Sunday, 25 July 2010


thistle down

Thistledown is the soft silky material attached to thistle seeds to enable them to float on the breeze. We used to call them thistle fairies and try to catch one to make a wish :-)

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Caterpillar Hunt

cinnabar caterpillars on ragwort, Senecio jacobaea

This morning I went on a caterpillar hunt, looking specifically for caterpillars of the Cinnabar Moth. I found plenty of ragwort where the moth lays her eggs, but had to search for a while before I discovered a few caterpillars :-)

cinnabar caterpillars on ragwort, Tyria jacobaeae

Monday, 19 July 2010

The Ruins of Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey

Right over the town is the ruin of Whitby Abbey, which was sacked by the Danes, and which is the scene of part of "Marmion," where the girl was built up in the wall. It is a most noble ruin, of immense size, and full of beautiful and romantic bits. There is a legend that a white lady is seen in one of the windows.
Dracula - Bram Stoker

Whitby Abbey, Yorkshire

As the cloud passed I could see the ruins of the abbey coming into view, and as the edge of a narrow band of light as sharp as a sword-cut moved along, the church and churchyard became gradually visible. Whatever my expectation was, it was not disappointed, for there, on our favourite seat, the silver light of the moon struck a half-reclining figure, snowy white.
Dracula - Bram Stoker

Inspired by a visit to Whitby, I read Bram Stoker's Dracula closely followed by The Lair of the White Worm. It's easy to see how Stoker found inspiration in the crumbling ruins and the old town legends. :-)

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Comma Butterfly

comma butterfly, Polygonia c-album

The ragged edge of this butterfly's wing caught my eye. It's a Comma, a species that almost became extinct in the U.K. Thankfully the population has recovered and they're common in the south-east. :-)

The Comma butterfly often lays eggs on currant leaves so I'll be watching for caterpillars on the blackcurrants!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Early Morning by the Grand Union Canal

barge on the Grand Union Canal

Recently we camped near Stoke Hammond alongside the Grand Union Canal. The canal cuts through central England, running from Birmingham to London.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

The Cinnabar Moth

Tyria jacobaeae, the cinnabar moth

the cinnabar moth, Tyria jacobaeae

I first noticed a day-flying cinnabar moth a few weeks ago but as usual I was too slow to take a photo! Luckily I spotted another in the garden at the weekend. The caterpillars feed on ragwort and after a quick search I discovered a couple of plants at the end of the garden :-)

Thursday, 1 July 2010


female duck

I can always rely on ducks. They're one of the few birds that don't fly off the moment I get my camera out! Swans, geese, seagulls and pigeons also seem to love having their photo taken :-)
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