Friday, 31 August 2007


It has been a strange year. Comfrey normally flowers in May and June. A lot of plants seem to be flowering again or just lingering on, including magnolia, wisteria, rhododendrons, and clematis

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Minions, hurlers and cheesewrings

Rosie (third horse from the front, and Spot's equine third cousin) and friends (from lower Tokenbury) passing by the Cheesewring. The whole area is covered in the ruins of mine workings and evidence of very ancient inhabitation.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

flowing past

a soothing image of the Tamar flowing past on a sunny day


this could be the rayed version of lesser knapweed, but the bracts on the buds look much more like sawwort, in either case it is very pretty.

high street Venterdon

everyone is called Martin, packed for the winter holidays in Africa, and ready to go.

by popular request

dreaming of Frank, and the big boys in my life.

Friday, 24 August 2007

more fritillaries

I am not sure which of the large fritillaries this is. You need to get a good view of the underside of the wings to be sure and it was extremely uncooperative about this important issue, but it is either a dark green fritillary, or a high brown fritillary, or a niobe fritillary (only to be found in damp meadows in mainland europe!). It was fast moving and quite light coloured so it is probably a tattered high brown, and the forewing is gently concave. (there are lots of good butterfly links)

red bartsia

the small but intricate flowers of red bartsia, growing in meadows near you. Once considered a cure for toothache, hence its latin name odontites (as in orth-odontics ...straight teeth). It is semi parasitical and closely related to lousewort and yellow rattle (qv)

paintings by nature ... water mint

early morning dew on water mint, in a marsh near you

paintings by nature no 3891:- marsh woundwort

I never cease to marvel at the beauty and complexity of common things. This photo shows the beautiful intricate markings of the flowers of marsh woundwort, to be found growing in ditches near you.

something new - gipsywort

It is always exciting to stumble across something completely new. This is gipsywort. It is supposed to be common although I have never noticed it before. Superficially it looks like white deadnettle. It is the source of a black dye that, in the past, itinerant fortune tellers were supposed to use to give themselves a more swarthy appearance that would lend credibility to their gipsy/ancient Egyptian origins.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

red admiral of Venterdon

a beautiful day has brought out a lot of red admirals and painted ladies, and they are drawn like magnets to buddleia flowers.

a small visitor

a wood mouse, caught sunbathing, and surprisingly unworried about posing for a photograph.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007


these fingerposts are scattered through the parish. I am sure they exist elsewhere but they are very characteristic of this area. Beals Mill to the right, Bray shop and Stoke straight ahead; I can't make out the name at the bottom.

Returning to it later (22/8), I can see it says Calstock, which is surprising because it is by no means the closest village in that direction.

lesser stitchwort

the white flower is lesser stitchwort. It has very slender stems that are trailing through the more robust stems of knapweed. If you enlarge the photo you can see the characteristic cinnamon coloured pollen on the flower second from the top.

what sort of trash is this?

someone very kindly dumped these objets d'art at the end of Rowden lane. The lamp thing is very distinctive. Do you recognise it? Can we identify the villains?

Sunday, 12 August 2007

yellow what?

I am not sure what this is, I think it is a female yellowhammer, but could it be a female cirl bunting? I suspect not on the general principle that common things are common. Yellowhammers feed on the ground but like to sing from the top of trees. Notice swarm of horseflies about to descend on to photographer.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

eyebright, surrounded by the eponymous rattle seed heads, and below, the brightest of bright red, the scarlet pimpernel flashing at the sun.

himalayan balsam

this invasive plant is spreading along streams and river banks, but looks very pretty in the evening light.


a lovely sunny clearing in the woods, near the old mine workings, near Old Mill.


a very young buzzard taking flight. It was perched near its home nest, and making the piteous mewing sound that sounds like a cat being strangled, that tells its parents it wants food now.

Monday, 6 August 2007

cuckoo bee

I am not sure whether this is a cuckoo bee or a wood wasp, or something else, warming up in a sunny glade.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Greenscoombe meadows

the meadows were resplendent in purple, yellow and white today, full of betony and knapweed; it feels like late summer even though summer has barely begun.

Luckett woods

the woods were full of light today, it was very warm, and this brought out the butterflies.

silver washed fritillary

this is the silver washed fritillary, found in old woods especially in the south. It is distinguished from other fritillaries by the silver streaks or wash on the underside of the wings (rather than spots). It is a powerful and agile flier. It looks very similar to high brown fritillary, which likes sunny glades.


common centaury and self heal growing on the very arid and acid soil of a woodland path.

Friday, 3 August 2007

yellow corydalis

growing in abundance on the walls in Launceston although I haven't seen it anywhere else locally. Not a native plant but naturalised on walls. A close relative of the fumitories, poppies and cabbages. Corydalis seemingly refers to the crested lark.


view from the car park showing two churches and the keep. And, most importantly the golf club in the far distance.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

six tomorrow

Spot's best friend, Meg Anna H, who is six tomorrow. Happy birthday from the six der's


this pretty little butterfly is a hedge brown or gatekeeper. As a rule they are attracted to bramble blossoms. The sun has brought out butterflies in great numbers.