I've been on leave all this week and enjoying getting out and about, both home and away. Luckily the weather has stayed fair for most of the time and, on Monday, it was such a lovely day I decided to go for a walk. For a change though, I headed down the fields towards the old railway line, hoping I might see some different wildflowers and butterflies from my usual patch. 'Down the fields' is where we would play as children. Most of it is now covered in housing but there is still a pocket of overgrown land with well worn paths.
I'd barely stepped onto the path when I spotted this snail with the most amazing shell. Having looked at photos on the internet, I think it's a white-lipped snail. I suffered for my art to bring you this one - I was so engrossed in trying to get a photo that I completely failed to notice the big nettle in front of it! All the other photos were taken with tingling hands!
The railway line was abandoned over 50 years ago and almost nothing remains of it now except a short stretch of embankment and a couple of tunnels. I'm not sure if it was ever a passenger line or whether it was just used for transporting coal from the many mines which were in this area.
On the top of the embankment, none of the tracks remain and it's been colonised by plants which don't seem to mind the poor, gritty soil.
On one side, the field was being mowed.
However, on the other side, the grass grew tall so I headed down, attracted by the fluttering of butterflies.
I was pretty sure they were meadow browns and they led me a merry dance all over the field until one settled long enough for me to take this shot.
Back up on the embankment was this lovely honeysuckle, probably a garden escapee.
And this gorgeous plant, which glowed brightly in the undergrowth, goes by the wonderful name of fox and cubs!
Its commoner, less showy but still pretty, relative is hawkweed.
I also noticed a black and yellow ladybird on this ragwort. I did see some of the usual red and black ones too but thought this was unusual.
And finally, more butterflies. I didn't realise I'd photographed two different varieties until I was looking at the pictures later because they're so similar. This one is a large skipper.
And this one is a small skipper.
Quite a productive afternoon then and I'll be going back to explore some of the other footpaths another time though with longer trousers and sturdier shoes as it's pretty overgrown in places.
One last treat: my garden is full of the tweeting of birds at the moment and most of it is coming from the sparrows which recently fledged. This, let's be honest, pretty ugly pair waited patiently for food from their parents.
As I mentioned at the beginning, we've been out and about around Lancashire this week and I have a couple more walks to share. We're also out tomorrow but I'll tell you about that another time too. Thanks for all the lovely comments lately - it really means a lot to me. Enjoy your weekend and Happy 4th July to all my American friends. x