But, finally the clouds cleared. The rain stopped. The sun came out. Yay! The Beeston Wildlife Group annual BBQ at Cos Lodge was on. I grabbed my sausages and off I went.
To work up an appetite we all went for a stroll round the wildlife areas on the farm first. Our mini-excursion was led by Roger and Poppy Cope.
We explored the meadow where an extremely tatty marbled white was resting on lesser knapweed (Centaurea nemoralis). It was jolly windy so this is the best shot I could get.
Green-fingered Poppy has managed to grow mistletoe (Viscum album) on her apple trees. The new green berries were ripening on the female plants. Mistletoe is dioecious; has separate male and female plants.Field scabious (Knautia arvensis) and lady's bedstraw (Galium verum) were putting on quite a show in Peter's field.
The gusty wind was most vexing. Close-ups were impossible.
There are a couple of information panels which remind walkers that these areas have been set aside as nature reserves.
The clever little female beetle cuts and rolls up leaves in which she deposits an egg. There are photos of the adult beetle here. I'll have to pop back and see if I can find some adults.
No trek round the farm would be complete without a visit to check on Beeston's most famous, if very small, residents. We found some firebugs (Pyrrhocoris apterus) flaunting their stuff at a field edge on their favourite plants; mallow (Malva sylvestris).
The bug's markings look like a sad clown face with a tear on each cheek. I just love 'em.
We then walked to John's Copse, marvelling at the signs of the advancing year along the path; hazel nuts, ash keys and rowan berries. Time goes so quick.
Past the green-man carving, in memory of Roger's brother John.The lemon-yellow flowers of common or yellow toadflax (Linaria vulgaris) brightened up a field edge.
The plant is also called butter and eggs. Which reminds me. It was time for sausages and burgers.
It was clearly hard work lighting and supervising the BBQ.
The weather stayed dry, although it was chilly later on. The conversation ranged widely. A few bats put in an appearance. The moth-trap was set. The nets were readied for the morning's bird-ringing.
As always, an enjoyable evening was had by all.