Sunday, 9 September 2012

Ashdown, Part 4

View over the Ashdown to the Airman's Grave.  Ashdown Forest, 6 September 2012.
View over the Ashdown to the Airman's Grave.  Ashdown Forest, 6 September 2012.
Soon after the trip shown in the last three posts, I went back with a different group, and we walked down a different slope to another stream, and followed that along for a while before climbing back to the car park.

It was a warm day and there were interesting insects everywhere, including half a dozen different hoverflies, and no doubt others that I didn't see.  I managed to photograph four of them, including this:

Hoverfly, Sphaerophoria species, female, on Cross-leaved Heath, Erica tertralix.  Ashdown Forest, 6 September 2012.
Hoverfly, Sphaerophoria species, female, on Cross-leaved Heath, Erica tertralix.  Ashdown Forest, 6 September 2012.
They look so big and fat from above, but from the side they look skeletal.  I caught another species cleaning itself:

Hoverfly, Eupeodes species, female, cleaning her wing with one leg.  Ashdown Forest, 6 September 2012.
Hoverfly, Eupeodes species, female, cleaning her wing with one leg.  Ashdown Forest, 6 September 2012.
First it pulled pairs of legs down the top surface of its abdomen, then it cleaned its wings one by one as shown here, drawing one leg down the wing and off the tip.  You wouldn't think that the legs could reach round that far and still work.

There were also butterflies, Red Admirals and several of these gorgeous Commas:

Comma, Polygonia c-album.  Ashdown Forest, 6 September 2012.
Comma, Polygonia c-album.  Ashdown Forest, 6 September 2012.
As well as those colours and patterns, it has a lovely scalloped wing outline. This one is shown against the flowers of our commonest heather, Ling, and you can see how its flowers differ from the Cross-leaved Heath shown above.  (So I'm not ignoring the plant life.) They have a more purple hue, and are what gives the rolling hillsides their colour at this time of year.

There will be a Part 5 next time.  Meanwhile, here is a closeup of the Airman's Grave shown in the distance in the top photo.

The Airman's Grave.  OFC trip to the Ashdown Forest on 6 September 2012.  On the cross: TO THE GLORIOUS MEMORY OF / SGT. P. V. R. SUTTON AGED 24 YEARS / 142 BOM. SQDN. R. A. F. / ALSO HIS FIVE COMRADES / WHO LOST THEIR LIVES HERE / THROUGH ENEMY ACTION / 11-7-41 / MOTHER    and on the wall: WELLINGTON MK2 BOMBER W5264 / IN REMEMBRANCE OF / FIRST PILOT HARRY VIDLER 27 HESSLE, HULL / SECOND PILOT VIC SUTTON 24 SIDCUP, KENT / OBSERVER WILF BROOKS 25 RAMSGATE KENT / WIRELESS OP/ ERNEST CAVE 21 WALLESEY, LIVERPOOL / AIR GUNNER STAN HATHAWAY 23 EAGLESCLIFFE, STOCKTON / REAR GUNNER LEN SAUNDERS 21 WHITSTABLE, KENT / TO LIVE IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE LEFT BEHIND / IS NOT TO DIE / 1992
The Airman's Grave.  Ashdown Forest, 6 September 2012
It's to the memory of the crew of a Wellington bomber that crashed here during the Second World War, on 11 July 1941.  The small tree is a Laburnum, and in the spring it will be covered with hanging strands of yellow flowers.

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