Monday, 30 July 2012

Pop Corn

The corn is drying out nicely in the sunshine.  Have you ever stood and listened to it on a warm day?  It makes a lovely popping noise.  I can imagine the little grains popping open.

This Small Tortoiseshell was basking on top of the crop.  The males pick their territory and rest with open wings waiting for a female to fly by.  If the female settles he will approach her from behind and drum his antennae on her hindwings.  After some time she will fly into the cover of vegetation and he will follow her to mate.  They tend to remain coupled until the following morning. 

Small Tortoiseshell is a very common butterfly but numbers have declined.  A parasitic fly (Sturmia bella) is
thought to be the problem.  It lays its eggs near the butterfly larva; the larva eats the egg whole; the fly grubs hatch and eat the poor larva from the inside.  Horrid!!
The fly only arrived in Britain in 1998 as it prefers a warmer climate.  A side effect of Global Warming!

Soon be harvest time - it tends to be around the middle of August - then we will get better views of the young pheasants again.  A female came onto the lane with three chicks last week so they are about but hidden.

Here's a visitor that never hides - he follows me closely every time I pick up a trowel!

While I was snapping this I felt a warm touch on my back and thought Andy was behind me.  He was no where in sight and the warm area cooled rapidly.  I realised a Woodpigeon had pooed on me!  Do they say that's a lucky sign so you don't feel so bad when it happens?  If so, it doesn't work!

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