Sunday, 2 August 2009

Not a bad day out

The first day of National Marine Week looked promising with no rain. Unfortunately I didn't put the moth trap out last night for fear of it filling with rain rather than moths but alas it was fine, if windy, all night. In a strop I went in to the garden and tried to get some Bumble Bee shots. Out of about 200 photos these few are the best. This one is a Common Carder Bee.
So called as they make their nests out of moss which has been 'carded' or teased (as in Teasel, the spikey plant) in to neat piles.
The next sequence is of one of the two similar species of White Tailed Bumble Bee. Not sure which.

Even with my head down in the Oregano I noticed a shadow of a butterfly pass by. It was a nice fresh Small Tortoiseshell. They do seem to be having a slightly better year this summer than they have had in the last few years.I also saw a beautiful Wild Pansy. The house is over fifty years old and was built on farm land at a time just before the widespread use of pesticides and herbicides. Our measly efforts at gardening might well have brought the seed of this little gem to the surface. I partcularly like the purple fringe on the lower petal.Similarly this Agrimony also appeared spontaneously.
The first event of National Marine Week was a beach strand-line survey. The sky was blue and not too much wind. Recently Seattle over in the USA hit its record temperature, a somewhat surprisingly low I thought, 39C. With all these planes heading stateside it might not be too long before 49C is reached over there.
After the recent wild weather there was a selection of tidelines. Our survey revealed that most of the flotsam and jetsam was seaweed and other natural stuff, although there was the usual large dollop of plastic in various forms. Best find was Mermaids Purse - the black thing top centre. This is the egg case of a shark or ray which have bred in the adjacent estuary. Lots of other good stuff including some contenders for our 'Longest Pod Razorshell' competition.

One of the more striking plants along the beach road is Evening Primrose.A very interesting plant with a very interesting history. It is thought that it was introduced in to Liverpool docks with Cotton bales in the 18th Century and has been spreading in to dune systems throught Britain ever since. Fortunately they don't seem to be having a harmful effect on the native ecosystem. They get their name from the fact they release their very strong scent in the evening to attract moths and other night flying insects .
A last sighting was of of a Painted Lady that has very recently hatched, one of the expected 'billions' from the mass invasion in late May.

Where to next? More marine stuff perhaps or perhaps some freshwater stuff - who knows?
In the meantime let us know what is spread along the strand-line in your outback.


Robert Williamson said...

Hi there, You've got a lovely blog!!

Great picture of the Wild Pansy and the bee's.

All the best,


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Thanks Rob - yours ain't too bad either mate. I aim to inform and entertain with the wonders of wildlife around us, mostly entertain cos it is great fun learning.



Monika said...

I love that wild pansy shot - its gorgeous!

Nice find with the Mermaid's Purse, too.