It was overcast with a strong wind and spots of rain so not ideal for a visit to the Hawk Conservancy HQ at Andover. The displays are very good with the birds obviously happy to perform - often in large groups and then return voluntarily to their aviaries. The Milky Eagle Owl flew very low as did the Hooded Vultures and Kites. The Griffin Vulture tended to keep low over the meadows - I don't think many people would like that large bill coming at them. Swallows nested in many of the buildings.
Sunday, June 17, 2018
Six-spot (and some Five-spot) Burnet Moths were the commonest species around at most sites. On Chesil Beach, they were swarming in large numbers on the Viper's Bugloss. I recorded all the life cycle except finding eggs. Interesting that, at Cerne Abbas, they used the wire netting to suspend their cocoons.
Saturday, June 16, 2018
On Wednesday afternoon we visited the gardens at Mapperton Manor, the location of the 2015 film ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’. I was using a soft filter for some of the photos.
The valley gardens reflect at least three periods of history. On the top level is the croquet lawn, where in dry weather the remains of a parterre, possibly 17th century, can be made out.
On the next level is the Italianate garden laid out by Mrs Ethel Labouchere in her husband’s memory in the 1920s, complete with grottoes, stone ornamental birds, animals and fountains. An orangery was added by the current Earl of Sandwich’s father in the late 1960s.
Friday, June 15, 2018
On Wednesday, we climbed up Giant Hill searching for two particular butterfly species and managed to photograph them - Marsh Fritillary and Adonis Blue (along with lots of 5- and 6-spot Burnet Moths and a jade green Forrester Moth.
The origin and age of the Giant are unclear. Some think it is an ancient construction, associated with a Saxon deity or a Celtic British figure of the Greek Hercules.There is archaeological evidence that parts of the drawing have been lost over time. The lack of earlier descriptions, along with information given to an 18th-century historian by the steward of the manor at the time, have led some modern scholars to conclude that it probably dates from the 17th century, and perhaps originated as political satire.