For water boatman, read pond skater! And come and tell us more about the Watermill wildlife, please.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

A sharp-eyed reader of our Watermill newsletter, Joanne Hobbs, has corrected me for describing the creature above as a water boatman. She tells me it is a pond skater and adds: “Water boatmen hang under the water and pierce their pray from below, which is much more exciting and gory.”

Thank you, Joanne, I stand corrected and my apologies to you and to anyone whose entomological sensitivities were disturbed by my inaccuracy. A pond skater it is, and from my quick foray on Google, they seem as gory as their insect cousins, the water boatmen. Their long legs and water-repellent feet allow pond skaters to walk on water, using the phenomenon of surface tension. They eat other insects, stabbing them with their beaks. Nature truly is, red in tooth and claw.

The wonderful picture above, of a pond skater resting on the surface of the water at the top of the millstream, was taken by Trevor Sanderson, a non-painting partner on a recent creative course at the mill, whose stunning photographs were a feature of a recent Watermill blog which you can see by clicking here (for water boatman, read pond skater!)

The Watermill is surrounded by two environmentally protected areas, the National Park of the Apennines, the backbone of Italy, and the Regional Park of the Apuan Alps, the marble mountains of Carrara, and although I revel in the teeming wildlife, my knowledge of natural history clearly leaves something to be desired.

I used to describe the ephemeral creature below has a dragonfly, until a guest also corrected me: it’s a damselfly, but no less beautiful for that. Our damselflies seem to come in two varieties, deep purple and a turquoise blue. The one below was photographed by our friend Jamie Martin.

And here’s another one, again photographed by Trevor Sanderson.

And this, if I am not much mistaken, is a lizard!

Picture: Jamie Martin

And here is one of my favourite creatures one occasionally sees around the Watermill: a hummingbird moth, photographed by another guest Ron Ploeg

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

I’ll continue to enjoy the Watermill wildlife, even if I don’t know their names. We’d love you to come for a walk in our grounds and along the millstream and river and enjoy them too. And I’m happy to be corrected!

You can see our wildlife for yourself on one of our Watermill creative courses next year – painting, writing, knitting and Italian language.

We haven’t really begun marketing our 2020 courses yet, but already more than 80 people booked in. There are preliminary details of all our 2020 courses on our website, by clicking here. Now is a time to get your booking in, particularly as we have what we call our Early Early Bird offer. If you book before 1 September 2019, you can enjoy any one of our 2020 creative courses at 2019 prices. You will save £100 or so! Time to be a busy bee!

Picture: Ron Ploeg