Monthly Archives: August 2020

Sunday Quiz – Waxing Lyrical! – The Answers

Robert Browning, from his poem ‘Home Thoughts From Abroad’: ‘That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over, Lest you should think he never could recapture The first fine careless rapture!’

Good morning Readers! And thanks to everyone who had a bash at the quiz. I am marking it out of 20 because you got an extra mark if you hazarded a guess at the authors. Anne managed a stunning 20 out of 20, so well done that woman! Sarah got 10 out of 10 for matching the birds to the poems. and  Christine got 7 out of 10. Of those who had a bash at both matching the birds and naming the authors, sllgatsby got 8 and Gert Loveday got 8, so congratulations to everyone, and do let me know if you have a favourite bird poem, looking at the works for the quiz has got me intrigued. I’m specially interested if you have a poem about a local bird- where are the works about ground hornbills or kookaburras? I think we should be told.

Dear Readers, let’s see how you got on with our bird poems.

a) 8) – Carrion crow. From Ted Hughes’ ‘Examination at the Womb-Door’ from his Crow poems. This always gives me goosebumps. You can read the whole poem here

“But who is stronger than death?
Me, evidently.”

b) 9) Sparrowhawk, from Hawk Roosting, again by Ted Hughes. The whole poem is here.

“My feet are locked upon the rough bark.
It took the whole of Creation
To produce my foot, my each feather:
Now I hold Creation in my foot

Or fly up, and revolve it all slowly –
I kill where I please because it is all mine.
There is no sophistry in my body:
My manners are tearing off heads.

c) 4) Robin – from W.H Davies’ poem ‘Robin Redbreast’ – read the whole thing here .

How he sings for joy this morn!
How his breast doth pant and glow!
Look you how he stands and sings, 
Half-way up his legs in snow!

d) 3) Mallards – from Kenneth Grahame’s ‘Duck Ditty’ in ‘The Wind in the Willows’. The whole poem is here.

Everyone for what he likes!
We like to be
Heads down, tails up,
Dabbling free!

High in the blue above,
Swifts whirl and call –
We are down a-dabbling
Up tails all!

e) 5) Kestrel. From The Windhover by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Read the whole poem, and an interesting analysis of it, here. One of my very favourite poems.

I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn xxxxxx, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him solid air, and striding 
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy!

f) 7) Kingfisher – from The Kingfisher by Mary Oliver, another of my favourite poets. You can read the whole thing here.

When the wave snaps shut over his blue head, the
water
remains water–hunger is the only story
he has ever heard in his life that he could
believe.
I don’t say he’s right. Neither
do I say he’s wrong. Religiously he swallows the
silver leaf
with its broken red river, and with a rough and
easy cry
I couldn’t rouse out of my thoughtful body
if my life depended on it, he swings back
over the bright sea to do the same thing, to do it
(as I long to do something, anything) perfectly.

g)2) Skylark from ‘To a Skylark’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley. So many children used to learn this at school and be put off poetry for life. What a shame. When I was taught it at my school in East London, I had never seen a skylark in my life. When I finally did see one, when I was a child on holiday in Dorset, it made a lot more sense. You can read the whole thing here.

Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
Bird thou never wert, 
That from Heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still doth soar, and soaring ever singest. 

h) 1) From Sparrow by Norman Maccaig. Now, if we’d been taught this at school I’d have known how to relate. Read the whole thing here.

He’s no artist.
His taste in clothes leans towards
the dowdy and second hand.
And his nest — that blackbird, writing
pretty scrolls on the air with the gold nib of his beak
would call it a slum. 

i) 10 from ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ by John Keats. Another poem that is rather too complicated to be taught to young children I think. Plus, you would be very lucky to hear a nightingale these days (although Keats heard this bird on Hampstead Heath). This is a splendid poem on mortality but it needs time and  concentration. You can read the whole thing here.

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk;
‘Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thine happiness,-
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees, 
In some melodious plot 
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, 
Singest of summer in full-throated ease. 

j) 6) ‘The Raven’ by Edgar Allen Poe. How this poem begs to be read aloud! It’s something of a Gothic masterpiece, in my opinion, with a strand of hectic madness in it. Read the whole thing here.

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter
In there stepped a stately …… of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he: not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door – 
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door – 
Perched and sat, and nothing more. 

Photo One by Joe Ravi / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

1) House sparrow (Passer domesticus)

Photo Two by Neil Smith from https://www.flickr.com/photos/51993572@N08/13536988595 from https://www.flickr.com/photos/51993572@N08/13536988595

2) Skylark (Alauda arvensis)

Photo Three by Mr TinDC from https://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_t_in_dc/5013989475

3) Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos)

Photo Four by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

4) Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Photo Five by Andreas Trepte / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)

5) Common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

Photo Six by Brian Gratwicke at https://www.flickr.com/photos/briangratwicke/24374875053

6) Raven (Corax corax)

Photo Seven by Roger Batt from https://www.flickr.com/photos/britishvets/36851050612

7) Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

 

Photo Eight by Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

8) Carrion crow (Corvus corone)

Photo Nine by Imran Shah from Islamabad, Pakistan / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

9) Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

Photo Ten by Kev Chapman from https://www.flickr.com/photos/25553993@N02/7790441588

10) Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)

Photo Credits

Photo One by Joe Ravi / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

Photo Two by Neil Smith from https://www.flickr.com/photos/51993572@N08/13536988595 

Photo Three by Mr TinDC from https://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_t_in_dc/5013989475

Photo Four by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Photo Five by Andreas Trepte / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)

Photo Six by Brian Gratwicke at https://www.flickr.com/photos/briangratwicke/24374875053

Photo Seven by Roger Batt from https://www.flickr.com/photos/britishvets/36851050612

Photo Eight by Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

Photo Nine by Imran Shah from Islamabad, Pakistan / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

Photo Ten by Kev Chapman from https://www.flickr.com/photos/25553993@N02/7790441588

An August Walk in Coldfall Wood

New Bins!

