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Thursday, 28 July 2016

The Emperor and other moths from May

This is my last post featuring stuff from May - gosh I am finally catching up!

I put the trap out twice in May - not many dry nights that month where I dared leave the trap out all night. These moths are from the nights of the 4th and 5th May. I was pleased with the interesting selection, but that was surpassed a thousand times by discovering the amazing Emperor Moth in the trap on the morning of the second day! What a find. We knew they existed around here since K found one of their caterpillars crossing the road last year, but as the male is supposed to fly during the day and I have never seen one (you'd notice, wouldn't you?!), I didn't think it was really likely to find one flying about in my garden.

This is the female which is less colourful than the male, but it's the female who flies at night and is the one attracted to light and can be caught in moth traps.

Emperor Moth (Saturnia pavonia).

Emperor Moth (Saturnia pavonia).

In the sun it closed up its wings.

Emperor Moth (Saturnia pavonia).

I set it free on a tree trunk in a shady place and it stayed there all day.

Emperor Moth (Saturnia pavonia).

Excitement over, here are the rest of the moths of note caught during the two nights. I haven't got particularly good photos as I left it until evening until I got round to taking photos, so I was doing it outside in either not very good natural light or with flash. I'm also losing lots of tiny moths when I get them out of the trap; seems like the bigger ones are more sleepy.

Bottom, Swallow Prominent (Pheosia tremula) and top, Coronet (Craniophora ligustri).

The same two again.

An unknown moth.

Chocolate Tip (Clostera curtula).
This one is really cool!

Nut Tree Tussock (Colocasia coryli).

Nut Tree Tussock (Colocasia coryli).

Not entirely sure but wondering if this might
be a Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta)?


Early Thorn (Selenia dentaria).

Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa).

Brindled Beauty (Lycia hirtaria).

This following one I've tried IDing but can't see it amongst the Hants Moths Flying Tonight list or on UK Moths site, and I haven't the time or inclination to spend hours looking through European lepidoptera sites! I thought IDing would be easy given its markings.



White Ermine (Spilosoma lubricipeda).

All in all a nice selection even without the surprise of the Emperor the second morning! :-)

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Rosemoor RHS Garden, Devon

I have wanted to visit this garden for years, but every time we were in Somerset it was either the wrong time of year, it poured with rain or we just didn't have time. This time, finally, we made it! 

We visited on 16th May, and set off in the morning in glorious sunshine, but as we passed Dartmoor and saw Exmoor off in the distance, the cloudier it got, until we arrived at our destination 90 minutes later under full, overcast grey skies. Isn't that just typical?

Well sometimes sunshine can be the enemy of the photographer so I decided to look at it that way; after all the gardens were full of colour so who cared what colour the sky was. The sun came out about an hour before closing time - typical yet again, so we enjoyed that too. We were at the gardens until closing time and I think the last car out of the car park - just goes to show what an enjoyable place this is.

The garden, now covering 65 acres, is divided into two parts with a road running between the two. The original garden was mostly planted up and developed by Lady Anne Berry during the 60s, 70s and 80s. Lady Anne gave the gardens to the RHS in 1988 along with a further plot of land (that which is across the road), which has been developed by the RHS into many gardens of different styles and a rich wealth of planting. A brief history of the garden on Wikipedia here, and further info on the website here.

The Winter Garden - lots of interesting coloured bark - I loved it!

I think it was about a week after the Cherry blossom was at its peak, but even so we had quite a magnificent display over many areas of the garden. One thing we were too early for was the Rose Garden, but you can't have it all.

The Herb, Potager and Cottage Garden

Quite ornamental too, it's every gardeners dream to have a potager like this but unless you have an army of gardeners to help you, it's pretty unlikely your veggies will ever be presented like this......

Of course there were flowers galore in there, and I was rather taken by these multicolour Wallflowers. Just gorgeous colours. I think this patch represented the Cottage Garden.

A view, one of many!

An Acer of some sort.

A Song Thrush with something for the babies in its beak.

The pond with..... not just a Moorhen but a baby too! Only the one but one is better than none. We here at Chateau Moorhen have been starved of baby pompoms these last two years. Sob.

The Orchard - there were many varieties of apple, I presume some local and heritage ones. They stole the show being in perfect full bloom.

