Today we headed for one of the local country houses, Burton Constable, for what was advertised as a food fair. However it was more of a craft fair than a food fair. Not having brought any food with us we ended up with an odd dinner of pie and cupcakes. The cupcakes ended up a bit of a mess after being bumped along in the pram. The pie however was from Hull Pie, so was top nosh.
We took our random lunch out on the woodland walk round the field of sheep away from the hall.
We found a bench to sit on. Alice’s eagle eyes spotted a moth under the bench. While I’m ok at identifying butterflies my lepidoptorist skills don’t stretch to identifying small brown and white moths. I will need to look through the field guide.
The weather changed rapidly to windy and raining, but none of this deterred Alice.
Back in the stables we saw the Burton Constable Whale. This 58 1/2 foot long sperm whale was washed up on the Holderness Shore in 1825. Sir Thomas Aston Clifford Constable had claim to it at the time, so it became property of the estate. A local Hull surgeon took an interest and dissected and wrote a study of it. A second study by Thomas Beale was read by Herman Melville who would go on to write the classic Moby Dick.
at a place in Yorkshire, England, Burton Constable by name, a certain Sir Clifford Constable has in his possession the skeleton of a Sperm Whale…Sir Clifford’s whale has been articulated throughout; so that like a great chest of drawers, you can open and shut him, in all his long cavities – spread out his ribs like a gigantic fan – and swing all day upon his lower jaw. Locks are to be put upon some of his trap doors and shutters; and a footman will show round future visitors with a bunch of keys at his side. Sir Clifford thinks of charging twopence for a peep at the whispering gallery in the spinal column; threepence to hear the echo in the hollow of his cerebellum; and sixpence for the unrivalled view from his forehead.
And that seems like a good tie in to mention that it is National Marine Week. A time to draw attention to the need to protect marine life such as the whale. I’m going to aim to get out to do another beach clean during the week.
Within my garden this morning I finally managed to get a photo of one of the marvellous dragonflies that have been in and out. They’ve been in and out lots recently, but rarely stay still for photographing. The size and colours of these fantastic insects are amazing. I’m glad to find them starting to come in the garden more.
I currently host a lot of my photos through photobucket. However they have changed their settings, so I can only do third person hosting if I pay $399 a year. For a blog written for fun where no money is made that’s too big an expense. This is undoubtedly going to see people stop using photobucket and look for alternatives. They changed this with no notice, so there are now blogs lacking photos.
I do pay for one of the lowest bands of wordpress. So I could go pay for the photo hosting though here, but again it’s a big cost for a blog written for fun. As I like posting high quality images this may mean I post less or stop altogether unless I can find a decent alternative.
When I wrote the focus on painted ladies I mentioned a documentary that was no longer available. Well it is back on iplayer for a limited time for UK residents.
The Great Butterfly Adventure
This was a good quality documentary charting the amazing painted ladies migration. Well worth viewing a second time.
I’m also going to make some time for the British Garden: life and death on your lawn.
A documentary with Chris Packham presenting, tracking five gardens over the course of a whole year. A chance to show how many species live within our gardens and how important our gardens are to wildlife.
Today we returned to the park for another day of carnival. This time we brought my parents, sis and nephews. The nephews were excited to see the birds of prey, particularly the peregrine.
Alice enjoyed a walk in her harness.
The boys has a bounce around in the inflatable balls. Jacob got knocked over by another lad almost as soon as he got in, but took revenge soon after.
We saw the birds of prey display again. This time we saw the seagulls attacked. Quite nice to see them bullied for a change.
The boys enjoyed the twister.
And got a bit windswept.
While Alice ate her yoghurt biscuit.
In the Memorial Gardens a brass band was playing in the band stand and we met Alice’s other cousins.
Another nice day out in Hornsea.
Today was the Hornsea Carnival parade. Not quite the spectacle of Rio or Notting Hill. More a celebration of English quaintness.
We saw three bears accompanying a juvenile offender.
We saw Morris Dancers. For non-English readers Morris Dancing is a form of folk dancing where you tie ribbons and bells to yourself and prance around. It isn’t generally an activity you’d admit to on a first date or for that matter in the first year of a relationship.
There were a lot of craft stalls: wood carving, rope making and jam, chutney and pies.
In the arena area we saw a bird of prey show. However the bird wasn’t having any of it mainly deciding to sit in the trees.
At the side the birds rested on their perches. It was nice seeing these fantastic feathers fiends for free.
Live music played at the bottom of the hill with a eclectic mix of covers from Green day to Van Morrison
Back at home Alice still wanted to be a butterfly with her backpack on. Tomorrow the carnival is still on so we’ll see what other eccentricities we see.
This week is bees needs week. The week is organised by DEFRA and a number of charities. It aims to raise awareness of the role of bees and other pollinators. Today I’ll discuss the aims of the week and a few things you can do to help and share some of my bee photos from the last year.
Bees are vital to gardeners to pollinate many flowers as well as significant to farmers to pollinate crops.
The week is pushing five simple acts.
