Despite the trials and tribulations of living here – no customer service, intermittent water, double guessing the weather etc. being here more than compensates.
Turning the hay yesterday I was treated to an aerial flying display by a flock of swallows as they swooped across the field all around the tractor to feast on the insects I disturbed. Their aerobatics were amazing; I kept expecting a collision as the dived, turned and generally put on an incredible flying display.
Cutting the swathe and then turning it for the first time disturbed a whole new lot of insects. Most numerous were the grasshoppers; they were all sizes and colours, brown, green, stripy and ranging from about half a centimetre in length to a whopping 5 or 6 centimetre one that’s body was at least as thick as my index finger.
There were also the locusts; bright green and looking like white fairies as they flew away. There were a lot of those and I almost stopped looking at them but then one of them dropped back to earth right next to the tractor and I realised that not all of what I though were locust were actually locusts; they were praying mantises.
I’d seen one 15-cm/6-inch brown one at the end of last summer but nothing since then. G had spotted a small green one when distributing the fencing posts and I had spotted another one when ploughing, but the long grass down by the pond was full of them. All that I saw were green and ranged in size from a couple of centimetres to 6 or 7 centimeters.
Having turned the hay I took a walk around the pond, the moor hens ducked away under the brambles and I could hear the coypu humming in its den. The butterflies, blue, brown, white, yellow, red admirals and peacocks all enjoying the swathe of thistles I’d left, flitted around far to fast and too far away for me to capture on the camera. I did have a go at photographing one of the many yellow and brown spiders I’ve seen this year – a bit out of focus as my little camera doesn’t do close-ups at all well. I’d seen quite a few of these running off as I cut the grass and they get quite large, the abdomen being over a centimetre long and around 3 cm overall including the legs, but walking round I found them on their webs. The first thing I noticed was the white zigzag on the web, I’ve not yet had the time to find out what they are but my guess is that as well as using the web, they might drop onto insects using the zigzag silk as a sort of bungee.
The pond has also been a focal point for hundreds of dragonflies and damselflies. There have been the azure blue and red damselflies black, brown, green and yellow striped, red and dark blue dragonflies. This, again out of focus (I’m still working out how to justify a new camera just for blog pictures), is one of the red dragonflies, a common darter I think.
It’s really not hard to put up with some trials and tribulations when this is the reward.