The Fluff of Dreams

Willowherb. One of my favourite plants, and at the moment it’s exploding with great swathes of candy floss seedheads, although most of them have been harnessed with gossamer like the willow twig and agrimony here: I heard the twittering of Goldfinches as I walked along, so they are presumably enjoying the seeds. The Cuckoo Trail is one of the few places I see Greenfinches this … Continue reading The Fluff of Dreams

Unsustainable Beekeeping

I started my beekeeping journey back in 2009, when following a particularly interesting module of my Natural Sciences degree with the Open University, I learnt about superorganisms and eusociality, aka colonial insects. I realised that it was possible to keep one’s very own social insects – honey bees! – but I quickly became confused and disillusioned by the instructions I was given for looking after … Continue reading Unsustainable Beekeeping

Thermosolar High Summer Update

The bees have been rather challenged by the weather this year and my hives have seemingly plateaued after a slow start. Dealing with hot, cold, wind and wet needs resilient bees, and I was interested to see how the Thermosolar bees did this year. The site looks great. I love this sort of unmanaged management and it shows what happens when you actually just leave … Continue reading Thermosolar High Summer Update

Meadow flowers and the Thermosolar hives

It was a rather murky day for my visit to the Thermosolar bees, but the meadow areas were brimming with bees and butterflies. Marbled White, Meadow Brown, a couple of Small Skippers were flitting above the flowers and grasses, joined by a variety of bees and flies. There were also numerous banded snails which looked extremely pretty against the daisies. I walked through the thigh-high … Continue reading Meadow flowers and the Thermosolar hives


In a previous post, I wrote how I was feeling chuffed that I had managed to pick two females from a batch of unsexed ducklings. Hmm. I was using the beak colour identification which is apparently pretty failsafe…for ducklings under 3 days old. The yellow/pink beaks of the females and dark grey beaks of the males swap over after a while, so pale beaks in … Continue reading Drakes