Bugs and bird update

Two weeks ago I posted some photos of some little creatures, the names of which I could not find.  Well, firstly, I am reliably informed that the little bird (shown again below) was a Western Bonelli’s Warbler.  (The birder, who identified it, had never seen one, so he was quite jealous).

Western Bonelli's Warbler

And, secondly, while I was back in the UK, I found a Collins gem book on Insects.  So I can now reveal these three with their correct names:

As a bonus, since I forgot to include this one, here is a rather splendid looking and aptly named Bee Beetle:

Bee Beetle

Crookstone Hill Walk, Peak District

After my few days in York, I drove over to Sheffield to stay with my daughter Sarah and her boyfriend, Karl.  Although the weather was somewhat overcast, we decided to go for a walk from Edale up and along the ridge to Crookstone Hill, before returning along the side of the valley.  Silly Mike forgot to take his camera, so these images are all courtesy of Karl’s mobile phone.

Millington Pastures ‘Run’

For the past week or so I have been back in the UK, visiting my dad in Hull, my friends in York and my daughter, Sarah, and her boyfriend Karl, in Sheffield.   I’m glad to report that my 93 year old dad is now fit and well and back home after another short spell in hospital.

While in York I played golf (though not very well) with my good friends Martin, Ian and Janice, but I have no pictures of that, so let’s move quickly on…  The following day I managed to go for a 10.5 mile (17k) run / jog / walk / stop and take some photographs with my mate Pete.  It’s a favourite run of his around the Yorkshire Wolds from Millington.   The route goes up and down and sometimes along the dry glacial valleys, so it’s a great workout.  Though as it was only my second run since my marathon in April, I hope you will understand why I concentrated more on the stop and take photographs part… 🙂

Walk to No Name Lake

I discovered this walk while browsing through some walking books in the local bookshop.  The picture of the lake, with the mountains reflected, looked superb, so I set off from Arolla, hoping to replicate it.   Unfortunately, the snow at 2,900m (9,500 ft) had not melted away sufficiently, so I will have to return later in the summer.

In keeping with the “No name” idea, I’ve decided not to give titles to these images and let them speak for themselves… 🙂

 

Eison (Bugs and Butterflies) Walk

One of the things I always look forward to when I go out for a walk, (apart from the exercise and the magnificent scenery of course), is to try and spot something new, or of interest, to capture on camera.  If I see something, like a butterfly, I’ll often follow it, wait for it to land and then try to get a close-up.  Bugs tend to be easier, as they move more slowly or may even sit still.  Flowers, equally, don’t move very much. 🙂

Then the fun starts…  When I get home and prepare my pictures for these posts, I scour my (Collins Gem, Butterflies; RSPB, Birds and Swiss Alpine Club, Our Alpine Flora) books to see what they might be, so that I can give them the correct title.  However, I don’t have a book on bugs and some birds are incredibly hard to identify.  A search of the internet for “Red bug” or “Small brown bird” reveals hundreds of images, none of which seem to match my pictures.

So I’m afraid the following gallery contains a few unknowns, some of which may be rare, I don’t know, but please let me know if you can identify any of them.  Also, I’ve cropped some the photos to provide a sort of close-up, so that you can see the detail of these magnificent little creatures.  I don’t know about you, but I think they are simply amazing.

Photographic footnote:  All of these pictures (indeed almost all of my recent pictures) were taken with a Lumix DMC-TZ58, point and shoot, camera.  If a subject stays still long enough, I can get the lens to within maybe 2cm (1″) of it.  The issue is sometimes getting the auto-focus to pick up the object that I’m aiming it at, but generally (or eventually) it works.  🙂

 

 

 

Walk from Evolène to Arolla, via the new Footbridge

For the past week or so, the temperatures in the Val d’Hérens have steadily risen to the mid-20’s Centigrade, (late 70’s Fahrenheit).   The alpine meadows are therefore bursting with an abundance of flowers, which, in turn, means an awful lot of butterflies and bugs…

Now, I always like to show you something new, so I was rather pleased that the Powers That Be have decided to build a new suspension footbridge over the river near Arolla.  It has always been a bit hit and miss crossing there, as the river bed spreads far and wide.  Each year the water seems to take a new course, to the extent that the old bridge, which was falling down anyway, spanned nothing at all.   (The even older bridge below the Sporting Hotel, which is mentioned in some walking guide books, was washed away years ago).  When I got there, the workmen were still putting the finishing touches to the bridge, so I was perhaps fortunate to be allowed to cross it.

Later, as I was sorting out my photographs, I noticed that a little creature, probably some sort of bee, had hovered into my picture of a patch of Bladder Campion (pic 8).  Normally, flying bugs appear as a bit of a blur and spoil the image, but I think it’s actually created a better photo, so I’ve included a cropped, more close-up, picture as 8a.

 

Skye and Canna

We left the Outer Hebrides as we’d arrived, to the beautiful sound of bagpipes.  This time the ferry would take us from Tarbert to Uig on the Isle of Skye and, from there, we drove back to mainland Britain, to stay with Jude’s good friend, Kate at the Waterside Café in Lochcarron.

We had hoped to visit St Kilda during our time on Harris, but strong winds meant our trip had to be cancelled.  As a consolation, and for her own birthday, Judith arranged a trip on a speedy, inflatable boat to the small and very peaceful island of Canna, which lies south west of Elgol on Skye and just off the coast of the island of Rum.

It’s not often you get such calm seas and blue skies, which enable you to see the full extent of the Black Cuillin ridge, so we were very lucky.  A traditional fish and chip takeaway, looking out to sea in Broadford, completed a perfect day !  🙂

Walk from Hushinish

For my final post on the Outer Hebrides, I thought I’d save the best until last… 🙂

If you take the single track road which runs to the far west of North Harris, you will arrive at a small group of buildings, called Hushinish.  From there, you can walk along a coastal path, about 3k or 1.5 miles north, to Traigh Mheilin.   As you will have seen from my previous posts, we saw many beautiful beaches on our travels, but I think it’s fair to say that this was my favourite of them all.

 

Scalpay

To the south-west of Tarbet is the small island of Scalpay (covering just 2.5 sq. miles or 653 ha).   It sits just 300m (about 1000 ft) off the coast of Harris and a ferry service operated until 1997 when a bridge was finally built.  At the far wesern tip, is Eilean Glas lighthouse, which was the first lighthouse to be built in the Outer Hebrides (and first illuminated in October 1789).

After parking in Scalpay village, Judith and I walked (6 miles / 9.5 k) along the waymarked circular path which runs around the island.  Though it is possible to drive and park within about a mile or 1500m of the lighthouse.