Saturday, September 13, 2008

Stave Hill on Friday

Glued to my computer last Friday I glanced briefly out of my window and was somewhat astonished to see a brief glimpse of sunshine through the clouds. I instantly decided to abandon my keyboard and cross my fingers that the sun would last. I was very lucky because the sun stayed out. I had the park completely to myself, failing to bump into anyone else whilst I was there.

I had a new macro lens attached to the camera. It was the first time I had used it and I have not yet managed become confident with it, so I had some mixed results.

The blackberries had nearly all gone over, and the untidily desiccated remains look rather sad. Elsewhere everything remains mainly green, but there are few other colours surviving. There were very few butterflies around and not many bees, but walking to inspect a small-flowered hypericum I saw a fabulous caterpillar, which Les later identified as a moth caterpillar: Knotgrass caterpillar (Acronicta rumicis) . It is a member of the Noctuidae family, which includes over 25,000 moth species. The moth itself is almost greyscale - a bizarre contrast to its caterpillar phase. The fly below is a Greenbottle (Lucilia caesar) which is a member of the blow-fly (Calliphoridae) family.

There are still "Veg. Survey" notices on fabric dotted all over the place, and I am still none the wiser what that is all about.

Everywhere I went there was the deafening cacophany of school children. I seem to have timed my tour of the ecology park with play time. I don't remember hearing the noise before, but it must have been there prior to the summer vacation.

Rounding Stave Hill itself I heard the sound of birds at the corner of Dock Hill Avenue, and paused to watch them - lots of pied wagtails and a small collection of absolutely delightful reed warblers. Unfortunately they were on the other side of a mesh fence and I was unable to photograph them. But they were lovely to watch and hear.

I went up to look at the sculpture and there was a bizarre scene worthy of Marcel Duchamp - adorning the bronze map was a single spring onion and a single tomato. Brown bottle glass surrounded the plinth, but thankfully there was no new graffiti.

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