Sunday, September 30, 2012

coal tit

We normally only see coal tits on the bird feeders as they make fleeting visits, usually in pairs. They are in fact birds that like conifer woodlands and this male was singing very loudly in the cedar tree next to our house

Thursday, September 27, 2012


this very pale pink sorrel has appeared in our garden where an old privet hedge was grubbed out last year. It is far too late to be wood sorrel, so it may be pale pink sorrel which likes to grow on banks and under hedges, but it is a new species to me. If it is it is yet another introduced species, this time in 1739 from South Africa.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

hell hound returns

in the same woods lies the entrance to the Excelsior tunnel which leads deep under Kit Hill. It was used in operation Orpheus by the atomic Weapons research agency to test whether explosions could be hidden or disguised from seismographs (hence no doubt the reference to the underworld by some classicist in the Ministry of Defence). For more on this interesting part of local folklore see this link.

deer park woods

just for a change today we went for a walk in Old Deer Park woods (see link SX381724). We came across two invasive species, one of which, mimulus, we quite like, and the other, Japanese knotweed, is regarded as an absolute pest. The Japanese knotweed appears to have displaced the mimulus which is now growing along the course of the small streams in the wood. I am not sure that many of the plants in the woods are truly native, we must have one of the most disturbed and unnatural floras of anywhere in the world.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

showing off our long tails

about this time of years groups of small birds of the tit and finch families, like these long tailed tits, start to group together and forage on the berries and seeds. Long tailed tits seem to be very excitable and flit quickly from tree to tree which makes them elusive subjects to photograph. They usually give themselves away by making a high pitched squeaks (Si Si)

Saturday, September 08, 2012

another spot of colour

And just as conspicuous a tortoiseshell sunbathing on Felix, our monumental cat.

spot of colour

a fritillary adding some vivid colour to a meadow full of devil's bit scabious and betony (below). To our eyes these butterflies seem very conspicuous; maybe they are advertising that they are highly inedible.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


the tortoiseshell rover has landed, our mission of exploration has started

Monday, September 03, 2012

Spot is in the building

Oh to be outside when the sun is shining!

(large paintings by Dianne Nevitt see link, small pictures by Mary Stork is worth googling Mary Stork images for more)