Sunday, 16 August 2009

Jessica Ennis, our new World Champion

Took Bea to Eastbourne and had lunch again at The Giant’s Rest, Wilmington. We both had home cooked ham with bubble & squeak & home made chutney, delicious, this pub excels. Saw a Spitfire go overhead as part of the Eastbourne Airshow. Called in at Mill Hill to photograph some Blues and saw four planes perform an aerobatic act with smoke over the Shoreham airfield. Back home got stuck into another four hours of athletics and have just watched our new athletics heroine complete a brilliant heptathlon with a gutsy 800 metres win. What an athlete! To lead the field from start to finish of the competition was astounding and I loved the way she tore into the lead of the 800 meters and would not allow anyone to take away her first place in that final event. I haven’t felt as excited by British performances since Christine Ohuruogu at Bejing and Kelly Holmes at Athens. And then to see Usain Bolt tear apart the 100 metre world record was a delight.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Angels and Morris men

Today the Littlehampton lifeboats were practicing receiving a rescuer from a helicopter. Last week outside the White Horse at Maplehurst the Morris men were performing. Today Ikea delivered the kitchen shelving and I spent a fun hour assembling. They look good and we have been discussing who gets what space -beer/wine versus kitchen stuff :)

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Steyning, a woodpecker and a toad

An early visit to Steyning showed me a Green Woodpecker which flashed yellow as I startled it and it flew off from the ground. A toad had been disembowelled on the path by an unknown predator. Various other interesting insects showed themselves including a small yellow ladybird which landed on my arm and a very furry caterpillar which crossed the path. It was another day of alternating sun and cloud.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

J.W. Waterhouse at the Royal Academy

This retrospective exhibition was wonderful. My favourite is below, Hylas and the Nymphs. Apart from the obvious charms of the nymphs, the main nymph has an amazingly powerful gaze fixed on Hylas. Waterhouse has a wonderful sense of costume colour and texture. Jackie came with us from Littlehampton, and we met up with Bea and young Amy who travelled from Eastbourne. We enjoyed sad sandwiches in the Academy courtyard. Osca’s fish & chips completed the day.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Brown Hairstreaks & Holly Blue at Steyning Rifle Range

I decided to have another day looking for Brown Hairstreaks at Steyning as the weather looked promising. Good decision, I had one of the best photo days this year. Two female Brown Hairstreaks appeared within a short time at 11:12 and performed for me until 12. They are one of the most beautiful butterflies I have seen. I phoned Neil and he arrived with Brian to join in the fun. He was rewarded with one photo op and another sighting. The day was topped off for me by a second new species of the day, a Holly Blue beside the track on a wild rose mixed up with ivy just before we arrived at the car park.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Steyning & Mill Hill

I visited Steyning Down this morning hoping to see a Brown Hairstreak, but the lack of sun deterred the little fellas. Neil Hulme of Sussex Butterfly Conservation was also there for the same reason. Instead I found a Red Admiral posing plus some interesting dragonflies, bugs and flies. A visit to Mill Hill after lunch gave me some great Adonis blue photos, but closed wing only as it had turned cloudy.

Medieval hammered

My metal detecting club had a dig on Sunday north of Bognor. Finds were sparced but included an excellent medieval hammered by Bob and a Roman coin. My finds were a 16th century spoon and an old button. A patch of meadow flowers at the entrance to the field gave me some Common blue and Small copper photos.

Grayling Festival at Windover Hill

Michael Blencowe of the Sussex branch of UK Butterfly Conservation Organization runs a Grayling Festival walk every year. Bea and I arrived on Saturday in time for an informative talk at Windover Hill (near the Long Man of Wilmington). During the walk 29 species were seen, though we missed some as we did not do the whole walk. Many Graylings were seen, they are well camouflaged and glide after takeoff. The views of the Downs were wonderful.
Grayling, Hipparchia semele
Wall, Lasiommata megera

Clouded Yellows at Ouse Estuary Reserve

Ouse Estuary Reserve has had reports of Clouded Yellows in abundance recently and my visit on Friday was rewarded with a dozen or so on the level spoil tip area which is covered with meadow flowers. There were many Common and Chalkhill Blues in the ditch bordering the reserve.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Peanut, flower show & Ray

While Sue was out on the doors I joined Jackie on a Peanut walk. The little fella pulled on his lead and barked bravely at big dogs. The young coots and ducks have grown a lot in Mewsbrook Park. I collected a bag of Morello cherries from Jackie's tree, took photos of some border plants which will look good on our balcony and returned in time to meet meet cousin Ray at the station. He is doing up his Bournemouth house for rental before he returns to his family in Thailand. We caught up on his news and saw the area of his beach property on Google Earth.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Warnham & Small Coppers

After lunch I headed off to Warnham Nature Reserve and was rewarded with plenty of butterflies in the sunny meadows, and a pleasant walk around the woodland walk, visiting the bird hides on the way. Plenty of Small Coppers (below), Painted Ladies, Large Skippers, Large and Small Whites and Common Blues.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Twickers, Cliveden and a Hairsteak

Took Sue to Twickenham for the last day of her convention. After dropping her off I went to Richmond Park and found a clump of thistles rich with Painted Ladies, Peacocks (above), Meadow Browns, and Large Whites. Also saw a Blue, assume Common, but it moved off too quickly to be sure. Then headed for Maidenhead in search of a White-letter Hairstreak. No luck at the first site, so went to Cliveden House, a National Trust property, formerly home of the Astors, famous for Profumo Affair. In the garden I found a Purple Hairstreak (below). No new species, but a fun day out. We ended the day with Oscars fish and chips and watched the last of the swimming world cup events.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Steyning Downland and Wall Browns

Visited the Steyning Downland Scheme this morning. There were Wall Browns which gave me a chance to get some better photos of them. Painted Ladies & Gatekeepers abounded, including a mating pair. Also Peacocks, Meadow browns, Large whites, a Common Blue, a Large Tortoiseshell. One of the mating Gatekeepers had two red parasitic mites attached, as did the Common Blue. Swallows were cruising over the meadows feeding off the insects and chirping to each other.