Saturday, 4 June 2011

Endless Summer?

I'd accepted an invitation to head out west with Stewart, John & Roger to look for butterflies and dragonflies on Friday. The warmth of the sun was already obvious when the car pulled onto the drive early morning. Dressed for a day in the field I was taken aback when two of the Beach Boys slipped from the car to greet me. With no time to change I wedged my gear into the boot, I say wedged as the boot was so full of food I thought we must doing a food drop to Cumbrian Flood victims. "God only knows how they'll get through this lot" I thought.
The Boys set off for a day in the field

We'd no sooner left the street when the harmonies started with Stewart and John in the front; by the time we reached Acomb I was looking out the window thinking "Help me Roger, Help, Help me Roger". A civilised cup of tea in Roger's new lodgings set the pace for the day. We headed to Findlandrigg Wood aiming to connect with Marsh Fritillaries we couldn't have asked for a better day, sunshine as far as the eye could see, I was getting good vibrations.

 The Boys at Findlandrigg Wood ready to start (that's Roger with the beard and blue hat)

We fair surfed through the woodland paths to the meadows and very rapidly connected with our first big target of the day Marsh Fritillary. We must have had 20+ during the next hour, many posing nicely for images.
Marsh Frit

This was hot fun in the sun and we almost had the place to ourselves, though the odd butterfly pro (check the hat) came along to chat and get the boys autographs.
The Boys sign autographs.

By the time we got back to the car, the boys were getttin' hungry and it was time to take a load off your feet as the buffet was extracted from the boot. Stewart brought out a bar of Dairy Milk so large we used it as a picnic table. Even here the inverts kept coming with Red-necked Footman trapped as we lunched.

We moved on, all stoked up and ready for some Odonata our next target White-faced Darter at a secret location codename Blueberry Hill. Having visited the site before I got ample warning from the boys "Don't go near the water" exceptionally deep, fall in and you'd be gone forever they told me.
 After a tramp through the woods we emerged into a heather filled clearing, we had no sooner reached a small pool surrounded by wet sphagnum moss. I love to see da da darters and we weren't to be disappointed.  Good numbers of Four-spot Chaser and White-faced Darter. We used a couple of bare sun-bleched branches as perches and photographic aids.
Setting Up the perches (Roger's onto his second hat of the day)

All worked a treat and we just filled our boots for the next hour in the sun, it could have been California feeling that hot. The darters remained flighty throughout and a challenge to photograph but I have to praise the others, despite their age and jetlag they stuck to the task.

By now "it's getting late" and I had work so we cruised back over the 69, Stewart  was honking down the highway to ensure I was back for my shift. It's over now and even if I only get to see them just once in my life I won't be getting the summertime blues. I know I'll look back and this will be one of the best things we did last summer.

How's that 18 of the boys songs included in the post, would I do it again, sure I would.


Codders said...

They will soon be asking you to stand in for Chris P on Springwatch who only managed to get 2 song titles in on Thursdays show.


MalR said...

Great post, Alan. Very entertaining. I was wondering if, when you were in the car, you thought "I can hear music". No doubt when you got home, you decided: I'll write up the blog "In my room". During your trip, did you hear any barking dogs or other "Pet Sounds"?


Steve Gale said...

I've always found that Brian Wilson is a little bit suspect on his skipper identification... he knows his pugs though!

Ipin said...

nice post!

Killy Birder said...

Sounds like you've had 'fun fun fun' 'all summer long' whilst I've been stuck 'in my room.'
Cheers Brian
PS I think I prefer to remember the Beach Boys as they were rather than look at what they have become. 'God only knows how that happened.':-)