Before the Rains Came

The start of June was glorious, now? not so much.  I mentioned in my last posting that we had been out and about making the most of the summer sun so today I thought I’d share a few images (not a dragonfly in sight, I promise 😥, but maybe a butterfly 🙂)

Monet would be pleased! The first Lily flower to open in my pond the variety is ‘Xiafei’

Speaking of great artists I mentioned last time visiting ‘Constable Country’.  The Constable being John (1776-1837) and the Country is the River Stour on the Suffolk/Essex border.  It was here that JC painted his greatest landscapes such as ‘The Hay wain’.  It was our first visit to the area and, well it’s ok but the paintings are better.  Times change and I prefer the more romanticised view of the past to the reality of the modern scene, cafe/visitor centre/activity centre/paddle boarders/etc.

Willy Lott’s (house) Cottage. A feature in some of Constable’s works. Mr Lott was the tenant farmer at the time and apparently only spent four nights away from the property in his whole life! (oh, and you can’t go inside)
The famous Flatford Mill. This is the best view I could find, there were a lot less trees about in Mr C’s day
The Stour at Flatford. Looking through the lock gates toward the bridge. The length of time I waited ’till the bridge was clear of folk and no day-glo paddle boarders were in view!

I have spent a few mornings visiting Hickling Broad.  As well as the usual suspects I have been keeping my eyes open for a very special wasp.  Regarded as extinct in Britain the Fen Mason Wasp (Odynerus Simillimus) was re-discovered here in 1986.  These very small wasps nest by burrowing in the ground and forming a ‘chimney’ style entrance.  I was delighted to find some on my last visit.

Fen Mason Wasp, Hickling Broad, Norfolk, June’21

Of course no visit to Hickling would be complete without a shot or two of our Broadland beauty the Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio machaon ssp britannicus).  Thing is they have been few and far between due to the cold spring.  However the day I saw the wasp six were on the wing.

June 2021. A very late start due to a prolonged cold spring. this one favoured the Ragged Robin

30 thoughts on “Before the Rains Came

    1. Spending his life scratching out enough to survive I’m sure Willie would be dumb struck at our modern extravagances! As for John, I bet he wished he could have had a share of the eye watering figures his works go for.

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    1. Hi Tina. The house, mill and farm are owned by the National Trust who lease them to an organisation called the Field Studies Council. The buildings are used by school parties and families for learning so entry to them, for the visiting public, is out of bounds.


  1. The countryside looks absolutely lovely! Commercialization aside, I suspect one could wander about and find some terrific landscape venues. Oh, wait. You already did!

    Love the shot through the lock gates of the bridge, even if no actual humans are in view.

    Very nice find on that wasp! It’s chimney building habit sounds fascinating.

    Wonderful detail on your Swallowtail photograph.

    It certainly sounds like you had a great trip. Hope your weather improves!

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    1. Yes a very good day out Wally. There was some superb countryside but I failed to make my images resemble what I saw! That is where the great artist has the advantage.
      When the weather improves I will take another look and see if I can find some nests of the wasp.
      Have a super weekend!

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  2. Great pics B
    I am currently sitting in J&K
    Will be back in a few days hopefully
    Itching to write a post( maybe about Kashmir)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Finally a Butter we actually have around here. There has actually be an explosion of sorts here with the Swallowtail. For years I would see maybe one or two a year, however last couple they have become a quite regular sight. Congrats on the Lily and I’ll let you keep that wasp- we have plenty of other varieties that enjoy bombing me on a daily basis – one of my worst running injuries was due to one of those sneaky bastards ( Thanks for the virtual tour B!

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    1. Thanks for the visit B. You have lots of different, beautiful Swallowtails Stateside but not this one. The only place in the world to see this sub-species is on my doorstep here in Norfolk.
      That poor little ol’ wasp won’t hurt ya, mind you if you were Ron it would probably try and take a chunk!

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      1. Ah, I stand corrected. It definitely Looked very similar to our variety in color and shape. Feel free to slip one of those in the care box with your other special birds for me hehehe. Totally with you on the Ron front, I’ve learned to stand behind or at least a ways off to the side just to stay out of range from any fallout – I am pretty sure the birds can tell he is a cat owner and wasps just think he’s tasty.

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  4. The image of the Lily flower is lovely with its reflection and that wasp looks very special with its unique look while the Swallowtail is a real beauty. Great images Brian.

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