All eyes

Neither of us belong to a gym or commit to exercise plans worked out by personal trainers but we are using all our senses and exercise our bodies with natural movement, balance and strength in fresh air and a natural environment. We don't follow set plans of x5 of this and x10 of that but we know we have moved when we arrive back home and have to walk from the garages into the bungalow!  

We have been investigating our local park/scrubland, suffice to say we have taken to secretly maintaining the scrub part of the park. Oh we wouldn't make it neat and tidy and will be annoyed if the council decides to tidy this little patch up as we have found new life just when we thought the season was over. Both of us are completely obsessed with the tiniest details we find in nature. People may say, 'oh another butterfly' 'your photos are all of butterflies or hoverflies' this upset me but after thinking about our recent adventures I know exactly how much effort we take and how difficult it is to find our subject and when we find them to actually achieve a photo. We work as a team with our eyes scanning a patch minutely. I could publish a lot of photos of the clues we have found to new life hiding for Spring and how each cocoon has incredible details, supporting eggs or minuscule insects. Our passion has grown and it's reassuring to know both of us have an incredible sense of closeness when searching for nature's treasures. 

We have to share the amazing time we had today, yet again in the same patch but something quite unexpected was lurking with big eyes at the side of the river. Dad was the chief spotter today, he noticed a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly, not with the bright colours of spread wings but a dark patch on a leaf, wings closed tight. I had passed the spot when dad called me back and there we stood looking at the beautiful tones of brown. Like the back of a tapestry, nobody may care for what seemed to be dark and just brown! He didn't open his wings for us to see but I used my earlier discovery to wide it was the Small Tortoiseshell as this was one of the colourful species we know inhabit the patch. Confirmed online the dark, crisp wings were his form of disguise as he reacted, we took some photos and left him alone. 

We were hoping to see the huge dragonfly I had spotted the pervious day but alas he didn't make an appearance or if he did we were too occupied with a set of googly eyes! We had to cross to the other side of the river which was easy before all the rain we have had. It wasn't deep and we wouldn't have been swept away but I couldn't Belvoir how nervous I was trying to cross on wobbly stones. My main concern was my camera, not me! Thankfully it wasn't a wide crossing and I got there, left my gear of the other side and went back to get dad......or should I say his camera....he had found a big branch to balance him and had a 'twig' to balance me on the way back!  if my sister is reading this she will be on the phone to shout at the both of us for giving her nightmares as our trips aren't safe, according to Heather. Our efforts to cross where rewarded. I found some pretty little hoverflies which didn't escape my lens and some tiny wild poppies, my heart's joy. Dad waited to surprise me when we decided we best go home as dark clouds threatened rain and there was no way we needed extra drops added to the river until we crossed over again. He let me discover the way he had by seeing a strange thing close to the river, going closer to find our new discovery, an Elephant-Hawk moth caterpillar. Our friend in Wales was sent a video from the scene and she soon replied with the name of our huge caterpillar with massive eyes. I was searching online and confirmed this is what dad had found, one of the good things about a local patch a data connection to find out more while on location. He was a little too cute as we would have loved to have brought him home to our garden but we both knew there was food he needed that our garden may not have and it was more important for him to be in scrubland. 

To find out what the actual moth looks like use a search engine as it is amazing. It is pink and green and the hawk description is apt. The caterpillars are about in August and September, hint we will be looking for more ;) when they are guarded the snout is retracted as with out photos but I also took a video with my iPhone when he starred to move and his elephant like nose was obvious. 

Personally I am enjoying the way our photography has taken us. We don't have to go far from home and be out all day, travelling miles and not getting back to put me out of routine. Dad's super enthusiasm for these new ventures is a joy to me although he keeps thinking about the weeds in our garden! He is pruning the Buddleia in our new patch to make sure it will flower with double branches next year! He carries scissors to snip bits of grass which may cover our subject and had his secateurs with him for the efficient pruning task. We aren't harming anything just keeping the patch as nature would like it. Someone removed the old plank of wood which we knew was used by the dragonfly and butterflies. We have replaced it with two pieces of tree trunk left lying in another part and true to for, the Peacock butterfly and the Speckled Wood are using it. I will have to add spiders use it too but they are not in my photography dept! Yes, we are as enthusiastic as my blog post sounds and we are going to explore more while we can. Butterflies are appearing less but it's the eggs, cocoons and caterpillar we are looking for amongst other things on our list. We don't know what we could find to beat today but we will keep looking

Our day in photos and a short video to watch the Elephant Hawk-moth move his ‘elephant like’ snout.

Our day in photos and a short video to watch the Elephant Hawk-moth move his ‘elephant like’ snout. EDIT: I have added a few vlogging videos, unedited to this link, just for the added fun of our safaris!