Category Archives: Farming

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 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.

Also posted in Butterfly, dragonfly, Insects, Landscape, South Downs National Park Tagged , , , |

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.



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.


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.

Also posted in Cattle, Landscape, South Downs National Park Tagged , , , |

Two Foxes

I took these shots about an hour ago in the garden. I was out there waiting to see if the foxes would appear. They seem to be becoming more accustomed to our presence in the garden, but it’s still very hit and miss. While I was outside I heard the sound of machinery coming from across the valley. The farmers were out working the fields up on the South Downs. This is the best photo I managed (with a 200mm lens, hand-held). The distance is probably about a mile.

Night farming

That passed a little bit of time (it needed several attempts to get a usable image) before the foxes appeared. The first to show was the nicked-ear male. He is now generally tolerant as long as I stay well back and don’t move.

fox (male)

His demeanour alerted me to the possible presence of a second fox, and sure enough I could see a vixen at the rear of the garden. She too seems to be getting more comfortable with us and eventually stepped forward out of the shadows. She’s a pretty vixen (but not ‘Pretty’). She was fairly cautious, but not spooked by the camera.

Fox (vixen)

I have several more images to process, but none of the pair of them together. I’m not complaining (but will try harder).

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens.

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