Sunday, July 19, 2020


Yesterday Dave and I took Olga to the cemetery for a rare family walk. I always love it when all three of us can go! And I was glad to find the six-spot burnet moths making their annual summer appearance.

They're black, with red spots, but sometimes when the light hits them a certain way they look shiny and iridescent.

Here's one in flight -- not the best shot, but you can see its bright red underwings. Often when flying they just look like a red blur.

And here's one joined by a bee on a thistle. Look at all the bright yellow pollen on the underside of that bee!

Anyway, we had a good walk, and I got some other pictures too, but I'll save those to fuel my blog's summertime bug-a-day theme.

I also found this very peculiar feather. There aren't a lot of green birds flying around -- except feral parakeets, and I suspect that's where this came from. Then again, maybe it's a turaco feather! (I haven't seen the turaco in a while, but I've heard it recently so it's still here.)

I suddenly realized yesterday that we're just a few weeks away from going back to school. The plan as it stands now is for all our students and teachers to return, with limited class sizes and activities, more physical barriers, distancing, masks in certain places and at certain times of the day and that kind of thing. Dave and I are both nervous about it, but we also recognize that life goes on. I'm not sure exactly what date I return -- I think it's a month from today. Just when I was getting used to all this down time!


David said...

The photo of the bee and the moth together on the thistle is absolutely stunning!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

When you've got worries, all the noise and the hurry
Seems to help, I know
Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city
Linger on the pavement where the neon signs are pretty
How can you lose?
The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares
So go downtime, things'll be great when you're in
Downtime, no finer place for sure
Downtime everything's waiting for you

Moving with Mitchell said...

Once again, your photos are astounding.

It's hard to remember what life was like just 5 months ago.

gz said...

A beautiful moth..moths are not given enough credit for their beauty

Sarah said...

Lovely pictures! I have only ever seen those moths in Cornwall. They are very pretty-such a lovely carmine red.

Andrew said...

A good photo of the bee and the moth. Parakeets are feral in London?

My sister is a teacher and when interacting with her year 11 and 12 boys, she is masked, but not when she is in front of the classes and speaking. She leaves the classroom door open for ventilation crossflow to clear out germs (COVID) and some boys complained they were cold. She told them to put on warmer clothing.

Re living in Manhattan, so you were there for 9/11 and did you blog or write about it at the time? I'd like to read what you said at the time. Leave a link in my blog comments if it is not too much trouble.

Sharon said...

That really is a beautiful moth and I love the flying image.
What happens when school starts here is still up in the air. There is a push to open schools but teachers are hesitant and rightly so. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. I would think with all the bad press our Governor is getting, he would take the more cautious path.

Fresca said...

Your photos of the city are a perfect example of what I was telling a couple just yesterday---they were bemoaning that they can't take trips abroad, and I was saying, look closer at the world around you, right where you are!

There are wonders in front of our eyes.
Photography is an excuse, and invitation to zoom in on them.

Ms. Moon said...

Your photos are tremendous. I can’t wait until I can see them again on something bigger than a phone. So you’re going to go back to work? I have such mixed feelings about schools reopening. I’m not sure about other countries but it seems so premature to do that here.

robin andrea said...

That six-spot burnet is so beautiful. I so wish I could see one. And that green feather, such a color! All that beauty is such a wonderful balance to these bleak times.
I hope that it is safe for everyone to return to school next month. It seems scary, but maybe safer there than here.

Jennifer said...

Our school district has come up with a complicated plan to reopen the schools, and it's actually pretty well thought out. Unfortunately we're hitting a crisis point in our local infection rate and our ERs and hospitals are a nightmare. Everyone is scared and upset about schools reopening but there are no really good options. I go back to work around the 24th of August, the kids go the day after Labor Day.

ellen abbott said...

yes, some great shots. I'd be nervous too. Now I'm wondering how the transition will be back to working every day. if you have to get used to it all over again or you'll be glad to be back, having structured days.

Edna B said...

I have never seen a six spot moth. Wow, it is really beautiful. I love the photo of the moth and the bee on the same bloom. The feather does look like it could have come from a parakeet. How wonderful that the three of you could enjoy walking together. School will be starting up here in another month too. I think it's being offered in two ways. Online and at the school. With all the same restrictions. In a way this is good. Our kids do need to get back to their classes. You guys enjoy the rest of your time off. Have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

Michael said...

