Sunday, January 29, 2012

mistle thrush

It is British bird count day today. Normally, on this auspicious day all the birds in our garden disappear (probably because everyone puts food out for them) so it was surprising to see a pair of mistle thrushes. This is the female, the male perched in a tree and watched over her while she looked for worms. They usually nest early and we should see the young in early Spring. Back to bird counting!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

bramble flower

I have never seen bramble flowering in January. I guess it may have continued flowering from last year. I can hardly believe it has started to flower anew this early

Thursday, January 26, 2012

cornish canary

a goldfinch flashing its brilliant colours in flight (nothing much else to photograph at present)

Monday, January 23, 2012

ova seer

as might be expected the pools and puddles are now full of amphibian eggs, some in aggregates and some that seem to have disaggregated.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


It was quite a fierce dawn today, and it set the sycamores on fire

Monday, January 16, 2012

Oscar's great adventure

Sometimes, just occasionally, something out of the ordinary happens. Today for the first time for a while we went for a walk along the Inny. It was cold and frosty and this makes the walk much easier where the cattle have churned up the ground. As we walked through the long meadow I could hear a dog barking in the woods, nothing much unusual in that. We went on to the little ruined cottage to see if there were any snowdrops out (there were indeed). There were also some frost flowers on fallen twigs.

As I walked up to the ruined pigsty behind the cottage to look for more snowdrops (see above) I could still hear the dog barking. "Odd" I thought. I decided to walk back along a track above the meadow to see if I could discover what was going on. I realised I had walked past the nearest point to the dog, but there was no sign of it which, if you know dogs, you will appreciate is unusually unsociable. So we back tracked, and then eventually up a little fork in the track I could see a little brown coat, but not moving. we walked up to the spot and there was a little long haired terrier seemingly tied down very firmly to a variety of root stubs and bits of undergrowth (see link for google map to get an idea of how isolated this place was). Cold and somewhat subdued the terrier was very pleased to see us even if he was dwarfed by two lurchers and a collie. I was very puzzled by this situation. It looked as if he had been tied up deliberately while his owner went off to shoot pigeons or some such. I couldn't leave him there though in case he had been abandoned, or his owner had dropped dead in the woods. After hollering for some time with no response, I disentangled his chain, and we slowly made our way back to Beals Mill.

Oscar plus chain

He was obviously very thirsty. When we got to Beals Mill we asked the owner (Mr Page, ex RM) of the fearsome pack of dachshunds if any one had lost a dog. He told me he had thought he had heard a dog barking in the woods over the previous two nights. Now, in these situations there is only one place to go, the village post office at Stoke Climsland. So we drove there (with found dog sitting in my lap gazing adoringly at me). Lo and behold only that morning someone had been in to put up a notice with information about a terrier called Oscar who had gone missing three days earlier. A quick phone call and a five minute drive and Oscar was reunited with his owner, Sally (strangely enough next door to the house where Cassie was born and Bracken still lives). It seems he had done a runner plus chain on Friday evening. How on earth he had got two miles or so through heavy undergrowth, meadows, woods, fences and streams with 15 feet of chain trailing behind him is anybody's guess. Maybe there is a shorter safer route to the spot where I found him.

Oscar reunited

Several things come out of this tale. Terriers are determined little dogs and nothing is going to stop them going for a ramble. Lurchers are very friendly to other dogs in distress. Oscar is very lucky it was a frosty morning. The post office is the centre of our social network. Always ask at the Post Office! Clean your lens before taking photos.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

at the end of the day

the first sunny evening for several weeks ended in a blaze of glory during our evening walk.  It is worth checking the lane label to see how this little lane can be so colourful and change so much. It was interesting to hear David Hockney talking about this exact same issue on Sunday (on Countryfile), walking through the same landscape day after day one starts to see rather than look.

the first tortoiseshell of the year

This is getting ridiculous, it is only 11 January and this bright tortoiseshell is already on the wing.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

my tree

the bracket fungus eye (if they have an eye) view of the tree

Sunday, January 01, 2012

frog spawn and daffodils

On our first walk of the year (in the rain, some things never change) we saw some frog spawn, a very happy robin whistling away, and our amazing daffodils. One advantage of having kept a regular blog (for 6 years now) is that it is easy to compare what we see now with previous years; without doubt this is the mildest winter we have experienced here, and the earliest frog spawn by about 3 weeks (which is a lot).