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Friday, 27 June 2014

National Insect week

As it is National Insect week and it is not the best of days as far as the weather is concerned, I thought I would put together some of the insect photos I have taken at Charlecote Park and Upton House to share with you. Hope you like them.

      Have you noticed how many butterflies are amongst the flowers right now?

                                The Peacock and the Tortoiseshell Butterflies.

 There are loads around fluttering everywhere between the flowers. I always think it is strange how butterflies just suddenly appear. It is like one day you do not see any and then the next they are everywhere. I think I will set myself a challenge to see how many different ones I can find.

                                         Brimstone from earlier this year.

                                     The ladybird, every child's favourite bug.

 Bees are amazing creatures but people react in different ways to them, some run but others get closer and closer to watch them at work. They are quite fascinating to watch.

Charlecotes Honey Bees are always busy and we thank them very much for their lovely honey :)

Upton's honey bees also very busy.

Earlier this year amongst the fruit blossom.

Dragonflies and Damselflies many people mix up, myself included so I did a little research. Both Dragonflies and Damselflies belong to the same family of the 'Order Odonates' and all Odonates share similar characteristics between them which includes their membranous wings, their skinny bodies, small antennae and their big eyes. By the way the word 'Odonates' means 'toothed jaws' 
When you put the two together it is very easy to see the difference.

The Damselfly.

                                                          A Dragonfly

A Dragonfly's eyes nearly touch each other and are at the top of the head unlike the Damselfly whose eyes are separate and more at the side of their head. The Dragonflies body is not as slender as the Damselfly. Other differences are in the way the wings open as you can see in the photos. There are a few other differences but they are the main ones you can see.

The Damselflies like the Dragonflies come in many splendid colours. You can not miss the Damselflies at Charlecote Park at the moment as there are many all along the river, fluttering from one place to another.

Just a little interesting information I found while researching these insects. Do you know that fossils have been found of Dragonflies which have been dated as being over 285 million years old. Other fossils have also been found of creatures very much like the Dragonfly dating back to over 300 million years ago. That is before Dinosaurs roamed the Earth. I think that is amazing.

                       The colours are so rich. the Damselflies almost look metallic.

 I was told that these beautiful insects only live for a day so I looked in to this and found it not to be true. A Dragonfly's life-cycle from egg to death is normally around 6 months (4 months in flying stage) but there are some larger varieties that have been known to live up to around 7 years. In Britain they seem to die earlier through accidents, predators and bad weather. On average it is said they live only around 2 months in the flying stage.
Damselflies don't last long at all, maybe only 2 weeks but both spend longer under water as larva.

                                         I caught a mating pair yesterday.

 I have some spider photos too but as My Mother reads my blogs, I will not be adding them, sorry. I am sure I have some more insect photos which I will probably find once I  have posted this blog but that is the way things go. I have now set myself two challenges. The first, finding as many different butterflies as I can, the second, I must take my hubby's macro rings with me so that I can get some really detailed close up images of these amazing insects.

           Thanks for reading my blog, here is a link to the National insect week site.


                             Photos copyright Jana Eastwood

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Sky Ride visits National Trust's Charlecote Park

If you like cycling but don't like cycling alone or want to get out and join a group and go somewhere new, Sky ride can help. This year there are a few local rides aimed at all ages and abilities. Many of these rides are connected with the National Trust. Some starting at National Trust properties, some ending and some stopping for refreshments and a half way break. 
Charlecote Park is one of those properties joining Sky ride to give an all round better experience. There are two types of rides that link Charlecote with the local area. The first one which I was at Charlecote for when they arrived, is the 'Charlecote Loop'.

I was asked if I would mind coming in to take a few photos of this event and of course I was happy to do so which is why I can now share this event with you.
I did say in a previous blog that being a volunteer at Charlecote Park you can never get bored, there is always something new happening and it is correct. I love the challenges of taking so many different types of photos. You have everything in one place, Nature, Landscape, animals and wildlife, two rivers, a lake, a meadow and a beautiful grand house and gardens on top of all that. Then of course there are the special events from the Sky rides to Shakespeare plays. Always something happening. Plenty to keep everyone happy :)

The Charlecote loop was led by three team leaders for extra safety. One at the front, one in the middle and one at the back to make it all a more relaxing ride. 

                                  The team leaders on the Charlecote loop.

The riders entered Charlecote Park along the second drive between the avenue of trees which runs along the River Dene and has an amazing view of  the river and West Park. 

The bridge further down the River Dene leading into West Park. One of my favourite places to spend time. I could sit there for ages relaxing and watching the world go by, or should I say the animals :)

The Charlecote Loop is an 18 mile ride which starts at Warwick Racecourse stopping at Charlecote Park for a midway break and refreshments in the beautiful Tea Garden which I have to say is looking glorious right now. I will share some of the photos I have taken of the flowers there too.

The next dates for the Charlecote Loop Skyride if you would like to join them are the the 3rd of August and the 31st of August. For more information on the Charlecote Loop, click on this link.

Some of the beautiful flowers in the Tea gardens. It is full of colour, very beautiful.

                                                 The beautiful Foxtail lilies.

            The Tea Garden kiosk selling light refreshments.

             An ice cream on a hot day. Don't mind if I do :)

The tea gardens looking beautiful. Many of the riders had not been to Charlecote Park before and found it a lovely place to stop saying they would have to come back again for longer visit so that they could have a proper look around. Beautiful and stunning were just a couple of words used to describe Charlecote Park.

The Sky Ride Team leaders with two of the cyclists who joined them for the day in front of the entrance to the Tea Gardens.

The second Sky Ride which involves Charlecote Park starts at in Stratford-Upon-Avon Recreation Grounds Car Park close to the playground. Dates for this are the 29th of June so this Sunday coming, 10th of August and the 14th of September. For more information on this ride, here is a link to the Sky ride page.

I love the Tea gardens at Charlecote, it is like a secret garden of beautiful colours which you don't really see properly until you walk through the gate. Then you can really admire it. As you can guess I love sitting in there.  :)

Some of Charlecote's Fallow deer.

It was a beautiful sunny day at Charlecote Park

After light refreshments and a little rest, the group of Sky riders exited under the archway near the stables back up the drive between the avenue of trees.

From the look of everyones faces it looks like they have all had a lovely day and a good rest before heading back to Warwick.

This leaflet kindly given to me by one of the team leaders lists all the other
 Sky rides events in Warwickshire.
Click on the images to enlarge.

                                     For other Sky rides, check out their main website

Charlecote Park link

Getting Outdoors with National Trust
                                        Photos Copyright Jana Eastwood