Thursday, 29 January 2009

a fox in the woods

we have never seen a fox in the woods before, and very rarely see foxes by day at all, probably because the pack scares them off. Unfortunately the photos are blurred even with the mighty Nikon because it was a very grey day and the light was poor. Even so, the flash of red is what you see. Spot gave chase for about 5 microseconds before returning to his usual buffoonery.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

here we go again

winter ends with a long sigh, and the first breaths of the New Year are the gallant little snowdrops, and frog spawn, risking the perils of a sharp frost to be first in the struggle for new life.

Monday, 19 January 2009

yellow brain fungus

the yellow brain fungus (tremella mesenterica) which certainly looks more mesenteric than cerebral, growing on fallen birch. One book says edible, and another says inedible; who do we believe?

Sunday, 18 January 2009


the hamlet of Rezare, with the holy well to the left. In the lower picture you can see Bodmin moor in the background. The pointed hill is called Sharp Tor, to the right is Kilmar Tor, and between them is Twelve man moor

pond life

beautiful colours from deep in the woods on a still, sunny day

Thursday, 15 January 2009


we would like to thank the person who found the tripod connector for the camera and placed it on a molehill by the river bank in the sure and certain knowledge that we would see it sooner or later which we did today during a long damp trudge with the pack plus visiting labrador, Alfie, and Dennis the menace, a collie from Newbridge.

It seems that President elect Obama is looking at buying a labradoodle, or a portuguese water spaniel; forget the poodle and the duena mutt, have a Cassie, the perfect lurcheriever. She never moults, she is very intelligent, and she has attitude, available now.

and good in snow. Comes wet or dry, but usually wet.

for more pics of us in the snow see November 2005. Three years blogging? Must be mad.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

let the trumpets sound

sorry about the lack of new photographs, but the weather has turned cold, damp and grey so walking has become an exercise in wet coats and muddy paws. I always find the period after Christmas very dreary, and February is the dreariest month of all.

Why is it that ecologists and greens are so elitist and unfriendly? I know humanity is the problem, and we are busily eating the planet, but we are also the only solution. If we head back to some false, imaginary, Elysian past, women will be the main sufferers; the life of unremitting toil will return. What Spot and I try and do is to share the joy of the world around us in the hope that more people will learn to value and cherish it. Should we worry that blogging and googling is supposed to keep kettles boiling? And maybe we do not hear enough about the qualifications and reservations that often follow statements of doom. And Venus is a lot closer to the sun, and only rotates about once every 8 months, so it is not a model of where we are heading.

We have to embrace change without alienating people, and we have to take all of humanity with us if anything is to change.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

more exotic ice images. The top picture shows concentric circles of transparent and ordinary ice, and of course even if the magic has worn off the pet twig, there is still plenty of action down on the forest floor.

Friday, 9 January 2009

gold on blue

It might seem garish, but the blue feeder seems to attract goldfinches. The arrangement may work so well because it reminds them of thistle flowers, with the blue container below the seeds giving them the impression that they have found an enormous thistle. The blue is probably very vivid in UV, and is acting like a lighthouse. They definitely think they have found a new motorway service station. Other birds seem to avoid the feeder. Behind is the new installation for watching the birds feeding which is fed directly into our PC, allowing many hours of pleasure. We are considering setting up a rabbit watch to provide even more canine amusement, ... and hedgehog watch ... and ... twig watch .....

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

owls and tits

coming back late last night we saw two owls fly silently past followed by a blood curdling screech (check the link) ... barn owls out hunting. We would really like to get a picture of owls but we never see them in the day time, so for the time being this pic, from yesterday, of a long tailed tit will have to do. Also lots of interesting twigs (see below).

Sunday, 4 January 2009

no frost and it flowers

our pet twig photographed last night, with the frost flower developing. There is no frost on the ground, and this is consistent with what happens in the woods (see below). It is some property of cold air on bare wood that has been in woods. I don't think the explanations that have I read so far quite hold up. It is not the woods themselves, or the cold alone.

Spot (bottom literally left) says he will lose the will to live unless we change the subject.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

frost flowers

At last I have some more information. This sort of ice formation is called frost flowers (see link and Wiki), and is rare, and has never been reproduced in controlled laboratory conditions (according to the source). In fact, it seems highly likely to me that the critical factor is that it happens on water logged wood. Oh, the joy of science. We shall see.

Spot is yawning.

He wonders why there is no tag for calling a post boring

the plot thickens

soft rime on a piece of wood, that had rime on it yesterday and was brought back from Inny woods, and spent last night on the lawn. The formation of rime is not due to location in a wood or near to a river, therefore. It doesn't seem to form on other bits of wood lying around, but we will put that to the test next. Boring but all in the interests of scientific curiosity.

Friday, 2 January 2009

no rime or reason, mystery solved

at long last definitive proof that ice is ice (see earlier pics). And Spot says it melts in his mouth and tastes just like water. The ice formation is very distinctive. It occurs on twigs and small branches on patches without bark. It is very localised and it does not occur on all bare surfaces. I would have thought it should have a local name like Jack Frost's beard, Christmas rime, or St Nicholas's mushrooms. We have brought back a frost covered bare branch and placed it in a sheltered spot in the estate to see whether it happens here. Further research suggests this is a particular form of soft rime, possibly related to the unusual location in woodland in a sheltered river valley.