Friday, May 30, 2008

flood doggling

maybe Spot and co knew something we didn't because the rain was torrential this afternoon. The scene at Beals Mill was one of devastation. No one can remember floods like this before. And then the sun came out.


the beach at Portwrinkle. The local flora is as quirky as the flora on the North Cornwall coast.

red damselflies

red damselflies mating at Tredis farm near Polbathic. These are common but we never see them locally.

on St German's quay

the viaduct over the river Tiddy, and the quay at St Germans near Polbathic where we went to see some paintings. Notice sunny weather, but storm clouds over home where we returned later to find 4 quivering poodles in fear of the thunder and lightning.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

holly in flower

the woods are full of holly; this is a close up of the male flower so no berries later.

let's have some colour

the blog has been rather dull recently, all greens, greys and black, because of the weather. So we set out to find some colour today. The top picture is of rhododendrons in the woods (another non native invasive species), and below is an old fashioned climbing rose ... the one thing a photograph cannot convey is its beautiful gentle scent.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

three cornered garlic

a small patch of this uncommon but invasive stranger. It is native to the mediterranean but is found in the South West, and on the coasts of California and Oregon (I hadn't realised Oregon was on the coast). So here it is in lower Downgate. The unmistakeable smell of garlic pervades the air around it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

our neighbours

our next door neighbours providing some colour contrast on yet another dismal public holiday.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

bad hair day 2

meanwhile, there are others who would dispute with Spot his claim of unchallenged supremacy of the blasted heath and moor.

Spot rules the world

very much a spontaneous rock climber Spot surveys his kingdom.

paintings by nature ...

It was a dark and louring morning on Bodmin moor; far in the distance Dartmoor was bathed in sun. It was like looking through a letterbox. As it turned out, the weather improved and the afternoon was warm and sunny which is a pity for all those who were put off from visiting us by such damp and miserable weather forecasts

bad hair day 1 (usnea barbata)

an ancient hawthorn completely enveloped by lichen. Is it 'liken' or 'litchen' or both? It certainly consumed one expensive Nikon lens cap. Hawthorns seem to be prone to these dramatic efflorescences (well, no flowers but what else can one call it ...hirsuitism), which are species of usnea and are common on isolated trees on Dartmoor and Bodmin moor.

North Hill Cornwall

the village of North Hill on the edge of Bodmin moor, in the Lynher valley. There is very little information available about North Hill but the church looks very like our own. And the local pub, the Race Horse Inn is very welcoming and has its own proper dog (labrador).

Saturday, May 24, 2008

pale tussock

the female pale tussock (we think) moth posing for flash photography last night.

Friday, May 23, 2008


yet another example of the tormentil cinquefoil complex, loads of very similar yellow flowers sent to torture amateur botanists, plus visitor.

heath spotted orchid

we went looking for bird's nest orchids in the beech woods but we could only find heath spotted orchids in the meadows. One day we will find a bird's nest orchid.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

wood speedwell and pimpernel

wood speedwell, a typical speedwell with a small pale flower with distinctive pale green leaves that stand out on the woodland floor, growing with yellow pimpernel. Below is a close up of marsh stitchwort, a minute but pretty member of the stellaria family. This was a good example of how to look but not see in that we found it at the top of the hill where we have found it before, but as we retraced our steps we could see it growing everywhere by the stream running through these woods and on marshy ground.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

bastard balm 2

another picture of the bastard balm, another pink rarity, bluebells fading rapidly swallowed up in the tidal wave of green

bugle is back

bugle is a common woodland plant and is flowering now. It is usually a mauve blue colour (top photo) but very occasionally it is pink and there is a small but persistent patch of pink bugle growing near Old Mill (bottom photo). It is not clear where its name comes from but it is possibly from bugulus, a thin glass pipe used in embroidery but I think this is getting one's etymological knickers in a twist and buegle is nothing to do with bugula. I await the definitive answer with interest. Of particular interest to Spot and me is that it was highly recommended for treating delirium tremens brought on by excessive ingestion of alcohol, and is a mild and effective narcotic. Eat it while it's still legal. (disclaimer ... Spot cannot beheld responsible for the wild ramblings on this site)

buttercup meadows

rampant meadow buttercups in fields below Kit Hill.

Monday, May 19, 2008

more coming down at the mill

I had an interesting conversation today with someone who knows about old mills. Beals Mill dates back to at least the twelfth century, with evidence of the oldest building in the foundations below the level defined by the arch with slates and a keystone (toolbox somewhat later). The plan is to incorporate the walls of the mill into a new house to be built on the site. The bridge (on the extreme left of the top picture) is now just visible from the lane behind the mill.

long tailed tits

We came upon a family of noisy long tailed tits by the Inny today. As you can see they feed mainly on insects; I think the bird on the left is a fledgling waiting to be fed. Bill Oddy describes them as pink lollipop birds because they have the habit of teetering on twigs and swinging slowly over like mechanical toys. They are very unafraid.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

marbled moth

I find moths difficult to identify but this is probably a marbled minor, but I was struck by the beautiful feathery antennae

bees on the bush

the bees love cotoneaster so much that the whole bush seems to be buzzing when the small but obviously very sweet blossoms appear. Given all the bad news about bees it is reassuring to see so many of so many types.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


the delicate frond like leaves, and the small white flowers of pignut, a relative of the carrot. The tubers are edible, and pigs were once trained to find them. They are also eaten by leprechauns.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

woodland path

the bluebells are at their peak now, and the woods and hedgerows are a blaze of blue. I have always believed that bluebells grow better in dappled light, but they appear to favour the sunny side of lanes (middle picture) and there are great patches of bluebells out in the open on the coast (the blue patch on the left in the lowest photo)

Monday, May 12, 2008

bastard balm

a rarity that is quite common locally especially in the woods. This clump grows here every year (see earlier pages), surrounded by stitchwort, bluebells and vetch.

kidney vetch

the amazing shades of natural colour of kidney vetch within a few square yards of each other in the cliff top meadows on yesterday's walk. I am not impressed by the supposed similarity of the flower heads to kidneys but it was enough to justify using the plant to treat a range of kidney diseases. It is also one of those plants with lots of local names eg butterfingers, lamb's foot and ladies finger.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Harriet and Spot at Backways cove

HRH does a bit of posing while Spot goes fishing. Spot put his head completely under the water (as does his bro Vasco aka Tigger) several times as if he was hunting for something. It is not obvious what he is up to.

rock pipits

a pair of rock pipits (I think) flirting in a meadow full of spring squill and kidney vetch. And below showing off.