Now what I'm going to do, because I have a lot of photos and I don't want to bore you to death, is put the rest of the photos from this visit into a Picasa/Google album and give you the link at the end. I've already whittled these photos down from 176 to 50 (!!) so if you'd like to see more, I have just captioned them where necessary but there is no more blurb from me. Believe me, if you like public gardens, it's worth looking at the rest. More importantly, it's worth visiting here yourself!

But first, I leave you with this gorgeous Robin. I have never managed to get a photo of a Robin before, but I might have guessed there would be some tame bird life around the restaurant terrace! Sure enough, there were Dunnocks, Blackbirds and Sparrows around willing to let you take their photo if you shared a few crumbs with them. Here this Robin is having a bit of my shortbread whilst we sat and enjoyed tea on the very pleasant terrace.

The moment the Robin leapt off the chair towards the crumbs!

Yummy shortbread!

For the rest of the photos, please click on this link to my album. Thank you for looking!

Friday, 15 July 2016

MoHo Trip No. 2 La Turballe, Part 2

Day 3

Our third day dawned cloudy and grey and was to remain so all day, unfortunately. We had planned to visit the medieval fortified town of Guérande so off we set. We were lucky to find some MoHo parking nearby - this is the downfall of having a motorhome - it's less the length than the height which is a problem as so many car parks have height barriers, particularly by the coast. Not something we'd ever really noticed in a car before!

A map of the walled section of town taken from Wikipedia - wish I'd looked at this before we visited! It's so easy to walk around in circles in these places and you wonder if you missed anything! I think that we saw most of it though.

When we were there the market was just finishing and packing up - but not before I spotted these eggs for sale which interested me! How much?!! I need to open a market stall...... :-)

Loved the suit of armour and cute half timbered houses are to die for.

We decided to lunch out and it was moules frites for K. I stupidly ordered a galette, and it was every bit as boring and tasteless as every other galette I've ever eaten. Why do I do this?!!

K outside the medieval city walls.

That afternoon we did more stooging around and came across some lagoons with interesting bird life, luckily in a place where we were able to park nearby. I forget where this was exactly. The Grey Plover below was a lifer bird and I've only seen Dunlin once before in northern Spain - well any waders get me excited, except for Avocets and Black Winged Stilts as I've seen so many, especially here and the gulf of Morbihan. Doesn't that sound awful, but you do get really blasé about them!!

However, I've never seen an Avocet doing a mating dance before. I should have videod it as it was very funny, and photos just don't show it like it was.

A lifer Grey Plover top and bottom left, with Dunlins galore on the right.

An Avocet again top left, bottom right is a Ringed Plover and top right and bottom left are Black-tailed Godwits in colourful breeding plumage.

My OH's photo of the Black-tailed Godwit.

Day 4

The sun returned on our last day, and not only that - it turned surprisingly warm! We returned slowly up the coast in the direction of home. We didn't visit the town of La Turballe but decided to stop at Piriac sur Mer a bit further up the coast. What a surprise - I had been expecting a typical touristy seaside town but in fact the town had the label "Petite Cité de Caractère", and character it had a-plenty. 

The port

The sea front overlooking the port area.

Up the many back streets with many beautiful granite houses. It is a very pretty place to stroll around, not big but well worth a visit if in the area. Plenty of restaurants and some tourist shops, but not enough to spoil the character of the little town.

There are sandy beaches here too but it was low tide so all the people who go out with their buckets and spades were out. But not like the bucket and spade brigade in England (kids and sandcastles!) - when you see people out and about like this they are collecting shellfish. If they are doing so in sand and mud I think it's cockles they are collecting, but thanks to my camera zoom I was able to conclude that here it is rock oysters that are being harvested off the rocks.

A bit further up the coast at the Pointe de Merquel near Mesquer, we had a delightful stroll beside the sea and next to a field which apparently had a particular type of orchid in it (purple something? and which I forgot to take a photo of). That's because we were too busy watching the Linnets flitting about and seeing what other birds we could spot. 

On the sea side we spotted this Wheatear.

And in the field I managed to capture this male Linnet in full breeding plumage. There were other males around which were not nearly as colourful as this one. I don't know why some were so much redder than others?

My final photos for the day were these Turnstones sitting on the rocks beside the Pointe - it was fun watching them as the waves were washing over the rocks at times and the birds would be floating around before the wave went out and they could resume their places on the rocks.

So that ends our four day trip to this part of the world. We had a thoroughly enjoyable visit and on top of that, were beginning to get to grips with this motorhome camping lark. :-)