Monday, 31 May 2010

on the road today

hedgerow painting by Mother Nature, and below the mysterious innards of the comfrey flower. (Linnaeus, the great cataloguer and botanist, was famous for his interest in things scatological, and the interiors of flowers are really very lascivious, but it is hard to find anything meaningful in comfrey's latin name, symphytum officinale ....unless it is a subtle reference to, well only doctors and physiotherapist will know).


some speckulations

a young mistle thrush learning to sing (above), and a speckled wood butterfly resting after mortal combat with another male (they are very territorial).

Sunday, 30 May 2010

sylvan settings

little stream running past New Mill and along Broadgate lane. Not sure what the red flower is but it looks like a garden escapee.

and the relic daffodil

one solitary multi headed white daffodil, surviving from when the meadows were used to grow daffodils many years ago. Again I like the sense of the meadow crowding in on this lone specimen. Diversity is everything.

and some orchids

marsh orchid (top) just coming into flower, and heath spotted orchid below. Sorry Carletta, we were 10 days too early. I like these photos because they hint at the tangle of life in the meadows.

common as blue

a nice close up of a common blue butterfly (male) sitting on a ragged piece of the head of plantain. This is a very petite butterfly.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

hungry chicks

We had a crowd of juvenile starlings and their parents in the garden this afternoon. The juveniles are much lighter than their parents and bigger (at least fluffier) and very demanding.

Friday, 28 May 2010

long tailed tits

long tailed tits are small birds and are all tail, as this picture shows. They are very shy of humans but very sociable with each other going around in family groups chattering away (si si).

domesticated bugle

a pretty picture of domesticated bugle grwoing in our garden along with some Spanish bluebells, welsh poppies, elephants' ears and a saxifrage ... is there anything English in our Cornish garden?

Thursday, 27 May 2010

early silver y

This is the earliest in the year that we have seen a silver y moth. They are usually immigrants from europe, and the spring invaders give rise to a second generation in the autumn. This moth flew in a swift and extremely erratic manner that was very difficult to follow.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Nocturnal visitors

Spot welcomes a hedgehog to the grounds of OH. This is the first hedgehog we have seen for a very long time and it is reassuring to know they are still around in our very hedgehog friendly garden (minus canine companions).By coincidence in the Spring edition of Wild Cornwall, the magazine of Cornwall Wildlife Trust, which has only just arrived, there is a request for sightings of hedgehogs to be reported to the Cornwall mammal Group (see link). So we have reported it and in doing so learnt our OS coordinates.

lanes of rivers

these images from the river Lynher below Golberdon today are very reminiscent of the lanes with their luminous tones of green. The midges are forming in great clouds as the day warms up.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

black legs, bluebells and trout

It has been very warm weather this weekend and the bluebells in our woods are at their peak. And, for the very first time we have actually managed to photograph a brown trout in the Inny.
Waiting for one of these (a demoiselle or blue agrion) to land on its head.


Saturday, 22 May 2010

too hot to stand

Cash, dreaming of lying in a field of buttercups. He sometimes gets up and does riding for the disabled.

Friday, 21 May 2010

almost done buildin'

it has been hard work (see here for the start of this year's work) but both nests are now restored and no doubt soon we will be woken every morning by the raucous sound of many hungry chicks demanding to be fed. The air is full of very busy house martins.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

queen anne's lace

cow parsley is out everywhere, and for a short time looks quite pretty (and fluffy hence one of its folk names) although umbellifers are not usually so attractive and many are extremely poisonous.

easy to hear, easy to see

a yellowhammer (probably a male, but with a very rusty chest), calling attention to itself with the characteristic call "bit of bread and butter and cheeeeEESe" except the call can be quite variable and this one missed off the cheese. His mate was nearby, and usually they feed away from the nest. Like many birds they have been badly affected by the use of herbicides and other changes in farming practice

Monday, 17 May 2010

morning glory

The lanes feel beautiful now with the larks above and the morning sun.

easy to hear but hard to see

a sky lark singing with all its might, barely visible against the clouds (it is a tiny speck right in the centre of the top picture) and brought a bit closer by the zoom. Unfortunately, our new trick of taking fast photos at very high ISO values doesn't work so well with our old camera.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

purple orchids

early purple orchids have appeared in large numbers on the drive into Duchy College. It looks as if it might be a good year for orchids even though we couldn't find any at all on Thursday in Greenscoombe meadows. The little blue flower is germander speedwell, and there is some sorrel about to flower

Thursday, 13 May 2010

cloudy Tamar

a quiet day on the Tamar, and below the inaptly named grey wagtail, foraging by the side of the road rather than by fast running streams where they usually live.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

small body big voice

a male wren singing his heart out, and very loudly too for such a small bird

Sunday, 9 May 2010

lady's smock or cuckoo flower or mayflower or...

two pictures of the local variants of the cuckoo flower (aka lady's smock etc). As I have described before the normal mayflower is a simple but pretty flower with four petals. these variants are double flowers or hose in hose varieties said by Richard Mabey in Flora Britannica (page150) to be common in parts of Devon.

Below is a picture of marsh marigolds (aka Kingcups, Mayflower, May-blobs, Mollyblobs, Pollyblobs, Horseblob, Water-blobs, water-bubbles, Gollins, the publican (? by whom). Mabey (see above) states that it one of our oldest native plants surviving the glaciations and flourishing after the last retreat of the ice, in a landscape inundated by glacial melt waters. It feels today as if the next ice age is about to start.

bluebells and ramsons

as promised everything is flowering at once this year. The woodland floor is covered with bluebells, ramsons (our wild garlic) and wood anemones, mixed up with stitchwort, and toothwort, and yellow archangel and everything else. The butterfly feeding on the ramson is a male green veined white, in fact the 'green' is a mixture of yellow and black scales. This is the first of two generations that will fly during the year, and it tends to be darker than the later generation presumably reflecting changes in the foliage

Thursday, 6 May 2010

before the canopy closes in

this is about the latest in the year we will be able to see who is singing in the trees before the leaf canopy closes in for the summer. Blue tit on top, and gold finch below.

I like diggin'

Cassie has been doing her best to keep true to her Cornish mining heritage

Monday, 3 May 2010

and it's getting greener

the canopy is gradually closing in and turning green (see same spot a bit earlier this year)

the fall of Spring

two images of Spring today (in fact you can just see the blaze of red to the right of Spot's house in the picture below)


Spot's house from Holmbush woods, looking North across the valleys of the Inny and Tamar, with Duchy Agricultural College to the left. Below is a picture of Spot in front of the ruins of the mine works at Holmbush which used to be a source of tin, copper and arsenic (hence the lack of vegetation under the trees) and is now a world mining heritage site.

cherry blossom breakfast

a coal tit tucking into a peanut breakfast. It reminds me of those beautiful oriental paintings on fine porcelain vases.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

and as soon as they are back

they start building again, maybe this one built the nest last year, or maybe it was born at this site. For more about house martins see this link