Wednesday, 25 September 2013

2013 East Kent Ploughing Match

Before we go off to Upper Hardres to the ploughing match, there were the 124 moths in the trap to check over. In among the Large Yellow Underwings and Setaceous Hebrew Characters, which together totalled 91, there were these two. It seems the Dusky Thorn which got away a couple of days ago before being photographed (and properly identified) was most likely of the same species, only one of which has ever turned up in my trap. They are Canary Shouldered Thorns, just as well they were less shy than their predecessor

just look at those antennae

and so to the ploughing match, and first to the horse ploughing, smashers aren't they

this is Sam and Sid having a quiet word at the end of their furrow

and here are a handsome pair who's name we didn't see
and these two are Arthur and Elsie


superb animals, always draw an admiring crowd
and so to the next major advance in ploughing technology, steam

then there came the early motor tractors - remember Mc Cormick International?

no? Well you must recall the good old Fergie (no, not him! And wouldn't his hairdryer have been busy after the Manchester derby last weekend? Well done City)

I could watch and listen to these for ages, 'specially the single cylinder one nearer to me

nice to see schoolchildren being educated, too

the foxhounds made an appearance as well

 and finally, this comparison to bring ploughing up to date


Monday, 23 September 2013

Last nights moths

There were 2 noteworthy moths among the 114 of 14 species in the trap. First a new one for my garden, a Brown-spot Pinion, which obliged with a photo
according to my book it is a common resident, inhabiting broadleaved woodland, parkland, heaths, fens, scrub, hedgerows and gardens. Is there anywhere else?
The second moth was a Dusky Thorn, which didn't stay to be photographed. Also a common resident, inhabiting similar places to the pinion, it was only the second here following one in August. This family look like butterflies in that they fold their wings when resting
That's it, except the stitches are out and I have exercises to do, five minutes at a time several times a day, now where's the egg-timer!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Twitching trains

I'm a bit discommoded at present, not able to drive or cycle, as my right arm has to remain in  a sling for possibly 4 to 6 weeks following minor surgery on a sore shoulder. Just as well it wasn't major surgery for every reason. This means lots of time for model railways, (albeit one-handed), and also for a trip on the Cathedrals Express last Thursday, from Wye down to Salisbury, via the North Pole
Well, North Pole Junction between Stewarts Lane and Willesden in fact. My operation was the previous Friday, and as the trip had been booked since February we were apprehensive it would have to be abandoned. Not so I'm glad to say
As the train ran into Wye station the children from the infant school in the village were there to see the spectacle, although the presence on the front of a great big diesel loco may have detracted from it a bit, but Tornado was coupled right behind for operating reasons, and explains the detour via Willesden

Upon arrival at Salisbury the scrum round the loco prevented any real pictures, but you get the idea I hope

On the subject of engine names, this loco came by while we were waiting for the return trip. Who thought this romantic name up I wonder - "The Permanent Way Institution" - wow!!

Then this yellow peril appeared, and all the trainspotters present had a collective fit.  It is apparently their equivalent of a Baird's Sandpiper, or a Desert Wheatear perhaps, an ex-intercity125 train painted bright yellow, belonging to Network Rail and called "The New Measurement Train"

Here's Tornado ready for the trip home, looking smart and handsome

and here's me, by no means any of those descriptions

How did I photo the train leaving while supposedly aboard? Easy, photograph it as it backs in before departure! Beautiful colour blue isn't it?


 And so home and into the railway room, where I've been making scenery, including this attempt at a painted background - anything's better than a painted block wall thankfully

You can see the join on here, in the shed it's less noticeable


The moth trap is out as I upload this lot, so hope for some interesting moths tomorrow morning

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Stupendous Spider, Sundry Insects, Not-so-Sure Swallows, and 2 more birds

First of all, in the garden this morning, I found this spider resting on a 3" square fencepost. I have no idea of the identity, other than it is a Harvestman of the family Phalangiids. The remarkable thing is the length of the legs, especially the second set at about 5cm, or two and a half inches for each leg!

A remarkable and curious creature (I nearly typed insect - tut tut)

One lunchtime last week this wasp decided that it would share the jam I was eating with my bread, cheeky sod. The nest is nearby somewhere. I haven't found it yet but I'm sure we'll be able to live with it when I do

Can't resist this pristine Painted Lady, lovely insect

An unual moth recently was this Frosted Orange, here sharing it's egg-box with a Cabbage Moth

In the next egg-box out of the trap was this relatively light-coloured Old Lady in her crinoline frock, dwarfing the two Feathered Ranunculus' beside it (Please don't ask me how they got their name)

The second brood of Swallows fledged last week, four of them again. Luckily I was busy at the sink when they first came out of the garage. This shot literally captures it's first look at this great big world 

This one got as far as the roof beside the litchen window on it's first outdoor flight

with Mum keeping a close eye on things. With this change in the weather most have left - in the garage tonight there are just 2 young with the parents, the other 6 presumably having set off with a large flock of some 100 plus which came by yesterday

out last Saturday morning there was this opportunity for an unusual look at a juvenile Green Woodpecker "somewhere on Wanstone"

and a quick look at Restharrow Scrape yesterday revealed little other than a few morrhens, loadsa Teal and this one of two Little Egrets. I know this sort of view is a cliche, but they are always worth admiring