Blue Monday: Harebell
A wonderful six-spot burnet moth on a wild scabious flower, found on Saturday on the slopes of Box Hill. It was great to find a number of day-flying moths while I was out doing The Big Butterfly Count.
The North Downs, including Box Hill, provide a truly precious habitat for many butterfly and moth species. The day was dull but warm enough to bring out a few of my favourites! Also one I had not photographed before, the marbled white. What a beauty it is!
After such a lovely reaction from people to my burnet moth image last week, I thought I’d throw this one into the hat for Wex Mondays and the Fotospeed challenge today. There’s also a gallery of some of the other beautiful butterflies I spotted. The Big Butterfly Count runs for two weeks and you can even download the Butterfly Conservation UK app to your smartphone, to help you survey areas or add individual sightings wherever you are in the country!
also included into WPC: Collage
Eye To Eye
I have produced this portrait of a vixen for this week’s Wex Mondays challenge. I had the most wonderful encounter with her at Winkworth Arboretum during the week. I’d seen her wandering near the lake on a previous visit but that was fleeting. This week she approached close enough that I could have reached out to stroke her! Somehow I felt that actually would have been a violation of the trust she had given me. She is wild even if she is more used to the sight of people than many other countryside foxes! The most precious part of the encounter was when we made eye contact. She stood right in front of me for several minutes as I, naturally, chatted to her. I think she was mostly intrigued by the odd human in the motorised, moving chair! She stayed put even when I moved the camera to take her portrait. I wasn’t expecting her to lick her face, that was an added bonus! I then carried on photographing the busy blue tit parents, feeding their hungry brood, hidden in the boathouse walls. More on those blue tits soon! The vixen carried on exploring near me, stopping to sit and scratch, then circling all around me again. We chatted some more (you know what I mean!), I took a few more photos of her and then she resumed her patrol of the lakeside. I hope I will see her again on other visits but I will always treasure this particular encounter.
Face Your Fear
This rather dark image is my entry for this week’s Wex Mondays challenge. This is Box Hill Fort, set behind the visitor’s centre and cafe at the top of Box Hill. Last Wednesday I went out chasing butterflies again and I was looking for several species on the chalk hillsides of Box Hill. The fort was a rather stark contrast to the delicate little butterflies I was looking for. I was really struck by the graffiti on this wall. It’s not the usual splurge of spray paint or some unreadable moniker! No, this is polite, Surrey graffiti. It’s even been written using the local chalk from around the hillside, which means no lasting damage! And it rhymes; GO TO THE DOOR FAR FROM HERE, HOPEFULLY YOU’LL FACE YOUR FEAR. There’s actually no visitor entry to the fort these days as it’s now home to bats, which are a protected species in the UK. So, if you fear bats and you’re by the far door at dusk, I suppose you may well face your fear! In the bright sunshine all I found was a holly blue butterfly, which was more delightful than awful. I’m still not certain why the writer thinks that readers would be hopeful of facing their fear. I find it intriguing and perhaps that makes it art. What do you think?
The Old Fort is one of 13 mobilisation centres (known collectively as the London Defence Positions) built in the 1890s to protect London from invasion from continental Europe. The six acre site of the fort was originally purchased by the Ministry of Defence in 1891, and construction began in 1896. Box Hill fort was laid out in the form of an infantry redoubt, typical of the period, but also included magazines for the storage of artillery ammunition. Box Hill fort was designed for the use of the infantry only and the stored ammunition was intended for the use of mobile field artillery, which would be deployed nearby as required. A reform of defence policy by the Secretary of War, Viscount Haldane, in 1905 resulted in all 13 centres being declared redundant, and Box Hill Fort was sold back to the estate trustees in 1908.