1: Grow more flowers, shrubs and trees. Having planted in more variety of shrubs, perennials and annuals this year I can see the difference in the number of bees in the garden. Amongst the bees favorites ate the foxgloves and the lavender. Bee and butterfly flower mixes are easy to buy these days. Once sown many will grow easily and self seed allowing the benefit continue. I grow some in my borders, but also in pots for easy management.
2: Let your garden grow wild.
There are a number of parts to this. Leaving grass in winter. Leaving pernial plants uncut gives hibernation shelters. Leaving a few wildflowers like dandelions of thistles gives pollinators there early source of pollen in the Spring. Nettles and brambles are important for many species to lay eggs on. Behind my garden there is a narrow path where nettles and brambles grow. I trim it back as little as possible, so I can still get the wheelbarrow down. This area is particularly good for moths between the thick ivy and nettles.
3: Cut grass less often. Most people don’t need an excuse to leave their lawns. But leaving grass to grow provides a number of species of butterfly good egg spots for caterpillars. Leaving grass after September gives bees nesting sites. With Alice I don’t really want the whole lawn long so I just have areas on the edge I leave to grow longer.
4: Avoid disturbing nests. Many bees build underground nests in old mammal holes. Trees, walls and dead wood can also be nest sites. So again its about trying to leave them alone over Winter. Bee hotels can be bought or made for many solitary bees that nest above ground. While I haven’t had much luck with bees in mine they are filling with other life.
5: Think about whether to use pesticides. Many pesticides harm bees. Check labels and think carefully before buying. If you do use them try to avoid spraying flowering plants.
The wildlife trust had put out more information sheets here. Nothing very strenuous there, but will give you enjoyment of these vital, wonderful creatures.
Behind the bus station is an area of brownfield land. I’m unsure what it was like in it’s previous incarnation. There are cement foundations and rubble around, but no clear signs. It has now been taken over by bindweed, nettles, brambles and other wildflowers. As I got home earlier with it being the last day of school, Amy and Alice had gone out, I went went out for a little explore. I have seen rabbits along one of the paths when out with Alice, but couldn’t take the pram down to explore. So I was hoping to see some more.
The area has had an awful lot dumped in it sadly. The site is littered with scrap metal and polystyrene.
Despite that the site is a haven for wildlife, even on a grey day like today. The bees were out looking ethereal covered in the pollen of the thistles.
It also provided me with my first sightings of comma butterflies this year. I haven’t seen any on my area. Now I’ve found a site they love. Eight spotted just on a short stretch. I’ve added my sightings to a the Big Butterfly Count along with one small white. It was exciting to see the flash of orange and realise it’s another species I was unaware of within my local area.
The discovery of the comma’s was a nice discovery during the Big Butterfly Count, so even though I failed to see any rabbits the comma’s made up for it.
I’ve been busy of late, so I’m doing more quick twitter updates for anyone who uses it rather than full blogs. https://twitter.com/Jobasha to follow.
Today we celebrated my dad adding doctor to his name after several hard years of work researching Primitive Methodism. We’ve had a lovely afternoon in the garden. A few dabs of rain, but it’s largely stayed nice. Lots of family and friends came from across the country.
The brass band played a nice mix of tunes. I particularly enjoyed Ilkley Moor.
Aunty Pin and Uncle Bob added their dancing.
Alice found some partners in crime.
My dad with his tutor.
Alice had a nice day wandering the garden settling around on different people.
I made a start on theBig Butterfly Count.
The goldfinches weren’t put off by all the people.
Alice was pleased with herself trying to lock everyone out.
It’s been a lovely afternoon seeing family and family friends we don’t see often enough. We’re all very proud of my dad’s hard work and it was nice to celebrate it. Even if he had been reluctant to do it.
Yesterday saw the start of the Big Butterfly Count. The count is organised by Butterfly Conservation to monitor butterfly numbers. Many species of butterfly have suffered over the last decade. But if we don’t put figures to the declines protection won’t be put in place.
Within my garden I will probably only see a handful of species. I see plenty of varieties of whites. However they don’t stop for photos much. The red admirals are more obliging.
Ringlets are common on my walks.
Speckled woods I see in my garden and out and about.
Small tortoiseshells are a less frequent visitor to my garden, but common enough in my area.
Then occasionally I’ll see a peacock.
On the Big Butterfly Count website there is an ID sheet to download to help support identification. I’ve printed and laminated an A3 one to go outside in my outdoor classroom near the bug hotel to encourage the children to keep their eyes out.
Sightings can be submitted on the website here. My garden has a few more butterfly attracting plants than last year, so we’ll see if I spot anything new this year.
Just a quick mention that a number of the Collins New Naturalist Library series are selling for 99p on Kindle currently. The New Naturalist series covers a wide range of Natural History. They are lovely in there hardback forms, but can be pricey. So 99p is a bargain as the quality and content of the few I’ve read has been excellent.
The Isles of Sicilly-Rosemary Parslow
Yorkshire Dales-John Lee
Nature in towns and cities-David Goode
Shallow Seas-Peter Haywood
Brecon Beacons-Jonathon Mullard
They are usually fairly hefty tomes, so I won’t get through them quickly with my limited reading time. But as several are covering my area of the country I’m interested to read.