For illustrated talks on natural history and history see

For illustrated talks on natural history and history click here for

Friday 30 August 2013

Violet Helleborine in a Sussex wood, yesterday.

This Helleborine was photographed in a shaft of bright sunlight.
And above, the same plant with flash photography.  It is setting seed well and is lucky to not have been trampled by the dog that failed to find its ball just four feet away.
There were only three or four plants.  On another the last flowers were just about to set seed.

Monday 26 August 2013

Guildford to Albury linear walk via river Wey Navigation & Tilling Bourne, including flour mills and a derelict gunpowder mill.

Shalford Mill in Surrey, owned by the National Trust is on the footpath from the canal (see previous blog entry) towards East Shalford lane.  It is well worth a visit.

An ancient drovers' track leads westwards under the Pilgrims' Way on the North Downs.
After Chilworth Manor the track crosses the Tilling Bourne river again, at which point is a remarkable ruin.

Near the end, the walk passes Albury Mill, which is gentrified and looks out onto the view below.
With fascinating visits to Shalford and the Gunpowder Mill ruins, plus a tea stop at a pub, it took us four and a quarter hours to complete this great linear walk.
A convenient bus links Albury to Guildford Bus Station for the starting point.
Why mill around boring fields when there is such a rich industrial heritage of mills to explore as a bonus?

Sunday 25 August 2013

The Beautiful Demoiselle & Vulcan V-bomber

The beautiful Demoiselle damselfly is often found near fast flowing water, as above.

What a contrast then, to see a Vulcan V bomber flying past; beautiful and in its day a deadly nuclear force.

Saturday 24 August 2013

Warren Lane, near Albury in Surrey

Warren Lane, near Albury in Surrey is deeply atmospheric.  It is so dark that it needed a flash to get these photographs.
Millions of feet and millions of gallons of water must have eroded this lane over millennia. 

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Footpath signs; Germany v. England, you judge.

England; colour coded for horses and people and the South Downs Way named.
Post may rot in the ground.
A German sign post.
More information...

and the post will not rot in the ground.
But take heart Brits!  The information on Network rail train stations is way superior to German railways' stations.

An Eight miles walk on the South Downs above Alfriston, East Sussex.

Walking doesn't get much better than this.  Eight miles walking with lunch at the Smugglers' Inn in Alfriston in perfect weather with Mid Sussex Ramblers.  Several clouded yellow butterflies were seen, which never settled for a photo'.
New vineyards are being planted in the dark fields above. 
That is optimism in the face of a global over supply of wine.

And for dinner, a salad of sliced iceberg lettuce, avocado, red pepper, tomatoes and sliced Bismarck herrings.  Yummee!

Monday 19 August 2013

Lesser (?) Treble-bar moth yesterday.

This appears to be a Treble-bar moth, Aplocera sp..  More info' at  It is readily disturbed by day from its food plant or surrounding vegetation, which explains why it was seen on Sunday afternoon in a wild flower meadow on the Downs.  It flies from dusk and after dark.  Thanks to Gwen Fermer for the id..

Sunday 18 August 2013

Oh deer!

Roe deer in a wildflower meadow on the South Downs today. 

Scores of Mint Moths, Pyrausta aurata, today on wild marjoram

There were scores of Mint Moths, Pyrausta aurata, today on wild marjoram on the South Downs.
For more information on this day flying moth please see,

Friday 16 August 2013

Fracking Myths; "The Times", Thursday, 15th August 2013

With protesters invading farm land in the village where I live, the attached article from The Times gives an objective view of "the facts". Use "Ctrl" & "+" on your keyboard to enlarge the picture to a readable size. 

The BBC news has focussed on the campaigners and, for example, this morning's Radio 4 "Today" programme was short on facts on the perceived risks. 

It is poor reporting by broadcasters when, on other issues, an equal time is given to prejudice and educated discussion consequently restricted in time available. 

Why also are we paying for outside broadcasters to stand outside Parliament or Downing Street at 10.00 pm when nothing will happen there? The BBC could save us money by stopping such ridiculous outside reports, especially on a Sunday evening!

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Butterflies & Moths in Rheinhessen

Attached are some photo's from a recent walk along the Rheinterrasse way from Alsheim to Oppenheim, near Mainz in Germany and from the surrounding land.  There were hundreds of Silver Y, day flying moths, Syngrapha interrogationis (above & below), which also migrate to England and can be seen in Sussex now.

A Jersey Tiger moth was an exciting sight.

This Brown hairstreak, Thecla betulae was also wonderful to see in a private nature reserve in Alsheim.
It is a great walk to Oppenheim to one of the finest Gothic churches on the Rhine.

For some of the finest wines from this region click here for details for Karl Breth, whom I have known since our teenage years... a long time!
Other wildlife to spot include Roe deer and some colourful Shieldbugs such as Graphosoma lineatum bonking below.  Click this link for more info;  

Monday 5 August 2013

Seaford to East Dean walk.

At Splash point at the end of Seaford Prom' Kittiwake chicks have taken to the air.
Kittiwakes are a joy to see before you set off up the headland.  Click here to go to the RSPB site on Kittiwakes.

The view back to Seaford and Newhaven and below towards the Seven Sisters last Saturday.

On a bramble in the middle ground was a Linnet.
And newly arrived from the Continent, a Clouded Yellow butterfly, below.
 It is out of focus as I was not prepared to follow it over the cliff!

The tide was out and the river was fordable, if a little painful on bare feet.
A route across open access land affords great views, including of the site of the second world war spitfire runway, below.

From the cliff path, the path towards Gales is rich with flowers and butterflies.  Clustered Bellflowers, above and a Painted Lady, below from France.
Chalkhill blues, Meadow browns, Peacocks, and Gatekeepers were abundant.
Lovely too, to see a Small copper. 

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