Our school board is deciding this week what to do. I am nervous about going back as my smallest class is 29. What type of school are you in?

Barb said...

Wow - those moths are spectacular!I like seeing everyday photos of people's rambles.

Catalyst said...

I have never seen a moth like that though there were some gigantic all black moths in Mexico. These are quite spectacular with that brilliant red complementing the black.

BethB from Indiana said...

Have you said where you and Dave work (I mean, what kind of school, not the exact name)? I taught 7th grade English for two years at a Frankfurt International School in a little town outside of Frankfurt. I was there from 1985-1987 right before I went back to school at Indiana University to get my MLS. I was a librarian in California and then back in Indiana (Junior High) from 1988 until I retired in 2008. My former school district is going to stay with online learning and Zoom classes for the time being. I think I am glad I'm retired!

jenny_o said...

That moth's spots are so loud it reminds me of something a child would draw, not burdened by facts :)

Yeah, schools here are anticipating opening in September, our usual time, as well. They have quite a lot of mitigating changes in place, but I wonder how many teachers will take early retirement because they are older or have health conditions and don't want to take the chance? I know we must find a way to live with this virus because it's going to be awhile before there is an effective vaccine and/or treatment, but I have to say I'm glad I neither teach nor have children in school anymore. I feel for the children. They will be marked by this just as kids are during wars.

Red said...

When you go back to school you'll crank it back up in a couple of days. I think it's wrong to open schools. Kids don't do a space of two m.

Steve Reed said...

David: Thanks! A gift from nature!

YP: Sing it, Petula!

Mitchell: I know. It seems like another planet.

GZ: I agree. Some of them are really incredible.

Sarah: The cemetery gets them every year, and I've seen them in Hyde Park too. So they're around! They love knapweed and thistles.

Andrew: Yes, we have ring-necked parakeets (I think?) and they're feral. Kind of a problem, actually, although they're beautiful birds. I wasn't blogging yet on 9/11 -- I started in 2006 -- but I did write something just after the attacks, which I published in this post:
Also, I published some of my photos of the WTC before the attacks with this post:

Sharon: I think teachers are understandably more hesitant even than parents, who need school to take care of their kids while they go off to work. It's a tough balance.

Fresca: We haven't traveled at all for months (obviously) and it's been a real lesson for me, finding things to photograph each day. There's so much out there, even right in our neighborhood!

Ms Moon: I have mixed feelings too. Sometimes I think it would be a miracle if we DON'T get this virus.

Robin: Yes, I think the fact that our "R number" (the rate of new infections) is so far still low makes it much safer for us than it would be in the USA. But of course our R number could go up.

Jennifer: Optimally I think we should do a combination of distance learning and going to school, so there are fewer people on any given day. But I understand that logistically that would be a nightmare for parents to manage.

Ellen: Now that it's about to happen I'm sorry to lose my endless days of nothingness! But I'm sure the structure will be good for me.

Edna: They're beautiful moths, but I'm not sure they're in North America, so you may not see them where you are.

Michael: It's a private school with an American curriculum, mainly for kids of expats and parents who want their kids to attend American universities.

Barb: There's a lot to see when you're rambling and paying attention! (And I'm sure I miss a lot!)

Catalyst: They're really beautiful. There are other varieties of burnets with differing numbers of spots.

BethB: It's an American school in St. John's Wood. (You can Google it easily with that information!) Cool that you worked at an international school as well!

Jenny-O: Ha! That's awesome. A moth from a child's imagination! :) I wonder as well whether some of our teachers will decline to return. It will be interesting to see how the kids fare in later years. Fortunately, kids are very adaptable. I think in some ways it's harder on all us adults than it is on them.

Red: Yeah, there's not going to be much social distancing, I'm sure! Especially with the little kids. How do you tell kindergartners to keep a space of two meters?

Andrew said...

Thanks for the links. I will look tomorrow. It is late night here now.

Fresca said...

OMG! I was thinking I could enroll one of my girlette dolls in your school--they are entering third grade in the fall--
but I looked it up and . . . £28,200 for a year's tuition?



Looks very nice, even though the website does not use the Oxford comma. Perhaps because it's an AMERICAN school... (snort).