Uphilldowndale

Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


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There it was, gone.

There it was gone. Is that an expression local to North Derbyshire? Something that appears briefly and then disappears…

The blue skies and warm sun have gone and we are now expecting storm Freya to arrive on Sunday. Whilst it was very enjoyable, in a world of shifting weather patterns, it was also a little disconcerting for  a few days in February to be so mild, this time last year we had the Beast from the East

But  before the cloud came we had more visitors to the pussy willow,  a comma butterfly

Comma_

Who had a very neat vanishing trick up its sleeve. Now you see me, now you don’t.

Comma underside_

The Comma is a fascinating butterfly. The scalloped edges and cryptic colouring of the wings conceal hibernating adults amongst dead leaves, while the larvae, flecked with brown and white markings, bear close resemblance to bird droppings.

The species has a flexible life cycle, which allows it to capitalize on favourable weather conditions. However, the most remarkable feature of the Comma has been its severe decline in the twentieth century and subsequent comeback. It is now widespread in southern Britain and its range is expanding northwards.

I might be a bit slow on the uptake, but it wasn’t until recently I realised that some butterflies over winter, I assumed that they emerged from their chrysalis in the spring.

Wrong, this is how the comma butterfly spends its year6.comma

We’ve been busy bees, having a serious clear out of our barn,

Pussy willow bee

well its actually turned into a kind of archaeological dig, so much stuff! It was during this process, we found lots of hibernating butterfly tucked away behind old cupboards and pieces of timber, sadly I also found a lot of dismembered wings! I suppose a spider needs to eat.

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Blue is the colour

It’s February, it’s not supposed to be this warm and sunny.  Nature is a little confused.

The pussy willow, has never been so big bold and fluffy,

pussy willow feast 5

its offered a feast for the insects over the last few days.

pussy willow feast

Blue and orange was always going to strike the right note.

pussy willow feast 4

It was so still and quiet this afternoon, you could hear every contended buzz and hum.

pussy willow feast 2


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Taddington Moor High Mere

Taddington Moor High Mere looked nothing like this when I stumbled upon it today. I was on one of my pre work diversions again, I thought I might be in with a chance of mist mantled hills, punctuated by field barns or piercing church spires. But I simply couldn’t get above the cloud that has superimposed the inversion mist I’d hoped for.

Never mind, the beauty was in the detail.

Scabious seed head

scabious_

Rosebay willow herb

rosebay willow herb 2

There were so many beautiful flowers, but it was the cobwebs that stole the show.

web four_

Here soggy  thistledown has caught in the web

soggy down_

web one_

I’ll go back another day in search of the view

what no view_

It only took until lunch time for my trousers to dry out….


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Thirty days wild. 22nd June

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_22

The best thing that you can do for nature is too make it part of your life. That’s why we’re asking thousands of people to make room for nature in their everyday lives this June. Please spread the word amongst friends, colleagues and family and get them to sign up, too! After all, all our lives are better if they’re a bit wild… ‘

I’ve signed up to 30 Days Wild with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust,  with the aim of blogging each day, a little bit of the nature of my world.

 

There was a bit of a buzzing going on in the flower bed this afternoon.  I’ve not a clue what was going on, erm, its rather embarrassing to admit, but I’m must confess, to not knowing much about the birds and the bees (well the life cycle of bees and most insects, come to that).  I’m sure other bloggers would be more knowledgeable than me .

Answers on a postcard please…

insec life_

 

Sorry for the spasmodic delivery of posts, I’m having a few technical difficulties, help is on it’s way


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Summers Past

And the making of memories.

Forgiving me for returning to the beach and family holidays. But a couple of   posts I’ve read this week have catapulted me back to Devon.  First there was Nancy’s post reflecting on just how many summers her family had enjoyed their favourite beach  just like the Uphilldowndale family’s love of a certain Devon beach,

Summers Past -1

then there was Sarah’s post that made me smile and recall our coastal meeting with a grasshopper.  So I nipped back to the post I’d written at the time, back in 2009, about our encounter with the artist David Measures, about his glorious art and his generosity with both his time and knowledge: sadly, when I followed the links, I discovered that David died last year.  Looking at the website of Southwell Artists I saw that Christine Measures, David’s wife, is also an artist.

When I met David he told me he was working on a book that would capture, not just the markings of a butterfly, for identification but how it moved, its mannerisms, what a bird watcher might call it’s jizz.  The slide show of Christine’s art captures both David and Devon summer holidays perfectly. Beautiful.