Wednesday 11th January 2017 A Great Life
Another day at Stratford Upon Avon Butterfly Farm, meeting Pat at the door, a feisty Brummie young at heart and lovely. Logged in, Tess, a young girl from Bremen, Germany over here to work, shows me where the equipment I will need today is and I am off into the Flight Area. Bucket, dustpan and brush, bottle containing 10% sugar water and a pipette in hand, the day is spent removing cobwebs, picking up dead leaves, removing spiders and the occasional cockroach.
Butterflies abound, the weather outside is sunnier than Monday so butterflies are flying.
Of course there is the interaction between volunteer and visitors that is so enjoyable and a school party of superbly well school children from Birmingham come through. Of the thirty or so youngsters three are scared of the butterflies. Today there are literally hundreds of them flying around, butterflies not children. One the scared threesome seems to be pretending whilst giggling most of the time as she ducks. Another child is clinging onto her teacher tightly but the last child is crying. I see them all again later as Adam is showing them around and all are settles and fascinated.
Going around the platforms of artificial flower feeders, filling the small tubes with the pseudo nectar shows how quickly the butterflies empty them.
Watching them as they feed on both these platforms and on cut fruit put out is fascinating, proboscis unfurled. With the fruit they show a definite preference for the oranges and grapes. The apple segments are ignored.
The two large green Peruvian iguanas are in a bush looking down on everyone who pass beneath.
Harriet is lining butterfly pupae along hanging sticks ready to go into the pupation chamber. The colours and shapes of these incredible packages of reincarnation are so beautiful. Many are spangled with metallic silver and gold.
Tess is holding a giant millipede to show it to some visitors and I get t hold the beautiful creature; a Mexican wave of leg movement as it crawls over my hands.
A train ride to Birmingham and a phone call from George Gay, the acting-assistant warden at North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory. George is part of our team, SpokesFolks, that is competing at the Champions of The Flyways (COTF) event in Eilat, Israel in March and is phoning about a well known birding optics company being prepared to sponsor us!
George is talking excitedly about it all when a gentleman stops by me, looks at me quizzically and then mouths, “Gary?” Ivan, for it is he, knows of my Biking Birder adventures, explains who he is and passes over a donation for the charities. Ivan is a fossil fish professor at Birmingham University and what a fantastic man to be so kind.
from the left : Jason, Adam, Steve and Steve, Oracle Phil, Jules and I
I am on the way to a curry night with fellow Midland Birders and a train to Blake Street, north of Birmingham sees me picked up by The Oracle, Phil Andrews and driven to the restaurant.
An evening of uplifting frolic and cavortment with birding exploits and memories, character assassination and food.