Dear Readers, as you’ll know by now it’s the little things that keep me happy, so I am absolutely delighted to report the arrival of new litter bins in Coldfall Wood and on the adjoining Muswell Hill Playing Fields. There are signs on the top asking people to take their rubbish home if the bins are full (as opposed to letting the crows and foxes strew everything about), so let’s see how that works. At least these bins have a lid  on the top, and I watched at least one person dispose of their litter correctly, so it’s an excellent start.

I love the way that the spiders are becoming more and more apparent as they grow into adulthood. We usually only notice them in the autumn, but if you look closely there are already lots of tiny orb-webbed spiders about, some of them smaller than a child’s fingernail. Whoever made this web, on an oak tree, has lots of ambition.  I think it’s most likely a little guy called Drapetisca socialis (or money-spider to you and me), who has a fondness for tree trunks. The unsuspecting prey ‘trips’ over the lateral threads securing the web to the bark, and falls onto one of the ‘sheets’, whereupon the spider leaps out and dispatches it. What a life.

I love the shadows of the leaves on the forest floor. It’s nice and cool in the shade, but soon we are out on the edge of the Playing Fields, being blasted by the heat.

It’s only when the seeds are mostly gone that you can see that the spear thistle is actually a member of the daisy family.

And someone has been brushing an enormous white dog, by the look of it. Shame the nesting season is over, this stuff would have made a lovely bed for some newly-hatched birds.

I am ostensibly marching around the fields to get to grips with the whereabouts of the Japanese knotweed, following a visit by the Environmental Officer from the Council last week. There is certainly a lot of it about on the border between the cemetery and the fields, though it’s a good long way from the wood at the moment.

A fine thicket of Japanese knotweed

When I get home, I read the email thread properly and realise that the question is really about the knotweed in the cemetery. As this is still closed during the week, I will have to do a special expedition next weekend. Still, any excuse for a walk is welcome.

I notice that it’s been a very fine year for yarrow, and there are rather more pink  specimens than usual. In some places, the absence of footballers has meant that the yarrow can start to take over the field itself. I don’t suppose it will survive the return of the sportsmen though (whenever that is).

And then, some real excitement. I am busy looking at the plants, but fortunately my husband is looking at the sky.

‘What’s that’? he asks.

Could it be?

Yes, it’s a buzzard, riding the thermals over the cemetery and the fields. People have been telling me that they’ve seen one for about six months, but this is my first proper look.  What a treat!

I wonder if it’s feeding on road kill along by the North Circular Road, or if it’s found some other source of sustenance – they eat small rodents, rabbits and even insects if there’s nothing else about. They are all-rounders, and it’s no wonder that they are among the first big birds of prey to start to make a living in urban-fringe areas. Plus, in East Finchley they are less likely to be blown out of the sky by a trigger-happy gamekeeper. Buzzards have a wingspan of about four feet, which is not eagle-sized but is plenty big enough to attract my attention. This one was probably lucky that the crows further up the field didn’t notice,  or maybe the corvids aren’t so jumpy once their youngsters have fledged. Normally, birds of prey spend a lot of time being harassed by crows. It must be very tiresome.

Onwards!

Another magnificent bin

We decide to cross the boardwalk over the ‘everglades’ part of the wet woodland. The plants have grown back vigorously since the floods of the spring – there is common and amphibious bistort, water plantain and some lovely water mint. The bistort species are in the same family as the Japanese knotweed, but are much better behaved.

Amphibious bistort (Persicaria amphibia)

Water plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica)

Water mint (Mentha aquatica)

And here is a Common Darter dragonfly (Sympetrum striolatum), patrolling a tiny piece of the stream. They don’t breed until late summer, so this one could be looking for the arrival of a female.

And something has turned these leaves to lace.

As we brace ourselves for our return to the hot streets, I find one more excuse to linger. A speckled wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria) is beautifully backlit as it waits on a leaf. The male often sits on a leaf waiting for a female to pass, and drives away any other males who encroach on his territory. Interestingly, butterflies in the north of the species range (they extend from Yorkshire southwards) are chocolate-brown with white spots, but the London ones that I’ve seen have much creamier, orange spots. Whichever colouration is present, if you see a small butterfly that seems to mimic the play of shadows in the woodland, chances are you’re looking at a speckled wood.

And as we stride out into the heat, and take a small alleyway between Creighton Avenue and Durham Road, we are hit with the most fabulous, heady aroma of figs. Someone has a magnificent fig tree, and somewhere under those leaves, the fruit is ripening. How I would love to bottle that scent and save it for the winter months! It seems like the very essence of these long, hot, languorous days.

Sunday Quiz – Waxing Lyrical!

Robert Browning, from his poem ‘Home Thoughts From Abroad’: ‘That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over, Lest you should think he never could recapture The first fine careless rapture!’

Dear Readers, this week I thought I’d try something different for the quiz. Below are some photos of birds, and in a strangely uncharacteristic burst of generosity, I’m also going to tell you what species the birds are.  What I want you to do is to try to match the poem to the bird. Extra points if you can tell me who the poet was (and one poet is featured more than once)  So, if you think poem a) relates to the house sparrow (1), your answer is a) 1.

