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Cake, Robins and Large Skippers

It started with a cake.

This morning, I made a Victoria Sponge. I am not a big one for cooking, but I do like making cakes. My mum always made them when I was a child and we used to fight over who would have the 'lickers'... the whisk arms, full of lovely raw cake mixture. As I child, I always thought that when I was a grown-up, I would make the mixture, then eat the whole bowl of mixture! It is not unknown for me to dip a finger in the raw mixture for a generous blob... I love it. My mum died when I was pregnant with my daughter, Charlotte. Whenever I make a cake, I always think of her.

As my children grew up, they too had the 'lickers' . Every birthday I have made them cakes, plus more in between. I am delighted that Charlotte, now 25, is also a cake baker, cooking cakes just as my mum did before me. Cameron is still in 'training'.... he likes the eating more than the baking!

Anyway, I made a cake and then thought I could not eat it all myself. I offered some to my neighbour and popped over to give to to her.

She mentioned that she had seen a robin going into her wood store, so I took my camera. Standing back and watching, I saw the robin entering the bottom section of the impressive collection of logs. When the adult had gone, I slipped my phone in and took a picture.... a nest with chicks that looked about a week old. Right next to the wood store was a lovely wrought iron gate and the robins were landing on it, beaks full of insects, before popping into the nest. The light was lovely, slightly back-lit with the green of the garden behind. I sat on their patio and took a series of shots as the parents were in and out...

I am getting a little obsessed with robins...

I loved photographing these two and they are quite used to people as the wood store is right next to the back door!

They also own some fields, that used to be grazed by their horses . With no horses now, the fields have been allowed to grow. They are truly stunning this year, so I went for a wander.... and wish I'd come up here before! Having planted some wildflower turf on a steep bank some years ago, the seeds from this have obviously blown across into the fields and nature has really taken over! It is just stunning and absolutely alive with insects!

I headed to the far end where, about 5 years ago, they planted a selection of trees to create a screen from the main road just behind. This part was my favourite part. The trees were only tiny whips when planted, but now were close on 8ft tall! The grass is long and full of flowering green alkanet, forget-me-not, bramble and loads more! It was like a little micro-climate and heaving with insects, including Large skippers; the first I've seen this year. It was glorious!

I will definitely come up here again as the summer progresses as more butterflies will emerge... all it was missing was a pond!

A final bonus... a huge Great Mullein plant on the bank by their house. I went to have a look at this impressive plant and it was covered in Mullein moth caterpillars! I was thrilled... Hazel less impressed!They are such stunning caterpillars....

So, I ended up having a major wildlife photography session, that all started with the gift of a cake... win, win for both sides, I'd say!


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