Thursday, November 30, 2006


It's getting a bit late in the year, but this Garganey was still at Blunham today. In the past couple of years, a drake has turned up at Woodwalton Fen NNR in Cambs - are wintering Garganeys going to become more commonplace?

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995 + Leica Apo Televid 62 with 20x eyepiece

Friday, November 10, 2006

Speckled Wood - indoors

I was on my way outside to fill up the bird feeder yesterday when I discovered this beautiful Speckled Wood sitting quite happily on the windowframe - inside the building. It seemed a bit late in the year (though there are still butterflies on the wing outside at the moment) so I consulted Ian Dawson, insect guru, and he came to have a look.

We were puzzling over what the butterfly was doing indoors when he found its chrysalis stuck to the doorframe:

He told me that Speckled Woods are the only British butterflies which can overwinter in caterpillar or chrysalis forms, but not adult... They only last for five days anyway.

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I Counted in Trafalgar Square

© Rob Jarvis/ Stop Climate Chaos

I went to Laaaahdahn today (by bus) as part of the 1,000-strong RSPB contingent attending the I Count rally in Trafalgar Square.

Before heading to the main event, we had a pre-rally pep talk nearby at the Emmanuel Centre.

Inspiring speeches from a variety of people got everyone in the mood, and it was good to see that representatives of the three main political parties had turned out: Ben Bradshaw (Labour), Peter Ainsworth (Conservatives) and Chris Huhne (Lib Dem). Maybe the next election will see 'green' issues at the forefront?

Then it was time to go...

Marching to Trafalgar Square

By the time I arrived (at the back of our march), the square was pretty full and we ended up spectating from near the National Gallery. But it felt great to be part of something big - attendance was estimated to be somewhere around 25,000 people.

Organisations taking part included the RSPB, Greenpeace, Tearfund, Sustrans, the Womens Institute, Surfers Against Sewage, CAFOD and Oxfam, so it was a pretty mixed bag. There were a few polar bears, orangutans and giant hares, too.

Ashok Sinha, Director of Stop Climate Chaos

As well as speeches from various figures - Ashok Sinha, the President of Islamic Relief, the Bishop of Liverpool, Rob Newman (who explained why you should boycott Shell and the Royal Bank of Scotland), and Miranda Richardson - the crowd was 'entertained' in the gaps by Simon Amstell. It's fair to say that he wasn't everyone's cup of tea and maybe didn't quite strike the right balance between being funny and being flippant. Ah well.

RSPB snowy owl placards

Squeal! Razorlight take to the stage

Any mention of Razorlight was followed swiftly with a chorus of female screams, but I think they'll have gone home disappointed as Johnny Borrell failed to remove his T-shirt (it was a bit cold for that).

But if Johnny thinks climate change is a cool subject, perhaps they will, too? The more the merrier.

Ordinary people in this country and around the world care about what happens to our climate and environment. UN talks begin in Nairobi on Monday, so we'll see what politicians are prepared to do about it.

More info on the I Count website

Wish you'd been there? Read more on these blogs (nearly all with photos better than mine):
photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sleeping beauties and other things

When I got to work this morning, it was beautifully sunny. Cold, but sunny, so I went for a quick walk around the garden. I found these wasps clinging to the ivy flowers for dear life. They were almost completely still, except for a few wiggling antennae and twitching thoraces.

I went back at lunchtime and found lots more wasps, looking much more lively, feeding on the ivy nectar. At this time of year, it must be a lifeline for them.

Vine leaves on the turn

Common Darters are still around in good numbers. Every day, I think 'they'll all be gone tomorrow', but it hasn't happened yet.

Red Admirals are probably the most numerous butterflies

Several Commas seen today, too.

Holly berries

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995