Thursday, May 31, 2012

jumping for joy

big H with her puppy substitute jumping for joy because we found some pink bugle today

stinking bob

When the canopy closes in the bluebells begin to fade away as other more vigorous plants like buttercups, ferns and grasses outgrow them. At about this time herb robert becomes much more prolific. Probably named after the Latin for red (ruber), its stems and leaves turn a fiery red as the summer wears on and the doctrine of signatures led to the plant being used to treat a variety of blood disorders. Some people find the smell of the leaves unpleasant hence its other nickname.


the lanes have finally achieved their full summer livery and the canopy has closed in; just as the sun disappears for another 4 weeks.

Monday, May 28, 2012

bullfinch blues

adding a bit of colour to the niger seed holder. Bull finches are rare visitors to our bird feeders, but this year we have had regular visits from a pair of them. I guess they are nesting nearby. They are very shy birds so it is a treat to get a good view of one.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


meanwhile, round at the front of the house the martins have returned en masse and are quickly renovating or rebuilding the old nests. The pesky sparrows (top right) are intent on stealing the vacant sites but at the moment the martins are winning the battle for once. It has taken the martins a month since they returned to start nesting, presumably because it has been cold and wet and they need to build up their body mass before starting breeding.

the great escape

The two chicks left the nest on the morning of 23 May, ie 3 days ago. The picture at the top is the last one of them in the box. You can almost hear them, "You go first", "No, after you", "No, after you". In that amazing away that nature has, after 23 days in a small wooden box, they flew out into a totally different world and survived. The middle photo is later that morning on their very first flight, the juvenile tufts are still just visible, and the bottom photo was today, three days later. So they have survived so far.

Monday, May 21, 2012

helpful signs 1041

the church at St.Mary's, Ashbury (not Bratton Clovelly) in deepest Devon, and below the good ladies of Latchley (well, Lamerhooe really but it is the little village of Latchley in the background).

fallen nuthatch

on my first day out of the nest I wasn't much good at flying, and I wasn't much good at climbing, even with my spidery feet. Parent nuthatches were fraught with anxiety about their poorly performing off-spring

Sunday, May 20, 2012

It remains very quiet for this time of year. There were no butterflies out today, and the flowers are weeks behind apart from one solitary marsh orchid. The great tit chicks are almost as big as their parents now but show little sign of leaving the nest apart from a few wing strengthening exercises. Sometimes it looks as if the parents are keen for them to leave ... much the same as the parents of any stroppy adolescents might be. Jays are normally very wary of people so it was unusual for one (as above) to keep still long enough to be photographed. And below, the Tamar keeps rolling on.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


It has been hard going in the tit box. Only two out of five chicks that hatched have survived, probably because of the cold wet weather. Both parents seem to be able to find ample insects to feed the chicks. They have grown substantially and are now covered in downy feathers. They are beginning to flutter their wings to strengthen the flight muscles and no doubt will fledge soon. The lanes are now lined with cow parsley that lends them a graceful air despite the miserable weather.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

In the Cornish jungle

with a bit of sun the orchard at Treven becomes a small scale jungle of wildflowers, including the relatively uncommon three cornered garlic (below)

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Northcot Mouth 3

a stonechat sitting quietly (for once) on a favourite perch, and kidney vetch and thrift providing some Spring colour.

Northcot Mouth 2

uplifted, turned, folded and warped layers of sedimentary rock indicate the enormous forces at work to shape the land around us. It wasn't always so peaceful in North Cornwall (see link for more info).

Monday, May 07, 2012

Sunday, May 06, 2012

just turning green

Spring seems to have gone into slow motion. Nothing much is growing yet in the meadows, there is no warmth in the soil, but the trees are on the cusp of turning green, as they have been for about four weeks now.

and blueberry flowers and a pheasants eye daffodil add some colour, but not much!!

Saturday, May 05, 2012

showing the flag

we have reached the stage where the hedgerows look like a floral union jack, with bluebells, stitchwort and the vivid pink of campion.

Friday, May 04, 2012

slender threads

unfortunately not everything makes it. This little chick was dead when I found it, possibly dropped by a magpie thieving from the nest. The five chicks in the great tit nest are doing fine, but one egg has failed to hatch. At the moment the young are being fed on spiders and beetles.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

down in the woods today

The bluebell display this year is not as dramatic as usual. The cold wet weather after a dry sunny March seems to have confused the plants; some are past their best, some are yet to flower when normally they tend to flower at much the same time. It might get better, we will see. The very heavy rainfall has replenished the old mast pools and ponds. At long last there were plenty of butterflies about.