26 February, 2019

Normal Service Pt. 1; Vegetable

Well, normal for the moment. I've been chafing at the bit to get out and cracked at the weekend - as you will see elsewhere - but mostly I've been behaving and limiting myself to gentle ambles about the Patch. The weather in the following is a bit variable, as we have a heady and shameless mix of 'under the mistyfog' and 'in the blazing sunshine..!'
To sum up, I haven't found anything amazing [apart from early blooming plantses], best birds caught on camera being a couple of Meds [awful picture not in this post, don't worry].

But enough of that, what's to show if not tell?

I love these glorious beauties

If you don't like a nice Crocus [or twenty], then you need to a) get help, you are clearly insane, and b) skip most of this post. No sorries, I love them :)

Even closed they are wonderful


Also available in Yellow



While we're at it, a few more photos botanical..

Cut-leaved Dead-nettle
[Deep notches in leaf margins] 

Magnolias in bloom

Lesser Celandine

Or is it?

It's not often you get blossom..

..and berries at the same time.

Not in a garden


Remember my mad 
winter-blooming French Lavender?
Yes, it's looking very smug.

Rosemary getting in on the fun

Ultra-purple thing

Wait a minute....

Oh it's all fun and games. Coming soon: the next bit, with birds and other things.

Be Seeing You...

25 February, 2019

What A Difference A Year Makes

Late February 2018 saw blasting easterlies and actual proper people-skiing-in-the-streets levels of snow.

Like this, remember?

Blackcap vs Mealworm

"Dude, I appreciate the dry perch,
but how about a heater?"

Late February 2019 has hit 20° in Wales and 18° here...

As is traditional when the weather suddenly remembers the whole 'Summer' thing, my flat has come alive with the patter of tiny feets. Yesterday I went around my windows, ceilings, and lights, and counted 39 Ladybirds and 2 Conifer Seed Bugs. These just being the ones in sight - who knows how many more were lurking in the hidden bits?

Inevitably, a few photos have been taken.

Luminous Harlequin

"Oi, human, clean your window frame!"

Soggy one on my 
window scraper

If you've got Ladybirds,
might as well put them to use*

Western Conifer Seed Bug.
Helping with the recycling


Ok, that's enough, I think.

Let's have something else to finish.

Lone Blue Tit
[Regular visitor]

My head has annoyingly got in the way of having half as much fun as I wanted to, but I did manage to get out on Saturday, and so a post with pictures of things outside the Patch will be coming. Also, lots of flowers and assorted prettiness from inside the Patch.

Be Seeing You...

[[*My poor Blue Spruce, still going brown as the aphid infestation it caught in December continues to plague it... :( ]]

22 February, 2019

Pretty Bodies

Fungal, that is.

Yes, at last comes the post of assorted Patch fungi I'd promised.. er, last year!! Yikes.

Never mind the burbling, let's get on with it;

Oak Mazegill

Looking very little like the pics in the White Book, but just like the paintings in my old Collins Gem...

King Alfred's Cake


Artist's Bracket

Southern Bracket

Dryad's Saddle

Yellowleg Bonnet


Garland Roundhead

Coprinus silvaticus

Pale Oyster

C. silvaticus again

Brick Tuft

It's The Deceiver!

Ta and indeed da.

Other posts will be forthcoming.

Be Seeing You...

19 February, 2019

The Earth Is Doomed

Friday. Mid-February in Devon. 15° on the thermometer at a Dartmoor-edge nature reserve.

Clearly, the Earth Is Dooooooomed.


I went shamelessly looking for Little Stripey Woodpeckers.

No, that's not what LSW properly stands for, but never mind, eh?

Having my old work pattern back means I can sneak off birding after work when I'm on Fri-Days :), so that's what I did. I figured a gentle amble about Yarner wouldn't be too bad, and to be fair, it wasn't;

Who needs filters when 
you have a touch of mist?

Anyways, it was all sunny and not too windy, so I foolishly had some hope. Lesser peckers, though, are right little wotsits, not unlike Dartfords, and can show amazingly or be invisible and this occurs entirely at their whim. They had apparently been showing and calling and all the stuff in the morning fog, but in the afternoon sun? Ho ho ho.
I ended up after 3 hours with Heard; 1 Seen; 0

But, I did see a few things, not least a nice view

Looking over Lustleigh Cleave

Looks like just another hill, doesn't it?

Other things were closer to

Ants in your pants

All the way from France

Wood Ants were on the march and had taken over my lookout log. I offered bribery of sarnie bits, but they'd go no further than leaving my stuff alone. Hard bargainers [insert political joke here]...

You may think the odd little ant wouldn't be much trouble? Well, the things is, they can call for reinforcements...

We're going to advance!

LOTS of reinforcements...

I'll get to the birds.. While the LSWs were feeling bashful, the big Redpoll flock were in evidence, indeed they came to me*, so I couldn't not take too many pictures of the wee darlings.

How many can you see?

Yup, Redpoll on deck

Spot the Redpoll

Nice undertail coverts shot,
showing the distinctive 'Lesser
strong streaks'

A more typical utc shot


I didn't just photo Redpoll, despite the 30+ band being the highlight of the day, so here's some more birds

Marsh Tit!

That doesn't look comfortable.


They've been quite busy

The inevitable pink limestone

Once a Mandarin-haunted pond!

Still some pond, though

Let's see a close up from back there

There's a story in the soil

Under the upper mixed up layer of assorted debris, you can see the dark peaty pond deposit contrasting with the older orange soil - mine runoff! It can be easy to forget that Yarner was an industrial site for a lot longer than it's been a reserve.

And finally;

Bleeding Broadleaf Crust

No, I didn't slice it**, being of the 'take only photos' school.

Ah, Yarner. Always a pleasure.

Ok, it was for the hour I spent staring at not much in case something flew past or started calling, [even though nothing did] and then again after three, when everyone else had given up..!
[Yes, yes, I'm an antisocial git...]
[[In my defence, it's hard to quietly look for birds when you meet people every hundred steps..]]

Shutting up now.

Be Seeing You...

[[*As the saying goes, Stand Still, Stay Silent  :) ]]
[[**As you may guess, this one has red stuff inside!]]