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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Flying machines

It was a dull, very cloudy morning with a cool breeze as I walked Buddy and I didn’t think I would see much of interest. But even on a dull day it is surprising what creatures are out and about.  I’ve had quite a problem identifying some of them though so your comments are appreciated if you can help me out.

Sitting on the brambles was a large brown butterfly that I think might be a slightly shaggy Ringlet or a Meadow Brown – can someone help?  It seemed bigger than the other Ringlets I have seen and the rings were not very clear. It certainly liked the brambles.

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Then there was a male Large White on a nearby leaf…. I could name that one!

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Next to that a ?? fly, help!

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And a flying yellow and black stripy thing… is it a hover fly?

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With a friendly bee….

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And then a few bigger flying creatures…. I guess the one below is a Herring Gull sitting on the chimney.

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And sitting on the garden fence… is this Mrs Blackbird?

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I wonder how many different flying creatures there are living in Crowland.  Clearly I have a lot of names to learn.,,,, help appreciated……

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Posted by on July 30, 2013 in Bird, butterfly, Insects

 

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Flutter buzz

This morning I spotted some old favourites and captured some new ones on film (or should I say SD card).

First was our garden friend the Large White (Pieris Brassicae).  There were lots of males and females fluttering around the gardens and the hedgerow by the fields this morning. This one is a female, you can tell by the spots. Know as ‘Cabbage Whites’ they are the only butterflies in this country that cause damage to crops.  Beautiful through, aren’t they!

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But perhaps more exciting for me today was my first glimpse of a Small Copper (Lycaena Phlaeas)…

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Its a tiny butterfly with a wing span of just 35mm and rather swift, so great to catch it sitting still.  Here is a close up…. it’s a stunning colour.

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On the same plant were a huge number of bees…. will need some help to identify these though…

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And nearby another new one for me… I knew it was a dragonfly but had to look up what type?  I think it’s a Common Darter, but am willing to be corrected.

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I wonder what new treats will be in store tomorrow?

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2013 in butterfly, Insects

 

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Windy Walk in the Fens

Its such a beautiful day today that I was really looking forward taking Buddy for a walk.  The wind was blowing but the sun was shining and the temperature was perfect for a walk in the countryside.

No sooner did I turn out of my drive then I met a bizarre sight…..  a purple balloon blowing in the wind…

Balloon blowing

The cat didn’t quite know what to make of it.  I’m not sure if it was more scared of the huge blowing balloon or Buddy the big golden retriever.

Cat

As we walk past the village gardens there are plenty of butterflies trying to shelter from the wind…. like this Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais Urticae)

Small Tortoiseshell

And Small White (Pieris Rapae)….

Small white

Soon the houses give way to fenland….

Field of Oats (2)

With beautiful cloud formations…..

Clouds

And plenty of butterflies trying to hide from the wind…

Butterflies clinging in the wind

Swallows swoop down across the corn fields…..

Swallow

And the Charm Tree rattles its chimes across the fens…..

Charm tree

A few Small Skippers cling on to the hedgerow…

Small Skipper

The fields of oats harbour a Large White (Pieris Brassicae)…..

Large White

And beautiful poppies…

Poppies

Oats stretch as far as the eyes can see and the sound of the wind blowing through them is so relaxing…

Field of Oats

The colour as the sun shines on them reminds me of the warm of steaming porridge..

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Buddy enjoys taking a short break as I admire the view.

Buddy and the oats

As we head towards home there is time for a last gaze out across the fields…

Crowland Fields

A moment to watch the Wood Pigeon taking a rest on the post….

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And then its time to head home.  How blessed I am to have such beauties of nature on my doorstep. It’s great to take time out to appreciate God’s creation.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2013 in Animals, Bird, butterfly, Landscape

 

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Sights of Zomba

Zomba in South Malawi was firstly the capital of British Central Africa, then Nyasaland, before the establishment of the Republic of Malawi in 1964, when it remained the capital until  Lilongwe took its place in 1974. The Parliament remained in Zomba even longer, until 1994. The city is best known for its Colonial Architecture and pleasant climate.  Its also the home of Chancellor College of the University of Malawi.

There were many beautiful birds at my place of residence… like this Dark Capped Bulbul.

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I stayed at Annie’s Lodge….

