Yesterday it was all butterflies and today, thankfully, there were some birds to see. Brief walks in our local parks (Snuff Mills and Stoke Park) have produced lots of interesting things to see (and photograph).
Slideshow of my photographs on the walk through Snuff Mills
Slideshow of my photographs on the walk through Stoke Park
It’s definitely the season for butterflies rather than birds. Where better to see a variety of butterflies and damselflies than at the Yeo Valley Organic Gardens by Lag and Holt Farm just off the A368 between Blagdon and Ubley in the Chew Valley south of Bristol?
It’s six and a half acres of ornamental and edible plants in a seasonal patchwork that Sarah Mead and her team have been constantly evolving since they started the gardens more than 18 years ago. You can see how elements of the gold medal winning organic garden at Chelsea Flower Show 2021 have been incorporated into the garden. There’s also a decent café where you can get a coffee and cake or a light lunch (or indeed both as we did!)
With very high temperatures forecast for today (36 degrees C) we took advantage of the shade this morning to walk along the River Frome in a park on the outskirts of Bristol which is known as Snuff Mills. The walk takes you past an old water mill – the park’s name originates from one of the millers whose nickname was ‘Snuffy Jack’ because his smock was always covered in snuff.
We were hoping to see kingfishers but all we saw were grey wagtails and robins.
However, instead of the electric blue of the kingfisher we did see some Beautiful Demoiselles which are also a striking blue in colour.
There were other butterflies too; mainly Large Whites and Green-veined Whites and one which I had not photographed before, a White-letter Hairstreak. I managed to photograph it into the sun but as soon as I tried from the other side it disappeared in a flash.
I did see a copper coloured butterfly but couldn’t focus on it quickly enough to get a shot. I was hoping it was the Silver-washed fritillary that we saw a few days ago at Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire.
The National Arboretum at Westonbirt is a beautiful place to visit. It attracts hoards of people in the autumn but when we visited last week there were very few people indeed. It would probably be true to say there were more butterflies than people.