Saturday, 27 August 2016

lifted by a small copper

No I didn't make parkrun. Again. I am not a morning person. On the upside I got recognised (again!) at Falko's and they (the lady behind the counter and the girl who makes the coffees) knew the order before I spoke. Cheese Tongues today as the Raisin Brioche(s) were all gone by the time we got there. I fed bits to the Jackdaws, but have not entirely earned their trust as yet. They are smart. I will win them over.

I saw a couple of people flagging up national dog day yesterday on facebook. My contribution is the above pic of a dog taking a leak on its own lead. It's not that I am not a dog person (I'm not really a cat person either and in fact sometimes I think I'm not a person person) it's just I think the same people who treat their dogs like offspring, sometimes forget to mention the vet bills and the bags of warm dog poop when they talk about their furry children. And then there are the ones who don't pick up; or leave bags tied in the trees and on fence posts. Anyway enough celebrating canines. Here is a spider that reminded me of Broadway Boogie Woogie even though it is almost ENTIRELY different.

Because the wind was blowing in the opposite direction to usual we ran the usual circuit back to front. So along to Aberlady then across the bridge and back up through the golf course to the car park. Neither of us were feeling full of beans but somehow the coach talked us into some 5minute reps. I wasn't paying attention in class. I think I was in denial as I was thinking I'd make up for my absence at parkrun with attendance at Baddinsgill Round. Trouble is I have run it the last 4 years. And although it's a great event I was going out of loyalty to Nick of CAAC rather than because I felt fired up to run round that course. In fact I felt a bit tired after 3.5 weeks of quite intense work and was more in a kick back drink beer and whistle mood.

Now I know most folk do about 50 weeks work in a row but hey I'm not convinced that 5/7ths of our lives should be devoted to raising funds to sponsor the other 2/7ths though I recognise how it can give us direction and make one feel important. And of course it pays the bills. Anyway Mary says 3,2,1 and we are off and if she said 5mins x THREE maybe I didn't hear because I was recalling the pain of the first 2 miles climb up the Baddinsgill Round or how come I can't channel the same ambition into my work life I channel into my running career. And that richer people aren't, per se, happier people although they do go on better holidays and live in prettier houses.

30seconds brisk, 20 seconds faster, 10 seconds fastest. That for 5 minutes then stand gasping trying to see if Mary is holding up one hand or 2. Two means the towel has been thrown in, one means continue. She is quite some distance away and with the sweat pouring into my eyes I think it is one hand. Onwards and upwards. Next minute and I go past the Subs. Beyond this point dry sand is scarce and I have to zig zag and turn back to M who is near the subs. We are both breathing hard.

need a longer zoom

So, little is said except the count down to lap 3. Immediately we start you can feel the east wind which was invisible, moving with us on the first 2 laps. Another 5 mins of torture and I have a bright idea 90 seconds into the 2 minute standing recovery. I will write a message of encouragement in the sand with my foot. I am racing to get the last 2 letters done (and a photo) before the off...

Meanwhile Mary, some distance off is silently mouthing "wtf" watching me run back to the east end of the beach. Hadn't she already said THREE reps? Only 3. Not 4. Someone wasn't paying attention in class, or is it that he is so old he is losing his hearing, or too busy thinking about races and careers? Or, it (3 reps) was assumed, (since we only ever do 3 reps of 5mins) and maybe it was never actually said out loud?

I'm sure when I eventually watch the playback there'll be loads of good stuff I missed. Anyway, I got to the other end of the beach and still had some 90secs to go, so turned around and ran back; wow Mary's really slowed up this rep, hope she's ok. I ran back to the sort of patient disdain a dog chasing rabbits in the next field gets.


common darter

I was hoping there would be a few butterflies about as there was less wind than yesterday. There were, and a few darters as well. No sign of the damselflies at the pond although a ranger nearby said they would be there, sheltering among the reeds at the waters edge. Might have to return with wet suit.

However the big prize today was a Small Copper! I have been aware of these since June and seen 2 or 3 but they have until now eluded the camera. They are very skittish and fly off as you approach. Today I managed to get reasonably near and was glad I had the compact and x20 lens as the G3 would have been too far away. Also it is about half the size of a standard butterfly (painted lady / red admiral etc) But their vivid forewings give them away.

For a while, looking at websites with very good quality photos, I assumed butterfly hunters had the patience of a saint and robot-like steady hands. And maybe a net and chloroform. Given last week's encounter with a few specimens who didn't mind me standing right beside and taking photos for several minutes I am beginning to think it might be more to do with getting the subject in the right mood on the right plant, or sufficiently distracted by environment or temperature that it allows one to move in close. Although this small copper was slightly less timid it still flew off as I got within yards.
small copper (at last!)

We also checked under the boards where Mr and Mrs Mouse were living but they had moved on and a toad had buried itself in their nest. A couple of buzzards cruised lazily overhead yesterday and today but I didn't get a shot of either. If I can find the time between swimming projects and running (and work as a distant third consideration) I should come down here one day when the wind isn't blowing and make a point of recording the wildlife properly rather than just the stuff I bump into while running past.

a meadow brown very kindly obliged
Not the most spectacular, but if you get close enough, any of these dudes are fascinating.

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