Summer Colours

I’m cautiously prepared to say that we do indeed have a summer this year. It’s still hovering in the upper 70°sF and I counted no more than about 10 drops of rain today. Even the storms have given up bothering us. The landscape is feeling the heat, but showing some fine summer gold.

wheat field

Wheat field providing a touch of gold in the South Downs National Park

Single stalk of wheat

Single stalk of wheat.

There are butterflies everywhere, with a sudden influx of the brightly coloured peacock butterfly. A small swarm of them have been occupying the garden for the past two or three days, enjoying the sunshine and buddleia.

Peacock butterfly on buddleia

Peacock butterfly on buddleia

Pair of peacock butterflies on the fence

Pair of peacock butterflies on the fence

Back in the fields, a pair of meadow browns were busy making more meadow browns.

meadow brown butterflies mating

Meadow brown butterflies mating

And at home today, a small tortoiseshell joined the peacocks at the far end of the garden.

Small tortoiseshell and peacock butterfly

Small tortoiseshell with a peacock butterfly to the right.

To complete the recent set of butterfly photos, here’s a red admiral from this afternoon.

Red Admiral

Red Admiral (the buddleia’s common name is Butterfly Bush)

The other striking garden invasion has been small swarms of migrant hawker dragonflies. For the past few evenings we’ve watched 20 or more flying over the garden. They are really difficult to photograph in flight, but I did manage this shot.

Migrant hawker dragonfly

Migrant hawker dragonfly

Plus a ‘proper’ photo when one briefly took a breather on the hawthorn.

Migrant Hawker dragonfly

Migrant Hawker dragonfly

Any post about summer colour really needs a sunset, and I’m not going to disappoint. This was taken this evening.

Sunset

Sunset over distant hill

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D. Wheat field, small tortoiseshell and red admiral, and the sunset taken with the EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens; Peacock butterflies and dragonflies taken with the EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens; and the meadow browns with the EF 100mm f/2.8L macro IS USM lens.

The Black Gulls

The local gull population is made up predominantly of herring gulls, but we do have several other species locally. The great black backed gulls, the largest of the native gulls, tend to stay close to the coast but the lesser black backed gulls do come inland, and we’ve had two or three pairs nesting on the roofs at work. Gulls being gulls they also visit the local pond at Falmer Village, which is where I took this short sequence early today.

Lesser black-backed gull

Lesser black-backed gull

Lesser black-backed gull

Lesser black-backed gull

The lesser black-backed gull is relatively rare around here (I’ve seen plenty of them along the Thames in central London). A more numerous visitor is the small black-headed gull. They do of course frequent the coast, but they often also appear in small flocks on the Downs; and at the pond.

Black-headed gull

Yes, its head is brown, not black.

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens.

Falmer Farmland

It’s still hot! The fields are quiet and everything is moving at a leisurely pace. This is the view of the fields hidden behind the small wood at the edge of the car park at work. There are certainly worse places to be. The campus itself is outside the South Downs National Park. The fields are inside it. I’m standing on the boundary line.

Wheat fields

Wheat fields

In the distance, cattle were quietly grazing. I hiked over in that direction at lunchtime.

cattle

cattle

There was one more treat as I left work. Three buzzards emerged from the woods. They headed away, but not before I unpacked the camera and took this shot.

buzzard

Camera note: cattle and buzzard photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens. The wheat fields photographed with the EF 24-105 F4L IS USM lens.