Monday, 31 December 2007

farewell 2007

goodbye and, for most of the people Spot cares about, good riddance to 2007, and hello 2008. Happy New Year to everyone, may peace and goodwill prevail.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

christmas log

happy christmas everyone from Spot's blog's dogs and logs, and Harriet.

Friday, 21 December 2007

winter solstice

well not quite because tomorrow is the shortest day, but the sunset tonight was a fitting marker for mid winter and the promise of the return of the light. The weather was very similar last year, it seems that these calm dry cold days are common around Christmas time.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007


I saw this buzzard fly down and land next to the pheasant; I think it was considering eating it but flew away when it saw us. The pheasant seemed totally unconcerned. Poor light explains poor photo!

little and large

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Sunday, 9 December 2007

stormy waters

the Tamar in spate this morning. The tree on the bank above the ladder is a useful reference point for comparison with calmer days (qv) at the same spot.


a cheeky collared dove seeking shelter from the rain and stormy winds.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

a pause in blogging

Spot and I apologise for the paucity of new pages recently but we have been on very few walks. With any luck things will be back to normal sooner or later, probably in the New Year. In the meantime if you are interested in local colour and views please explore the archives or try the labels for areas of interest.

Remember, things could be worse (we could be posting daily)!!

Monday, 19 November 2007

happy ewes

autumn is coming to an end. Contented ewes taking it easy near Trecombe.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Tamar dogs

Harriet meets Frank, and is determined not to let him get away.

more brackets

another type of bracket fungus, again growing on a fallen silver birch

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Nature notes - November 2007

Those of you not on the enormous circulation list of the Old School News (our local newspaper covering the parish of Stoke Climsland) may not know that each edition contains a short piece on local fauna and flora plus a photograph (colour if we are feeling very rich) (and much else besides). To find out more use link to the Old school (see local links to left). Here is the offering for November 2007

The long dry early autumn period has produced a fantastic display of colour in the local woods though it looks as if it will be short lived. It remains a very barren time for mushrooms although just recently a few have started to appear.

I have noticed that often I see things in photographs that I failed to notice at the time. For example the spot of ‘milk’ on the underside of a milk-cap mushroom. This illustrates the difference between looking and seeing. Konrad Lorenz, the father of animal ethology, encouraged his students to learn simply by looking, for example at a bowl of goldfish, for months on end, so that they would learn to ‘see’ behaviour. It took me a long time to realise that there are two species of butterfly orchid in Greenscoombe woods that look very similar, but now I have learnt to see them and the many subtle differences between the two. Seeing is the prelude to knowledge.

Animals must have brain states without thoughts (cognitions in the jargon), a state of perpetual looking. We have thoughts that allow us to ‘see’ into the world although our thinking can sometimes interfere with experiencing. Perhaps the best mental state that a naturalist can achieve is to experience the world with knowledge but without thought, the aim of meditation. And thus I can recommend the former in the pursuit of the latter.

And so as our summer visitors depart, and our winter visitors arrive, and the newts look for safe hideaways, the last red admirals bathe in the sun and the myriad leaves carpet the ground, there is much to see and experience. Try it.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

nothing goes to waste

brackets growing on the trunk of a dead silver birch tree, making it look like some exotic jungle flower

Friday, 9 November 2007

the DVD - reflections:- images from a cornish parish

DVD (for TV) now available. Eight audio visual shows, combining photographs and music on the themes of wild flowers, wildlife, the rivers and landscapes of Cornwall in the Tamar Valley in the area of Stoke Climsland (plus pictures not available on this blog).

Reflections on:-

blue (7.13 mins) all things blue
water (8.48 minutes) all things watery
yellow (5.08 minutes) all things yellow
spring (3.46 minutes)
summer (9.01 minutes)
autumn (12.49 minutes)
spiritus (3.11 minutes) the church in the land
rubbish (2.36 minutes) bad behaviour views

more than 50 minutes of scenes, flora and fauna, combining the tranquil beauty of the Tamar Valley with pleasant music. Only £10, on request (use Spot's email address at Ideal Christmas presents.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007


the starlings are back in great numbers. It is strange how they seem to disappear in the summer, and then return for autumn. The absence of posts recently is due to computer problems and no walks, but with any luck we will be fully functional again after tomorrow.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

mushrooms and other fungi

many zoned polyphore, very common, very variable colours, set off against the vivid green of sphagnum moss.

fly agaric

fly agaric just appearing above the ground (in exactly the same place as last year, see link)

foam monster

I noticed this little patch of foam at the base of a small pine tree in a dark patch of conifers. I have no idea what it is due to but presumably there is a bug of some sort making it.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

more autumnal scenes

in the woods near Broadgate, Luckett.


just to prove that rats are grey squirrels with bare tails. Current score:- rats 35 lurchers 0, match was abandoned at half time due to fog in dogs' heads.

Monday, 22 October 2007

sunrise spectacular

it was an amazing sight this morning as the sun rose over Stoke Climsland

Sunday, 21 October 2007

fungi are back

for the first time this year there are some fungi appearing in the woods. The top picture is of a coral fungus growing on a pine stump; it looks exactly like a piece of white coral, but smells unpleasant. The next picture is my idea of what a mushroom should look like, minus the caterpillar on the top smoking a hookah. The bottom picture is of staghorn fungi.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

a camera shy bird

It is surprisingly difficult to get a good photo of magpies. This solitary bird has been hanging around the garden for several days and coming down to feed on the bird feeders.

waiting for sunrise

rooks waiting for the sun to rise, the tower of Stoke Climsland church is just visible through the bare branches of the huge sycamores that stand over Venterdon duck pond

Thursday, 18 October 2007

looking for cold newts

I like the evil glint in this buzzard's eye.

as cold as a newt

a small newt of some sort that was caught out by last night's cold and was stunned into immobility outside the front door. As soon as it had warmed up a bit in my hand it was off. It was probably migrating from a garden pond somewhere nearby. All newts are protected (see link).

mist on the Tamar

with the first cold morning of the autumn comes the first frost, and the mist gathers in the river valley. Just visible in the far distance to the left is Princeton radio mast on Dartmoor.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Tamar images

a warm, soft day with early morning mist enveloping the river and moving through the trees. One solitary dipper bombing about.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

early hibernator

this hairy caterpillar (?tiger moth) was trying to burrow under a puffball, no hookah in sight though.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

meeting places

but I didn't have to walk far to see these rooks. I was wondering what they were doing but on reflection I think they were trying to warm up as the sun started to burn through the mist.

a soft day

the view from Kelly Bray woods, looking North. The church tower in Stoke Climsland is just visible through the mist.

Pictures are in short supply at the moment because walking is proving painful.