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And this was the view from my balcony, past the kitchen to the plateau…..

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Its a quaint hotel opposite the botanical gardens, a place not just for a peaceful walk among the flowers and trees, but also to watch the baboons.

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They were great entertainment!

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The gardens are a place to go back to nature, listening to the bees buzzing…..

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A great venue for an early morning walk…..

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Its just so peaceful….

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Couldn’t believe the size of these yellow flowers, they were 6-8 inches in diameter…. would love to know what they are called.  If you know, please comment.

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Loved the butterflies too.  I am told this is a Novice (Amauris Ochlea).

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Just a stones throw from Annie’s you can see the old colonial buildings.

buildings of zomba

Keep on walking up the hill through the forest and past the waterfall…

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and you come to some breathtaking views….

Zomba mountains

Zomba sunset

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If you are going to Malawi and want some chill time, then stop at Zomba! Its the perfect place to relax and be still with God.  He sure got my attention while I was there and the beauty of His creation was overwhelming!

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2013 in Animals, butterfly, Landscape

 

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Birds of Zomba, Malawi

The hills of Zomba in Malawi are a great place to rest and recuperate. I spent many house listening to and watching the birds and trying to identify them.

The first is a Woodland Kingfisher, a beautiful bird with a bright blue back, wing panel and tail. Its head, neck and underparts are white, and its shoulders are black. Although it is a “kingfisher”, it prefers drier habitats in more traditional woodland and can be far from water. It is often solitary but can occur in small groups

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Then there is the Dark-capped (or Common or Black-eyed) Bulbul, a noisy bird that likes to sit at the tops of trees.

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The next one is one of my favourites, the Blue Waxbill is a tiny bird, but so pretty.

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You have to admire the beauty of the Yellow Bellied Sunbird……

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And the cheek of the African Pied Crows….

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Posted by on July 27, 2013 in Bird, Uncategorized

 

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Other animals of Liwonde

As well as elephants, hippos, crocs and birds, Liwonde was full of plants and wildlife.

One of my favourite African trees has to be the Baobab. The Baobab Tree is known as the tree of life, with good reason. It can provide shelter, clothing, food, and water for the animal and human inhabitants of the African savannah regions. The cork-like bark and huge stem are fire resistant and are used for making cloth and rope. The leaves are used as condiments and medicines. The fruit, called “monkey bread”, is edible, and full of Vitamin C. I even bought a jar of Baobab jam at the park office, not tasted it yet though 😉

Baobab

Exploring the bush brought lots of surprises……. warthogs scouring for food…

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Buffalo in the savannah….

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A yellow baboon licking his wounds….

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Beautiful, agile, impala….

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Impala females walking through the bush…..

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A proud male Kudu modelling for the camera…..

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Think this might be his wife…. 😉

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A cute looking Bushbuck…

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I just love the target on the back of the Waterbuck…. 🙂

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Which antelope is camouflaged?

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This last one is my pic of the day…… I love the elegance of impalas, but this one looks lonely….

Lonely impala

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2013 in Animals

 

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Malawian Birds – feathered kind ;) in Liwonde

The Shire River is a spectacular place for birds.  We left Mvuu Lodge about 12 noon for our water safari along the river.

Mvuu lodge

When I read about birds in Malawi before my trip, it was the Fish Eagle that everyone mentioned.  And I was lucky enough to see one, both resting in a tree and in flight.  Beautiful bird!

Flying fish eagle

Fish eagle

Also along the Shire River were plenty of  kingfishers.  The first is a Malachite Kingfisher….

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Then the black and white, Pied Kingfisher…..

Kingfisher close up

Then there were the flocks of cormorants…..

Cormorant congregation

A white breasted cormorant close up…..

Cormorant close up

And the cormorant in flight….

Flying cormorant

Cattle egrets were a common site….

Ibis, egret and antelope

But perhaps more spectacular was the menagerie of birds sitting on the river bank.  What can you spot?

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How about a few close ups?

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There’s an African Open Bill, Whistling Duck and Egyptian Geese…

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Comb Ducks in the foreground above, and below is an Egyptian Goose…

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And oxpeckers on the Hippo’s back….

Hippo portrait

And last but not least…..a Hadada Ibis….

Ibis

A great day with nature!

River shire

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2013 in Bird

 

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