As usual, if you don’t want to be influenced by those who answered earlier, write your responses down before you pop them into the comments. Obviously you can play without going public with your answers, but if you want to be ‘marked’, please note that the deadline is 5 p.m. on Monday UK time. The solutions will be published on Tuesday. Have fun!

a)

“But who is stronger than death?
Me, evidently.”

b)

“My feet are locked upon the rough bark.
It took the whole of Creation
To produce my foot, my each feather:
Now I hold Creation in my foot

Or fly up, and revolve it all slowly –
I kill where I please because it is all mine.
There is no sophistry in my body:
My manners are tearing off heads.

c)

How he sings for joy this morn!
How his breast doth pant and glow!
Look you how he stands and sings, 
Half-way up his legs in snow!

d)

Everyone for what he likes!
We like to be
Heads down, tails up,
Dabbling free!

High in the blue above,
Swifts whirl and call –
We are down a-dabbling
Up tails all!

e)

I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn xxxxxx, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him solid air, and striding 
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy!

f)

When the wave snaps shut over his blue head, the
water 
remains water–hunger is the only story
he has ever heard in his life that he could
believe.
I don’t say he’s right. Neither
do I say he’s wrong. Religiously he swallows the
silver leaf
with its broken red river, and with a rough and
easy cry
I couldn’t rouse out of my thoughtful body
if my life depended on it, he swings back
over the bright sea to do the same thing, to do it
(as I long to do something, anything) perfectly.

g)

Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
Bird thou never wert, 
That from Heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still doth soar, and soaring ever singest. 

h)

He’s no artist.
His taste in clothes leans towards
the dowdy and second hand.
And his nest — that blackbird, writing
pretty scrolls on the air with the gold nib of his beak
would call it a slum. 

i)

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk;
‘Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thine happiness,-
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees, 
In some melodious plot 
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, 
Singest of summer in full-throated ease. 

j)

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter
In there stepped a stately …… of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he: not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door – 
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door – 
Perched and sat, and nothing more. 

Photo One by Joe Ravi / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

1) House sparrow (Passer domesticus)

Photo Two by Neil Smith from https://www.flickr.com/photos/51993572@N08/13536988595 from https://www.flickr.com/photos/51993572@N08/13536988595

2) Skylark (Alauda arvensis)

Photo Three by Mr TinDC from https://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_t_in_dc/5013989475

3) Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos)

Photo Four by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

4) Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Photo Five by Andreas Trepte / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)

5) Common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

Photo Six by Brian Gratwicke at https://www.flickr.com/photos/briangratwicke/24374875053

6) Raven (Corax corax)

Photo Seven by Roger Batt from https://www.flickr.com/photos/britishvets/36851050612

7) Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

 

Photo Eight by Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

8) Carrion crow (Corvus corone)

Photo Nine by Imran Shah from Islamabad, Pakistan / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

9) Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

Photo Ten by Kev Chapman from https://www.flickr.com/photos/25553993@N02/7790441588

10) Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)

 

Manky Apples

Dear Readers, my friend A gave me some ‘manky apples’ from the tree in her garden, but she hoped that I wasn’t squeamish, as the fruit had been ‘got at’ by at least one insect. And, dear readers, I hope that you aren’t squeamish either, because I have spent the last half an hour cutting the edible bits off of the fruit for a crumble, and taking photos of the inhabitants of the other bits. If you don’t like photos of caterpillars, look away now :-).

The major pest of apples in the UK, as you probably know, is the codling moth( (Cydia pomonella). Another stipulation for my receipt of the apples was that I was not to wax lyrical about the creature, but here is a picture of the adult, and I think it’s not unattractive in a mothy kind of way.

Photo One by By Olei - Self-published work by Olei, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=810865

Codling moth (Cydia pomonella) (Photo One)

However, the caterpillars are obligate frugivores – in other words they cannot digest leaves, like other larvae, and are wholly adapted to eating fruit. Apples are their favourite, but they can also eat pears, walnuts and even apricots. The adult moth lays her eggs on either the twigs or the fruit of a tree, depending on the time of year (there are two generations, one in the spring and one later in the summer). It’s thought that the caterpillars navigate towards the light once hatched, and at some speed too, because nearly everything else in the garden, from blue tits to ants, eats codling moth larvae. As most trees produce fruit on the end of their branches, this behaviour means that the caterpillars are quick to find a suitable apple. It takes the larva about 45 minutes to burrow into the fruit, and then a further 15 minutes to spin a cap for the tunnel out of silk. Once in the apple, it heads into the centre where the seeds are. Amazingly, it then bites the seeds, which stops the natural development of the fruit and causes it to start to ripen – ripe fruit provides the caterpillar with more nutrients. Often, one apple will be enough, but some especially hungry critters will then start the process all over again with another apple. No wonder farmers love them so much.

Infested apple

Once the caterpillar is snug inside its fruity home, it makes a chamber, which rapidly goes black and fills with frass (droppings).

And then, when the caterpillar is ready to pupate, it either launches itself into the air on a silky thread, or crawls down the trunk, looking for a suitable chink in the bark or other secure spot. Some moths will hatch just ten days after pupation, while others will ‘hibernate’ over the winter. One old method of deterring codling moth was to put a sticky band around the tree – I always thought this was to stop the caterpillars climbing up (silly me) but in fact it catches the caterpillars climbing down to pupate. Once there is a suitable ‘haul’ the band can be removed and destroyed. However, my money is on the codling moths in my friend’s garden, as this very morning we saw some caterpillars abseiling down from the branches like tiny green SAS men about to remedy a hostage situation.

Some fruits, as is the nature of things, have fought back. Some varieties have thickened skins, and hairy skins, such as those of peaches and apricots, are also shown to deter codling moth. Others have responded by producing ‘stony cells’ in the layer of flesh that surrounds the seeds, making it much more difficult for the caterpillar to munch through. In short, the battle between codling moth and stone fruit has probably been going on for as long as both have existed.

