"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Country Walk, Autumn Colour in the Garden and a few Moths

D and I visited an area in North Warwickshire last Sunday afternoon where we used to walk regularly when the children were little. I haven't been to the area since I was conducting BTO Atlas surveys a few years ago. On one rather unforgettable occasion E and I got totally lost on public footpaths - each and everyone had a habit of petering out and mysteriously disappearing. D and I stuck to the lanes this time and did a circular walk.

The habitat is mainly arable farmland

with a few areas of woodland

and a small hamlet. I love this cottage - in fact, I've wanted to buy it for more years that I care to remember!

There are still a few flowers on the grass verges - clover and these umbellifers.

Lots of holly berries in the hedgerows awaiting the arrival of winter thrushes. We didn't see any on the walk but a small flock of Redwing flew over the garden yesterday so they have returned locally.

I love the way Black Bryony berries thread their way through hedgerow bushes.

Still a few blackberries about although way past their picking date.

It was lovely to see some autumn colour in the trees.

We didn't see a great many bird species - just roving tit flocks, blackbirds, a sparrowhawk and pheasants and red-legged partridges far out-numbered the flocks of wood pigeons. We tried to use the car as a hide to get a photo of the pheasant - no way as soon as he saw us he was off running up the lane.

We didn't have much luck with getting a photo of red-legged partridges either!

Back at home the garden is looking very autumnal - seedheads and leaves changing colour on the climbing hydgrangea.

Smoke Tree

and Acer.

I had several chrysanthemums in pots (the type that are often for sale in supermarkets late summer) but after the first few years they stopped flowering. B planted all three in garden borders this Spring and they are now flowering profusely again providing a welcome splash of colour at this time of year.

I've had the moth trap out several nights recently (hoping without success for a Merveille du Jour) and there is still a steady trickle of moths each night including several new species for the year such as Red-line and Yellow-line Quaker, Chestnut and Green-brindled Crescent.

Yellow-line Quaker (Agrochola macilenta)

Feathered Thorn (Colotois pennaria). Its been a good year here for this species - I have never trapped so many.

Red-line Quaker (Agrochola Iota) and Yellow-line Quaker

Green Brindled Crescent (Allophyes oxyacanthae)

Feathered Thorn again - beautiful antennae on this male. The highly sensitive antennae enable males to detect the sex pheromones that females release to attract males.

Emmelina monodactyla

We have loads of Harlequin Ladybirds flying around in the garden at the moment and already a dozen have found their way indoors to hibernate in a corner of the bathroom ceiling. Harlequin Ladybirds have many different colours and patterns. I spotted this one yesterday on Cosmos in the front garden and the colours and markings just reminded me of Halloween.


Countryside Tales said...

Lovely to see the countryside around you. Redwings have arrived here too although I've yet to see any on the ground. There is a playing field in the local school they like so I must pop up and have a look. Nice to see the moths- I am keeping my fingers crossed for you and the MDJs :o) I've just posted about Ivy Mining Bees and wondered if you had any? Hope all's well :o)

Chris Rohrer said...

You are so lucky!!! Love them pheasants...I don't even know why. You had the best walk ever! I love when they prune the bushes into archways or gateways into a garden. Hope you are having a wonderful Thursday and thank you as always for sharing your treks into these wonderful gardens and places. Hugs. Me

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Thanks CT :) Still hoping re: MdJ! Every time I drive past a group of oaks about 1/8th of a mile away I shout at them - "Send your MdJ's my way"!!! :)

I'll check out your post now. Have been looking for Ivy Mining Bees every time I see ivy flowers but no luck so far. Great piece on them on last night's Autumn Watch. Know they have reached Warks and read somewhere as far N as Staffs. Yes, all fine here thanks - hope it is with you too :)

Chris Rohrer - Thanks so much Chris. Yes, I remember how much you love pheasants - I think of you every time I see one :) One day I will get you a decent photo :)
Having great day thanks - my carved wooden tree spirits have arrived in the post :) I'll post a photo at Christmas as one is for my son as a surprise pressie :) Have a lovely day yourself and hugs returned :)

Margaret Adamson said...

It was lovely to take us along with you on into this beautiful countryside with great fall colours, hedges and lovely gateway.

Ragged Robin said...

Margaret Adamson - Thank you Margaret. I am so glad you enjoyed the post :)

SeagullSuzie said...

We drive past a field on the way to Paignton which is just full of pheasants and I'm always careful when driving in case one comes out as it's a busy road. A lovely walk with you through the countryside.

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie - Thank you :) Sadly, I've seen groups of men with guns in the area before now so I suspect they are bred for shooting :(

Linda said...

Lovely series of photos. Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada.

Ragged Robin said...

Linda - Thank you so much Linda and welcome to my blog. Warm greetings returned - its lovely to receive a comment from you :)

The Wessex Reiver said...

I love that pastoral countryside of southern England (maybe because I grew up in the moorland of the north). it has a certain charm to it and in autumn, that charm is enhanced. Nice selection of moths too.

Ragged Robin said...

The Wessex Reiver - Thank you so much Andrew - there is something rather special about the pastoral countryside. Every landscape has something to offer in its own way though - we are so lucky in this country to have such a wide range of habitats and landscapes :)

I am not sure if you'll spot this reply but have you seen the article on Richard Jefferies in the latest British Wildlife Magazine? I do so hope it will encourage more people to discover the delights and joys of reading Jefferies.

I loved your last post btw - such beautiful nature writing :)