Thursday, 8 June 2017

getting wood

A large house-spider took up residence in an inaccessible nook near the shower. Too tired, from all that cycling to and from work daily, I left it 12hrs to contemplate how to remove it without killing it. Overnight it produced a cluster of eggs in a white furry cocoon. Fabulous. I asked Mary if she had any mesh-like material and she gave me a pot pourri container, a small meshy sachet you might put in a suitcase or spare bedroom. I fitted this halfway along the vacuum cleaner pipe so that when I vacuumed the spider from it's bolt hole it wouldn't do the whole flume into the rubbish but would stop halfway and I'd be able to eject it from our flat unharmed. This worked well but when I put off the switch and emptied it out it looked dead. Next morning it was still dead on the tenement stairs. Bummer. Within hours karma had paid me back - my mum was in hospital. Then my computer (old and limping on though not well at all) had ceased to work. 

We were supposed to be going North yesterday to Orkney for the Hoy Half (on Sunday) but Mary had the good sense to see the forecast was better here, And a couple of other things made us not head up country. We went for a run instead. Following a route that had been really marvellous on Sunday, 9 miles from Gullane along to Yellowcraigs on the shore then inland and back to G. I had taken (millions) and processed 40 photos of our run. Then the computer died and I lost them. As we ran yesterday I one-by-one replaced the lost photos although not all the wildlife could be induced to perform as they had on Sunday. The biggest stars previously had been Speckled Woods, a rather dull but magnificent medium sized brown (and speckled) butterfly that hangs about in woods. Although they have also taken up residence in the gorse and buckthorn that infests the coastline between Gullane and Yellowcraigs. The sun was shining on both days and as a consequence the Spotted Woods were out "perching and patrolling." They like dappled sunlit spots to sunbath with open wings and the males will perch and patrol their areas seeing off other males and also runners. We found ourselves being buzzed by swooping and swirling brown butterflies and spent quite a bit of time (on both runs) chasing the elusive creatures. They obliged by resting from time to time on the ground. I was very sorry to lose the original photos but almost managed to replace them with exact copies.

Speckled Wood


the best place for a Speckled Wood encounter
- wait and they will come

face like a horseshoe bat

having only a x3 zoom meant having to get down on the ground and crawl
you can see the idiot master at work on Mary's blog

After a long while messing about with the butterflies we left and nearly ran past a young deer about 15 yards off the path. I stalked it for photos as it was keeping about 20~30 distance and not very shy. I went round the back of it putting it between Mary and I. You can see her photos on her blog. I had to get close because I had the G3 camera and it only has a x3 zoom. The deer continued grazing but kept one eye on us. I reckoned it was young and foolish; then a spaniel, off the lead, approached from the other direction and the deer immediately became extremely alert and ran off.

dog alert! RUN!

2 flowers, both out of focus!

The tide was in and the sun was out. Which makes for lively photos of the rocks along at Archerfields. I like the way some of them seem to have writing on them. On Sunday I had been looking for rocks that read Mary, and knew I could always manufacture one via photoshop if I couldn't find one eaxctly right. I turned over this likely candidate and did the rest on photoshop. Trouble is I lost the photo and photoshop when the computer died. However I did manage to find the very same stone (a needle in a haystack chance of that) and have contrived a less convincing job with Windows 10 photo manipulation tools.

slick but no photoshop


lady stonechat

bloke stonechat

eiders (m)

Mary decided to climb on this rather splendid tree.

Just as she got astride the arch of it, she noticed it was covered in bugs. Red-legged Shieldbugs (Pentatoma rufipes) (despite the lack of red legs.) There ensued some panic and squeaking. And Mary wasn't much better.

Into the funfair mirros at Yellowcraigs then along the JMW paths with a last deer before out onto the road back to Gullane. Just as I was thinking that'll be the last of the photos an Orange Tip appeared and unusually sat fairly still in the nettles letting us get some decent shots. It was the icing on a very fab cake full of tasty wildlife and sunny scenes. I have no doubt my spirit soars when the sun shines. I had woken up full of dread and misery on Tuesday knowing I had an hour's cycle in pelting rain. But generally I think the atmospheric pressure effects the mood I am in - never a big fan of dull and rainy; but I think it's the pressure as much as the clouds and rain. And on days like this one - the very next day - I am full of the joys and could spend all day taking photos and searching the undergrowth for birds and bugs. I was delighted to be able to replace most of the lost photos, although there was at least one I hope to retrieve from the dead hard drive of Mary looking quizzically as a Speckled Woods dances round her head. But now we must head North. Big thanks to Mary for letting me take over her laptop to use while the computer is either fixed or replaced.

showing underside of wing
and face like a muppet

Orange Tip
first photos of the year although they have been about for a few weeks

traditionally we sprint the last mile up the road to Gullane

ziggy played guitar

bee off

magnificent marigolds

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