Various methods to reduce the predations of codling moth on human food have been tried, including the usual ‘spraying with insecticides’ method, which has resulted in insecticide-resistant codling moths, as we might have expected. Less harmful techniques for the garden apple tree include clearing away fallen fruit so that any caterpillars still in situ don’t have a chance to pupate, pruning to get more sun into the heart of the tree (the caterpillars require humidity to survive), and even scraping the bark to make less sites for pupation. Plus, encouraging birds such as tits into the garden and being tolerant of ants (who are excellent predators of caterpillars before they set up home in the apple) helps. Woodpeckers are skilled at finding codling moth pupae under the bark of trees. However, once the caterpillar is ensconced it is very well protected from practically everything, because to destroy the insect you’d have to contaminate the fruit.

However, the adults are strongly attracted to the smell of ripening apples, and this can be used as a way of catching large numbers and disposing of them – the scent can be distilled into moth traps, and both males and females are likely to turn up. Like most pheromone traps, they are lined with a sticky substance like flypaper, which feels to me like a most unpleasant way to die. Still, at least it is very specific, and hopefully other species are not also enticed. It’s surely an improvement on insecticide.

Photo Two by By Slaunger - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20440883

Codling moth trap, Denmark (Photo Two)

So, I now have some perfect chunks of apple, and some that are full of caterpillars and holes. I imagine that for most of human history this was how it was. There would be good years and bad years, and on the bad years the apples wouldn’t keep as well, and more would have to be discarded. Still, it’s interesting that the bits of apple that haven’t already been nibbled are absolutely delicious, in a way that only garden apples seem to be these days. I’m happy to share my fruit with the little guys, but then my life and my livelihood don’t depend on it. I might feel differently if they did.

Photo Credits

Photo One by By Olei – Self-published work by Olei, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=810865

Photo Two by By Slaunger – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20440883

Friday Book – Dancing With Bees by Brigit Strawbridge Howard

Dear Readers, the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing is the UK’s most prestigious prize for all kinds of writing about the natural world, and this year I am determined to work my way through the shortlist. I was very happy to start with this book, ‘Dancing with Bees‘ by Brigit Strawbridge Howard – she is sixty-something, like myself, and has found much joy in reconnecting with the nature that she enjoyed so much as a child. When she says that:

I always warn friends who suggest going for a walk that they might like to think twice about having me as their companion, for I find it quite impossible to walk past anything small that moves or catches my attention without stopping to examine and admire it’. 

I (and probably my friends) can definitely relate.

Strawbridge Howard finds herself becoming interested in the natural world again through the medium of bees. At first, stories of colony collapse disorder cause her to look into the way that honeybees are treated, particularly in the USA where they are moved, in their millions, from place to place. But gradually, the empty space in her heart where nature used to be is filled by the buzzing of our many native bee species, and it is her exploration of these that takes up the majority of the book.

On the subject of honeybees, though, Strawbridge Howard introduces me to the organisation ‘Friends of the Bees’, who recognise that introducing honeybee hives into an area can outcompete other species. Her lovely husband, Rob, thinks carefully about introducing hives into the garden that he manages:

‘Had there already been large numbers of hives in the vicinity, Rob might thought twice about introducing a hive to his garden, as he would not have wanted to knowingly add more competition to an area already saturated with honeybees’. 

Certainly there were many horror stories when ‘urban beekeeping’ became a ‘thing’ in London a few years ago – there was so little forage that even the honeybees themselves were starving, so goodness knows what the impact was on other bee species.

And, as Strawbridge Howard points out

‘Keeping bees might well help increase crop pollination, but the fact is that you are no more likely to save bees by becoming a beekeeper than you are going to save ‘birds’ by keeping chickens’.

The author manages to weave her personal story through her developing passion for bees; the chapter ‘The Upside-Down Bird’, about the death of her mother, moved me greatly.  I love the tales about her misadventures too; as I’ve found, nature has a way of punishing hubris – just when you think you know something, you find out that it was much more complex than you thought.

But what I love most are the nuggets of information about bees, and the obvious joy with which Strawbridge Howard imparts them. I don’t think I’ve ever made so many notes in a book. Here are just a few:

When wild honeybees set up home in tree cavities, they tend to site their nests four to six metres above the ground to give the colony protection from natural predators….which is where log hives come in. They are basically hollowed-out logs, fashioned from trees that have been blown down in storms….They closely mimic the bees’ natural nesting sites and can be strapped on a tree, at exactly the kind of height where honeybees would be likely to establish a new colony. They have a very high success rate in attracting honeybee swarms’. 

Pollen, in its raw state, is indigestible. To make it digestible, the workers add nectar, together with saliva, gut enzymes, and wild yeasts. Over a few weeks, these cause the pollen to ferment. The resulting ‘bee bread’ (also known as ambrosia) is eaten by nurse bees -worker bees whose specific job it is to care for the brood- to produce royal jelly which, in turn, is fed to the queen and larvae, exclusively in the case of queen larvae and for about three days for others’.

Inside the nest, she (the queen bumblebee) secretes slithers of grey-white wax from glands in her abdomen and uses these to fashiion a little pot, about the size of a child’s fingernail and shaped like Winnie-the-Pooh’s honey jar. This she fills with her foraged nectar’.

For the bumblebee eggs to hatch successfully, the queen needs to sit on them and keep the temperature at around 30 degrees Celsius. She does this by disconnecting her flight muscles inside her thorax and shivering her muscles until her body reaches the required temperature’.

