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David

Bracket fungi, Anglers Walk, Stratford on Avon

Blushing bracket fungus, Anglers Walk, Stratford on Avon

Anglers Walk is a footpath along the Avon heading upstream from Clopton Bridge at Stratford on Avon. It’s much less well known than the paths heading downstream. Until recently, most of the path has just had an earth surface, muddy after rain. The river is one one side, but the other side was rather overgrown with scrubby vegetation.

It’s much quieter than the route downstream – pretty much limited to fishermen and locals walking their dogs or jogging. But work has now begun to upgrade the site, with the aim that it should become a local nature reserve. Paths have been surfaced throughout, some newly established. A large area which had previously been dominated by teazles and reeds has now been cleared, with a couple of ponds or scrapes excavated to form the centre for a reed bed. Work has also been done on the woodland.

These two species of bracket fungi were on the same tree, which formed part of the hedge separating the path from the wooded area.

Higher on the trunk there were several fruiting bodies from a blushing bracket, with its distinctive reddish colour. Somewhat lower were fruiting bodies of a mazegill, with an underside having spore-releasing tubes which have the supposed resemblance to a maze.

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David

Hydrangea flowers, heavy frost

Hydrangea flowers, heavy frost

Hydrangea shrub in a local front garden, flowering when the first heavy frost of the winter hit. All the foliage was covered in crystals.

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David

Golden (!) apples in a front garden

Golden (!) apples

Yellow / orange crab apples in late autumn on a tree in a front garden. Were they chosen as a colour match for the Wolves shirts, perhaps?

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David

Caterpillars and pupae, Stratford Butterfly Farm

Caterpillar, Stratford Butterfly Farm

As part of their conservation work on tropical butterflies, the Stratford on Avon Butterfly Farm have a breeding programme. One room showcases this work, and has a few of the caterpillars on their food plants.

The pair of what look like they might be pupae (aka cocoons) were on the underside of one of the leaves of a banana plant in the big hothouse room.

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David

Butterflies, Stratford Butterfly Farm, Fifth Batch

Butterflies, Stratford Butterfly Farm, Fifth Batch

As promised, this is the final set of butterfly pictures from the Stratford on Avon Butterfly Farm..

All pictures were taken with the phone on a mobile. On previous visits, I used a standalone camera. That gave images of higher quality, and an ability to zoom in on tiny subjects several feet away. But it did also mean I had to wait for the best part of a half hour while the camera acclimatized to the heat and humidity of the hothouse on a cold winter day so that it was no longer misted up. No such problems with a moby, for me at least.

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David

Iguanas, Stratford Butterfly Farm

Iguanas, Stratford Butterfly Farm

For me, the start of the show at the Butterfly Farm weren’t the insects but the reptiles.

One was a rhino snake from South America: long, thin elegant and vividly green. It was in a vivarium, in a space which was attracting large crowds, so I looked but didn’t

Wandering more freely in the main hothouse area, there’s a pair of iguanas, also from South America. They can be a little hard to spot, preferring to find a comfortable perch igh up, perhaps partly hidden by the luxuriant vegetation. Once they have been spotted, a crowd usually gathers below, looking upwards towards the roof.

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David

Butterflies, Stratford Butterfly Farm, Fourth Batch

Butterflies, Stratford Butterfly Farm, Fourth Batch

Yet more of the pictures of the fabulous tropical butterflies at the Stratford on Avon Butterfly Farm. Only one more batch after these.

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David

Butterflies, Stratford Butterfly Farm, Third Batch

Butterflies, Stratford Butterfly Farm, Third Batch

More butterfly pictures from the hothouse at Stratford on Avon.

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David

Tropical cockroach possibly, Stratford Butterfly Farm

Tropical cockroach possibly, Stratford Butterfly Farm

The Stratford on Avon Butterfly Farm has a few tropical insects which aren’t butterflies: fire ants and some stick insects. But these are housed in vivariums, alongside axolotls, toads and a few snakes.

This was on the ground of the main hothouse, possibly a tropical cockroach of some kind which had hitched along for the ride.

UPDATE: on iNaturalist, drtimk IDs this as being a giant burrowing cockroach, native to the tropical zone in Australia.

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David

Stream, Butterfly Farm

A brief clip of the artificial stream in the Stratford on Avon Butterfly Farm. It feeds a large pool, heaving with koi carp.

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David

Butterflies, Stratford Butterfly Farm, Second Batch

Butterflies, Stratford Butterfly Farm, Second Batch

More of the tropical butterflies at the Stratford on Avon Butterfly Farm. We went in just after they had opened for the day, when the hothouse was still warming up. So many of the insects were cooperating with having their pictures taken by resting on leaves or feeding at the food stations.

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David

Swan (Christmas lights, Stratford on Avon)

A very brief video clip of one of the Christmas lights displays at Stratford on Avon this year: a swan, formed from LEDs, atop a fountain also composed of LEDs.