Published in error 2nd November, but it’ll have to do now.
The ‘wramblings’ in the header has, as you will have deduced gentle reader, a silent W which is there for purely aesthetic reasons. I rather like the
twothree definitions of ‘ramble’:
- Walk for pleasure in the countryside
- Talk or write at length in a confused or inconsequential way
- (Of a plant) put out long shoots and grow over walls or other plants
The first two of these I do to a great extent, the second rather more than the first, and the third is a characteristic of many plants that that leg me up when negotiating my way through shrubberies and the like. Got rather distracted there for a while by The Knights Who Say Ni while looking up shrubbery. Incidentally, one of the best insults in the English language has to be “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries”. (see what I mean about the second definition?)
Don’t forget that you can see pictures bigger by clicking on ’em, mousing over should bring up captions. All pictures are on Flickr, here.
Mon 22nd June ’15
First Round The Pond
The wren was about 50 ft from my front door. The grebe has a tiny fish in its beak, presumably for its infant in the nest. Thrushes sing most beautifully – often from the highest point around, be it tree, lamppost or chimney. (Does that double ‘p’ in lamppost look weird to you? Had to check it in the dictionary.)
And Then To Shireoaks Woodlands
Bee on clover, surely one of their favourite foods, and a pair of bee orchids (The flowers are almost exclusively self-pollinating in the northern ranges of the plant’s distribution, but pollination by the solitary bee Eucera occurs in the Mediterranean area. [Wikipedia]) The marbled white butterfly was new to me last year but they’re quite common for about a month on a smallish patch of the Woodlands. Common blue butterflies are some of the prettiest beasties around – the undersides are so intricately patterned and the uppers so very blue, on the males that is.
Another panorama from the old tip.
Only up to Deep Lock and down to town. A canal panorama up to Morse Lock. Chiffchaffs aren’t always singing, sometimes they’re doin’ the buggerin off. There’s some rather nice rose bushes around the Lock Keeper pub. Back down at Morse Narrowboat Basil the King was just heading West. Dunno quite what the moorhen mother (father?) was getting stroppy about. New hawthorn leaves are bright red and very soft – wonder if they’re edible?
Over Shireoaks Woodlands, to Turnerwood via Brancliffe, round past Shireoaks fishing ponds and Miner’s Welfare.
Round the Pond and Onto the Towpath
The grebes are carrying their chicks around the pond taking turns to feed them. This must be the first time I’ve really seen a juvenile robin.
The pond’s one lily patch is surrounded by blue-green algae that gets blown to one end of the water or t’other. There are warning notices at various points around the pond about the possible toxic nature of these bacteria. But consider that without them none of us would be here: By producing gaseous oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis, cyanobacteria are thought to have converted the early reducing atmosphere into an oxidizing one, causing the “rusting of the Earth” and causing the Great Oxygenation Event, dramatically changing the composition of life forms on Earth by stimulating biodiversity and leading to the near-extinction of anaerobic organisms.Wikipedia
The chiffchaff was often on the same twig for many days – making his incessant call. Speckled wood butterflies seem to be the first and last to show around the pond and their numbers don’t seem to drop for the whole season.
Up the canal – there’s plenty of corn (or is it wheat?) growing in the field next to Lady Lee Bridge. Nb Basil the King was now moored at The Lock Keeper. The crew told me that the boat was named in honour of their cat – guess the cat’s name. Herb robert is a small pink plant who’s blooms are superficially like scarlet campion.
ON TO SHIREOAKS WOODLANDS
Male, you can tell the sex by the dark stripe on the forewing, small skipper twice and a couple of moths: a shaded broad bar and a yellow shell. The omnipresent ringlet on a leaf.
Bee orchids, bird’s foot trefoil and yellow wort with another shaded broad bar moth and a crane fly ‘daddy long legs’. Bee orchids I’ve mentioned before; the bright yellow bird’s foot is so called because its seed pods resemble just that – albeit not always with the correct number of claws; yellow wort – well it’s yellow and wort: “a plant,” Old English wyrt “root, herb, vegetable, plant, spice”.Etymology
The small patch of marbled white didn’t disappoint. Teasels sometimes look quite extraterrestrial. Is that a chiffchaff? Gorse seeds can be seen at almost any time of year as can the flowers.
Interesting Fact: Acorns are not produced until the tree is at least 40 years old. Peak acorn fecundity usually occurs around 80 – 120 years.
Woodland Trust So does that mean there have been oak trees here for that length of time? I think not.
The orchid’s one I’ve seen before, it’s a ‘common spotted’. The moth was, I think, dead. It was in the grass between canal and towpath.