Within a bumblebee nest –  ‘Larger workers, being capable of carrying more pollen and nectar back to the nest than their smaller sisters, usually take on the role of foragers, whilst smaller workers stay at home, cleaning the nest, tending to the queen and feeding the larvae’. 

‘…a single Red Mason bee (Osmia bicornis), who collects pollen underneath her abdomen (rather than in a specialised pollen ‘basket‘) can be around one hundred times more efficient at pollinating than a single honeybee. 

‘..ground-nesting bees solve any potential water problems by smearing the sides of their nest chambers, which are seldom made at the lowest point of the tunnel, with antifungal secretions’

(Notes in bold are mine)

Common carder bee (Bombus pascuorum)

The writer is interested in a whole variety of aspects of ‘natural history’ – at one point she is investigating the history of her village in order to find out whether a particular species of bee is likely to live there, and I am reminded of my sudden interest in the history of Muswell Hill Playing Fields with their patch of ‘peculiar’ flora;

‘I have become a nature detective, investigating, digging deeper, leaving not a stone unturned in my search for evidence that the village of Sedgehill might be home to more than just one, lone Yellow Loosestrife bee’.

And, towards the end of the book, she realises that she has moved beyond just an urge to identify the bee species that she sees, and to learn everything about them, to a more holistic, open-minded search for connection. In this way, yet again, her journey mirrors mine. This could well be my mission statement:

Henceforth, I resolve to embrace lateral, creative and inventive thinking, as well as an inquisitiveness about, and wonder and awe of, whatever subject takes my fancy on a given day‘.

I loved this book, for its interweaving of the personal, the scientific and the historical, for the enthusiasm with which the writer’s discoveries are shared, and with the passion that burns through every page. I thought I knew a fair bit about bees, but there was lots here that was new to me, and plenty to provoke thought. Plus, it’s filled me with a desire to take a camper van to the Outer Hebrides and search for the Great Yellow bumblebee, or to a tiny nature reserve next to an industrial estate to find the Potter wasp. This book feels like an act of generosity, from someone who is filled to bursting with a love for the natural world, and with an irrepressible urge to share it with all of us. It’s certainly made me want to pay even more attention to the bees in my back garden, and to want to take even more care of them, which is a tribute to Strawbridge Howard’s powers of expression and persuasion. A worthy contender for the Wainwright Prize.

Common carder bee on spear thistle

 

Why I Love Litter-Picking

Dear Readers, I am a recent convert to litter-picking in our local area of ancient woodland,  Coldfall Wood. You might not think that picking up the rubbish left by other people and popping it into a mauve dustbin bag would be anything other than an unpleasant, unsanitary way to spend an hour, but I am here to tell you that you would be mistaken. And here’s why.

Firstly, there is the thrill of the chase. Once you get your eye in for the gaudy colours of a family-sized crisp packet, or the shine of the cellophane on a cigarette box, you start to be mildly disappointed when a stretch of woodland is pristine. By the end of yesterday’s litter-pick we were competing to see who could get their litter-pickers around the tiniest scraps of garbage.

The way the rubbish stands out also makes me think about how hyper-stimulated we are by the advertising and packaging around us. These colours look so unnatural against the cool greens and browns of the wood. There might be the odd splash of red as the berries on the cuckoo-pint appear, but compare that to the lavender and gold and the shiny silver interior of a bag of crisps and you can see how frantically companies want us to buy.

Plus, let us not underestimate the satisfaction of using a litter-picker. It’s like being in partnership with a very compliant stork as you close the ‘beak’ of the instrument around a bottle of discarded hand-sanitiser and pop it into a bag. There is something about the precision of the movement that is very pleasing, at least to me.

Secondly, if you are litter-picking, you are walking in the woods with a purpose. You are looking for what’s different, and somehow your senses are reset because you have to pay attention, to look for the tiniest scraps of difference. I can stomp through the woods and barely notice them if I have a big work problem to deal with, but now I am forced to slow down. It’s a kind of meditation, looking at the ground, looking under trees, watching for the things that are out of place. And then you look up, and the light is pouring through the hornbeams, and you let out a deep, heartfelt sigh. What a beautiful place this is.

Coldfall Wood 7.30 p.m. August 4th

Thirdly, by litter-picking you may be preventing further littering. There is something called ‘broken window theory’ – if a neighbourhood looks neglected, people won’t worry so much about adding to the squalor. When we are litter-picking, every person who walks in the woods will see that other people are concerned enough about the area to give up their time to clear up the mess. Often, people stop and chat, and it’s a chance to talk to them about what they’ve seen and what’s going on. For some, especially the children, it might be enough to make them think twice about dropping that plastic bottle on the path when they’ve finished with it.

Fourthly, it makes me curious about the stories of the rubbish. Behind a dense tangle of holly and yew there were the remains of a gathering – the aforementioned crisp packets, a wine bottle, the lid from a plastic box. That all says young people to me, although it looks as if someone was organised enough to make their own sandwiches. They must, like all young people, have really wanted a spot out of sight, somewhere private to have their picnic, but it seems a remarkably un-Dionysian affair. I wish they’d taken their litter home, but all things considered I’ve seen worse. And thinking about these things, and actually doing something about it, somehow softens me towards these ghost picnickers. It’s easy to get angry about the littering (and I do) but who knows what all the reasons are? Sometimes people simply don’t think about the consequences of their actions. Sometimes, they are disturbed and have to leave in a hurry. I’m sure a novelist could create a whole plot line just around this spot.

