Thursday 31 August 2017

Subtle signs of the changing seasons

Working on the outskirts of Kirkwall yesterday, I was packing away the tools ready to move on to the next task, when something fluttered past my nose, which can be a bit disconcerting when you're carrying a three-section aluminium ladder. After securing the ladders, I went to see if I could find the flutterer. Sure enough, on a low southerly-facing wall, was perched a Painted Lady butterfly. Not the only one I've seen this year, but always a joy to experience one this far north.

With only my phone to hand to capture the moment, I crept carefully forward and took a couple of shots. To my untrained eye, it looked to be an absolutley pristine individual, so I wondered if it had emerged locally.

There were also plenty of Red Admirals around, again, dressed in the best finery.

I was beginning to realise that the customer's garden was a bit of a nature hotspot!

In the evening, I was gazing out of the lounge window at Tense Towers, when I spotted a movement in the field over the road. With the application of a coat of looking at through my bins, the activity resolved itself into three Wheatears, busy foraging through the grassy sward. Apart from the local blackbirds, we don't see many members of the thrush family for most of the year, just the occasional Robin, Song Thrush or, as in this case, some Wheatears on migration.

Yep, here we are at the end of August, and all manner of species that came north to breed during our Summer, are turning their thoughts to heading back southwards. This may even include the morning's Painted Lady, which just seems such an incredible undertaking for a wee creature that must only weigh a few tenths of a gram.

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