Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Radford Semele (Small Blue at last)



Buddy and I cycled into Leamington Spa first thing on Monday morning to top up our fruit and veg. store and then took a trip back to Stockton Cuttings.  This is where we moored for a couple of weeks looking for early spring butterflies, usually to no avail.  Yesterday we were lucky and got our first Small Blues of the year; these are the smallest of the UK butterflies and are really tiny compared with others.  I find it amazing that most colonies survive with around 30 adults – that seems a precariously low number.

Upper side of female Small Blue is dark brown (male is almost black) 





The distinctive underside of the Small Blue (not dissimilar to the Holly Blue which is a lot larger)


We also saw several other species, including Green Hairstreak, but were unable to get any pictures.  I am really keen to get a picture of a Green Hairstreak as bright green is such an unusual colour for a British insect.  By the way I was quite pleased with the Small Blue pictures considering they were taken with my phone.  Looking back I cannot beleive that I used to use a good old SLR camera with a macro lens to take butterfy pictures.  It was not unknown to have a whole roll of film developed with not one decent picture in those days, so I must have been really patient to build up the physical pictures in my butterfly photo album.

The meadow next to Stockton Cuttings is starting to blossom.  There are several species of orchid that occur here but none appear to be out yet.


Buddy surveying the meadow


On Monday evening Karen and I attended the last bridge lesson of the academic year at our club in Stratford-upon-Avon.  They had laid on some wine and nibbly bits as a farewell, until the next year starts in October, which was pleasant for a school evening.

When I got up this morning and opened up the hatches it occurred to me that we haven’t had the stove lit for a while and I may have overstocked on coal as we have five bags on the roof still.  Oh well, maybe we’ll have to have baked potatoes once a week during the summer months.

Over-supply of coal on the roof

We are going over to the Czech Republic this Saturday, via Poland, to see Karen’s eldest son Matthew for the weekend.  As we are not returning to the boat until Monday I will have to move it this week to avoid overstaying the 14 day limit.  I suspect Buddy and I will move it on Thursday even closer to Leamington.  There is only one more lock before we hit the lowest pound of the Northern Grand Union canal – it starts rising again when it gets to Warwick.

One of the last mornings that we will have this particular view from the front


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