And then, there is the fellowship. At a time when so many of us have been confined to our houses, just to walk around the woods with another human being, even at two metres distance, is a fine, morale-building thing to do. There were eight of us litter-picking last night, and it was good to meet old friends, and to chat to new ones. It is wonderful to share a purpose with other human beings and to be united in a task, however small. This is how community is built.

Being in the wood as the sun goes down is another unexpected pleasure – the way the sun lights up the squirrel on the fence beside the allotments, the way the colours change. And maybe the final reason that I love litter-picking is because it feels as if we make a difference. We have filled half a dozen bin-bags with rubbish, and what was mess has been made clean. There is the satisfaction of undoing some of the harm that has been done  to the wood during this period of intense use, and it is a small way of saying thank you for the calm and beauty that Coldfall brings to all of us. I have learned that it is easy to stew in a big pot of judgement, fulminating  about what people should and should not do, and of course there is much reason for anger. But we are not powerless, and activism can be as simple as saying ‘I love this place, and I am not going to just stand by and complain about other people’s bad habits. Instead, I’m going to do something about it’. I’m sure that, tomorrow, there will be more litter in the woods, but tonight, as we walk home, we know that it’s better than it was when we arrived. And that is a feeling worth having.

Wednesday Weed – Prickly Lettuce

Prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola)

Dear Readers, during my recent visit to Barnwood I recounted finding this plant, cheerfully announcing that it was caper spurge, and being so astonished when I looked at the yellow, daisy-like flowers that I had to check that they belonged to the same plant. Hah! There’s nothing like nature for putting you in your place when you get too confident. This rather handsome plant (at least when it’s standing up) is in fact prickly lettuce, the closest living relative of our cultivated lettuce (Lactuca sativa). You wouldn’t think it to look at the plant, with its waxy leaves with their spiny teeth along the edge and their prickles on the midrib – it looks much less edible than dandelion or even sowthistle. However, apparently the young leaves can be eaten as a salad ingredient.

Photo One by By Me - I took this photo in The Hague, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=937504

Prickly lettuce leaves (Photo One)

The leaves clasp around the stem, and the plant exudes white latex if cut – this substance is known as ‘lactucarium’ or ‘lettuce opium’, and can be dried and used as a soporific. It is said to induce a feeling of mild euphoria, and was used in the UK and the USA as a cure for insomnia and as a mild analgesic from the 1900’s onwards. It was also included in lozenges and cough syrup as a way of easing a sore throat and dry, tickly cough. Lettuce itself is sometimes cited as a food that has remarkable calming properties, although having seen a lot of very anxious rabbits I’m not completely convinced.

The flowers are rather small compared to the size of the plant  – the one I saw was flattened on the ground, but would easily have been five feet tall if vertical. The flowers only open in the morning, a few at a time.

Photo Two by By Jeantosti, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=790020

Prickly lettuce leaf and flowers (Photo Two)

According to my Harrap’s Wild Flowers, prickly lettuce was introduced to the UK in 1632, and while still a plant mainly of southern England, it is happily moving north and west. However, in Richard Mabey’s Flora Britannica he remarks that the plant is ‘probably a native’. He also says that because the upper leaves are held erect in a roughly north-south plane, prickly lettuce has been given the name of ‘compass plant’ (by botanists rather than by ordinary folk, though I believe there is some overlap 🙂 ). Prickly lettuce is found throughout Europe, North Africa and Asia, and is naturalised in a number of other countries.

Photo Three by Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1021227

Prickly lettuce showing those north-south leaves (Photo Three)

My further investigations into prickly lettuce have led me to the cult of the Ancient Egyptian god Min, usually portrayed holding his erect penis in his left hand and raising a flail with his right. Prickly lettuce was sacred to the god, probably because the latex had a resemblance to semen, and Min was a fertility god. Lettuce was offered to the god as a sacrifice and then eaten by the men who had brought it (in a kind of ‘take a bottle to a party and then take it home when you leave’ fashion). During the Festival of Min, the statue would be taken out to the fields in the hope that the god would increase the harvest, and there were many naked rituals, including the climbing of an enormous tent pole.

It’s worth remembering that the fertility of humans, and of fields, was such a mystery (and in a way it still is), and was so important,  that keeping in with Min was undoubtedly worth a bit of naked-clambering and a few lettuces.

Photo Four by By zolakoma - https://www.flickr.com/photos/zolakoma/2862898326/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16089330

Image of Min from the Temple at Karnak, Egypt (Photo Four)

In Greek mythology, Aphrodite is said to have laid the dead Adonis on a bed of wild lettuce, which has led an association between lettuce and food for the dead. Look as I might, I can’t find a single painting of Adonis dying on any kind of salad vegetable, so you’ll have to make do with this one, which is by John William Waterhouse and apparently shows Adonis waking up in a bed of anemones. Much nicer, I’m sure you’ll agree.

The Awakening of Adonis by John William Waterhouse (1899-1900) (Public Domain)

And now, a poem. Sadly, poems about prickly lettuce are difficult to find, but as I remarked earlier, ‘our’ plant is the closest living relative of the cultivated lettuce. And so, here is a wonderful poem addressed to a lettuce. I love the poet’s wry voice, and the serious truths that this superficially simple poem conceals. Let me know what you think, as always.

