple-like leaves. Once I started looking, I could see they had sprouted around the area. ~it was growing close to the star of the day, my green-hearted white flower and also the Wild Strawberries. Okay, I was able to name about half of my Wild Flower species I've seen on the day; However, I'm still left with 8 or 9 species which remain a mystery to me. Perhaps you can put me in the right direction?

Thistle {Cirsium palustre} with seedfluff
Selfheal {Prunella vulgaris}Purple Loosestrife {Lythrum salicaria}Tufted Vetch {Vicia cracca}Common Mouse-ear{Cerastium fontanum ssp. vulgare}Acanthus, {Bears-breeches}Thistle seed caught on Meadowsweet {Filipendula ulmaria}Wild Strawberry {Fragaria vesca} and Scabious like flowerGreater Bird'sfoot Trefoil{Lotus pendunculatus}Foxglove stem{Digitalis purpurea}A probable Myrtle{Myrtaceae family}A view over Dunmanus Bay at the shingle strand

With thanks to Jenny Seawright for help with the ID of many of my mystery flowers.