To a Head of Lettuce

 

May I venture to address you, vegetal friend?
A lettuce is no less than me, so I respect you,
though it’s also true I may make a salad of you,
later. That’s how we humans roll. Our species
is blowing it, bigtime, as you no doubt know,
dependent as you are on water and soil
we humans pollute. You’re a crisphead,
an iceberg lettuce, scorned in days of yore
for being mostly fiber and water. But new
research claims you’ve gotten a bad rap,
that you’re more nutritious than we knew.
Juicy and beautiful, your leaves can be used
as tortillas. If you peer through a lettuce leaf,
the view takes on the translucent green of
the newest shoots. Sitting atop your pile,
next to heaps of radicchio, you do seem
a living head, a royal personage who
should be paid homage. I am not demanding
to be reassured. I just want to know what you know,
what you think your role is—and hear what you
have to say about suffering long denied, the wisdom
of photosynthesis, stages of growth you’ve passed
through. I can almost hear your voice as I pay
for you at the cash register, a slightly gravely sound,
like Kendrick Lamar’s voice, or early Bob Dylan,
both singers of gruff poetic truth. Nothing less
was expected from you, sister lettuce, nothing less.

Photo Five By GTBacchus - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6820388

Prickly lettuce (Photo Five)

Photo Credits

Photo One by By Me – I took this photo in The Hague, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=937504

Photo Two by By Jeantosti, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=790020

Photo Three by Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1021227

Photo Four by By zolakoma – https://www.flickr.com/photos/zolakoma/2862898326/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16089330

Photo Five By GTBacchus – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6820388

Sunday Quiz – Ladies and Gentlemen….The Answers!

Male gatekeeper (underside)

Dear Readers, can I have a big round of applause for Mike at Alittlebitoutoffocus who got 30 out of 30 for this week’s quiz. I didn’t think anyone would manage to get all of the answers correct, so very well done!

Dear Readers, here are the answers to Sunday’s quiz, which I think was a stinker if you also decided to try for the sex of the butterflies. The answers are below, and if you look at the photos, you’ll see that I’ve included a photo of the opposite sex, where relevant.

1) h) Clouded yellow (Colias croceus) – Male

2) i) Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) – Female

3) j) Large white (Pieris brassicae) – Female

4)m) Small white (Pieris rapae) – Male

5) o) Orange tip (Anthocharis cardamines) – Female

6) g) Purple emperor (Apatura iris) – Male

7) f) Painted lady (Vanessa cardui) – Both sexes the same

8) k) Small tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) – Both sexes the same

9) n) Small pearl-bordered fritillary (Boloria selene) – Female

10) e) Silver-washed fritillary (Argynnis paphia) – Female

11) c) Camberwell beauty (Nymphalis antiopa) – Both sexes the same

12) b) Brown hairstreak (Thecla betulae) – Female

13) a) Holly blue (Celastrina argiolus) – Female

14) l) Adonis blue (Polyommatus bellargus) – Male

15) d) Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus) – Male

Photo One by By Hectonichus - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56275091

1) h) Clouded yellow (Colias croceus) – male

Photo 1)ii by Colin Knight from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=15605

1) ii Clouded yellow – female

Photo 2 from https://butterfly-conservation.org/butterflies/brimstone

2) i) Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) – female

Photo 2 ii) by Neil Hulme from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=22501

2) ii – Brimstone male

Photo Three by By I, S Sepp, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2439462

3) j) Large white (Pieris brassicae) – female

Photo 3 ii) by Dave Miller from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=14552

3) ii Large white – male

Photo Four by Zeynel Cebeci / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

4)m) Small white (Pieris rapae) – male

Photo 4 ii) by Vince Massimo from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=14119

4) ii Small white – female

Photo Five by Jessica Towne / CC0

5) o) Orange tip (Anthocharis cardamines) – female

Photo 5) ii) by Mike Skittrall from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=20406

5) ii – Orange tip – male

Photo Six by I, Rosenzweig / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

6) g) Purple emperor (Apatura iris) – male

Photo Six ii) by Mark Colvin from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=15226

6) ii Purple emperor – female

Photo Seven by Jean-Pol GRANDMONT / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

7) f) Painted lady (Vanessa cardui) – both sexes the same

Photo Eight by By Jörg Hempel, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27756983

8) k) Small tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) – both sexes the same

Photo Nine by Neil Hulme, from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=23493

9) n) Small pearl-bordered fritillary (Boloria selene) – female

Photo 9) ii by Neil Hulme from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=24983

9) ii – small pearl-bordered fritillary – male

Photo Ten by Pauline Richards, from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=15133

10) e) Silver-washed fritillary (Argynnis paphia) – Female

Photo 10 ii) by Pauline Richards from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=15134

10) ii – Silver-washed fritillary – male

Photo Eleven by Paul Olive, from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=4714

11)c) Camberwell beauty (Nymphalis antiopa) – both sexes the same

Photo Twelve by Neil Hulme from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=15616

12)b) Brown hairstreak (Thecla betulae) Female

Photo 12)ii by Pauline Richards from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=15580

12) ii – Brown hairstreak – male

Photo Thirteen by Neil Freeman from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=22480

13)a) Holly blue (Celastrina argiolus) – Female

Photo 13)ii by Nick Ballard from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=14474

13)ii- Holly blue male

Photo Fourteen by Neil Hulme from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=16082

14) l) Adonis blue (Polyommatus bellargus) – male

Photo 14 ii) by Neil Hulme from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=14001

14) ii) Adonis blue female

Photo Fifteen by Neil Freeman from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=13841

15)d) Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus) – male

Photo Fifteen ii) by Mark Colvin, from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=11232

15)ii – Gatekeeper, female

Photo Credits

Photo 1 by By Hectonichus – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56275091

Photo 1)ii by Colin Knight from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=15605

Photo 2 from https://butterfly-conservation.org/butterflies/brimstone

Photo 2 ii) by Neil Hulme from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=22501

Photo Three by By I, S Sepp, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2439462

Photo 3 ii) by Dave Miller from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=14552

Photo Four by Zeynel Cebeci / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

Photo 4 ii) by Vince Massimo from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=14119

 

A Sunday Walk in Coldfall Wood

Dear Readers, since the lockdown Coldfall Wood and the playing fields next door have become the centre of outdoor activity for what feels like half of North London. Walkers, runners, picnickers, families with children, dog-walkers, berry-harvesters, casual drinkers, kite-fliers, cyclists, footballers, softball players, den-makers and skateboarders have all trooped through the woods. Some have observed social distancing, some have not. Some have left prodigious quantities of litter, other people have helped to clean it up. Some have moved slowly, noticing the clouds and the changes in the season, others have raced through, huffing and puffing, and some have done both at different times. Some have smiled shyly, some have bellowed into their phones. In short, all of human life has been observed during this past four months when I have walked here in the morning almost every day. Even on a busy morning you can find a  quiet spot, such as this lane next to the allotments.

One of the smaller trees has been pulled down by the ivy, and it is becoming a limbo-dance to get under it.

You never know what you’ll hear from the allotments – sometimes there’s the distant sound of a cockerel crowing, but today there was the roar of power tools. It didn’t completely drown out the yaffle of a green woodpecker, though, and there was an ardent woodpigeon in the trees cooing to his loved one.

We walk out of the lane and head towards the playing fields. There is always the brightness ahead, the sudden sense of the world opening out.

Running towards the light

The crows seem to be socially-distancing, but I imagine they are each patrolling their own small area looking for worms.

Elsewhere, autumn is well on the way.

Blackberries

Thistledown

Sycamore ‘keys’

There are a few common red soldier beetles (Rhagonycha fulva) about on the yarrow, but their heyday is when the hogweed is out – you can sometimes see dozens on a single flower head, and indeed some wag has nicknamed them the ‘hogweed bonking beetle’. The adults eat aphids and the larvae eat slugs and snails, so this is definitely an insect that you want to encourage in your garden.

And while this big critter looks like a bee, it is in fact a bee-mimicking fly, possibly a drone fly.

A woodpigeon is making the most of the elderberries – these birds really do prefer wild food to anything humans can offer, as anyone who has seen them fighting over ivy berries will attest.

Elderberries.

The Japanese knotweed is still doing extremely well I notice.

There is an unmistakable whiff of autumn in the air. Everything is in a hurry to spread its seeds before the nights draw in.

Greater knapweed seedheads

Seeds on my mysterious beet plants

Fennel seedheads

 

Am I the only one who loves the burdock? Actually no, the bees are quite keen as well….

Some things are still in flower, like the lady’s bedstraw.

And the spear thistle is still popular…

And then, as we reach the wood again, the coolness and the darkness are welcome.

A lone rowan tree by the stream

When I listen to the sounds of people in the wood, I wonder if it has been so intensely used at any time in the last few hundred years. Once upon a time it was coppiced every year, with the hornbeams being cut right back and the wood taken by ordinary folk to make charcoal or as tinder. What a social event that must have been! Not to mention when hunting parties rode through, and what a bunch of hooligans I imagine they were. It gives me some comfort that the woods are resilient, and have known all kinds of usage in the years that they’ve been in existence. The woods are a nature reserve but they are also a vital public space, used by people with no gardens and no access to the outside. Getting the balance between welcoming people and protecting the vulnerable parts of the wood right will be essential, because, as I know from my time volunteering in other open spaces, people have to feel that the woods belong to them too for them to care about protecting them. Let’s hope that some of the people who have never ventured into Coldfall Wood until the lockdown will grow to love it as much as I do.

Little stream in Coldfall Wood

Sunday Quiz – Ladies and Gentlemen….

Dear Readers, I hope that you can stand yet another insect-related quiz (the last one for a few weeks, I promise!) This week, I thought I would ask you not only to identify the species of the butterflies in the photos below, but what sex they are – I will give one mark for the species, and one for the sex. If the sexes are identical, you can say ‘both’. I suspect this is pretty tricky (though every week I am amazed), so good luck!

So, if you think the butterfly in photo 1 is a holly blue, your answer is 1) a). If you want to hazard an answer as to the sex, it will be 1) a) m (male), 1) a) f (female) or 1) a) b) (sexes identical).

a) Holly blue (Celastrina argiolus)

b) Brown hairstreak (Thecla betulae)

c) Camberwell beauty (Nymphalis antiopa)

d) Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus)

e) Silver-washed fritillary (Argynnis paphia)

f) Painted lady (Vanessa cardui)

g) Purple emperor (Apatura iris)

h) Clouded yellow (Colias croceus)

i) Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)

j) Large white (Pieris brassicae)

k) Small tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)

l) Adonis blue (Polyommatus bellargus)

m) Small white (Pieris rapae)

n) Small pearl-bordered fritillary (Boloria selene)

o) Orange tip (Anthocharis cardamines)

Photo One by By Hectonichus - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56275091

1)

Photo Two from https://butterfly-conservation.org/butterflies/brimstone

2)

Photo Three by By I, S Sepp, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2439462

3)

Photo Four by Zeynel Cebeci / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

4)

Photo Five by Jessica Towne / CC0

5)

Photo Six by I, Rosenzweig / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

6)

7)

Photo Eight by By Jörg Hempel, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27756983

8)

Photo Nine by Neil Hulme, from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=23493

9)

Photo Ten by Pauline Richards, from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=15133

10)

Photo Eleven by Paul Olive, from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=4714

11)

Photo Twelve by Neil Hulme from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=15616

12)

Photo Thirteen by Neil Freeman from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=22480

13)

Photo Fourteen by Neil Hulme from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=16082

14)

Photo Fifteen by Neil Freeman from https://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/album_photo.php?id=13841

15)