A Week Around Tintagel and Boscastle
(North Cornwall Coast, September 2007)
A week on the North coast of Cornwall (in September this time), doing all the usual stuff....including more photo-cataloguing of Cornwall's wildflowers (especially the late Summer ones), wildlife counts and snapshot surveys, testing a few local rivers and streams for water cleanliness and a good look at just about everything else along about twelve miles of coastline and seventy-five miles of hedgerows and roadside verges.
This is the Caravan Club's spectacular cliff-top Trewethett Site and, not surprisingly, it's one of the Club's most popular sites throughout the Summer. Sadly however, the site closes during early October for the Winter....though this could be due largely in part, to the very exposed nature of its location. In fact, I had a long chat during the week with eighty-two year-old local resident, Mr. Warnes who still enjoys his daily constitutional down to the coastal footpaths no matter what the weather!. He explained to me how the Winter storms driving in off the Atlantic are sometimes so powerful that they can whip the sea-spray over the tops of even the highest cliffs shown here and dump it right onto the area where the caravans (along with my motor-home) are actually situated in the photograph!
There are always reams of notes to make, observations to record, drawings to sketch, photographs to take and maps to draw and then I try to make as much sense of it all as possible in my van each evening before eventually returning home after the week is up. Sometimes I don't actually manage to get as much done as planned which is usually down to the weather when it's very wet or, worse still, when it's really foggy or misty, but the weather this week was perhaps the best of the entire Summer and I covered almost everything on my list and some more besides!
Varoom with a view
The excellent weather meant that there were lots of tourists about, despite the kids returning to school on the previous Monday or Tuesday and this also meant that I was able to stop and talk to loads of friendly people as I wandered about....I've included a couple of photographs of some of them further on in this piece. More importantly however, I managed to talk to lots of local people as well....about not only the local wildlife per se, but about such things as farming or the changes in the seasons or perhaps issues concerning local land development or that favourite old chestnut, the weather. I've mentioned before, how important I feel it is to do this in order to get a much better "feel" for an area....after all, I'm only in Cornwall or Devon or Somerset or Dorset or Wiltshire or wherever for a few weeks each per year, but the locals are there all the time and I see them as an invaluable resource....something that a few of the academics might find quite useful as well if they ever decided to climb down from their ivory towers!
Rock Pipit (above) and Rook (below)....It's always interesting (though perhaps not to normal people) to see exactly who turns up when I throw a handful or two of mixed bird-seed
onto the floor just outside my motor-home window
Ok, so I admit that it may not be among the most attractive of birds to look at, but the infinitely gregarious and vaguely comical Rook (note the feathery "pantaloons") is nothing short of intelligence personified in the brain-cell department. However, the cleverness of this scruffy and rather bedraggled-looking Corvid is perhaps not all that apparent to most people, due to it being less inclined than other members of the Crow family, such as the Jackdaw, Carrion Crow and Magpie, to associate itself with man's more urban environments. Nevertheless, the humble Rook remains steadfastly well within my own top-twenty list of all-time favourite British birds.
Incidentally, the high-stepping character shown in the picture above was (together with its mate) a frequent visitor to my van during the week and often came to within just a few feet of me if he thought I might have something interesting to offer him by way of tasty tid-bits!
There were several highlights to the week, including spotting a total of eleven Dippers (nine adults and three juveniles) in the Rocky Valley and on the River Valency in Minster Wood, two Basking Shark sightings off Lye Rock and Rusey Cliff, a very late Reed Warbler at a garden pond outside of Boscastle and a total of sixteen Wheatear en route to the Continent (probably having just made landfall on the North Cornish coast straight from the South of Wales).
Above and below....Rocky Valley....a Dipper's paradise
I don't pretend to be able to say why so many global warming-related changes are taking place out there in the countryside, I just see them happening at an ever-increasing rate. Some are good and some not so good....For example, as the oceans and seas appear to be warming up around the UK's coast, we're seeing more things like Basking Sharks, but sadly, fewer things like Puffins due to the fact that the Puffin's staple diet, the cold water-loving Sand Eel, are receding further and further North at an alarming rate. In fact, I only saw one solitary Puffin (probably from Lundy Island) all week, while as little as five years ago, I would have expected to see scores of the endearing little Fratercula arctica at this time of year!
Clearly not the best photographs of Dippers in the world, but I noticed these particular individuals (above and below) hunting for aquatic invertebrates amongst the boulders, pools and waterfalls of a spectacular and cascading Dipper-perfect stream as the water tumbled and bounced its way down through Rocky Valley about halfway between Tintagel and Boscastle.
Meanwhile, the Dipper shown on the "Home Page" of this website, is a different bird altogether and one that I spent much more time trying to photograph as it went about its daily routines in the river that runs down through Minster Wood and into Boscastle. This was, by the way, the actual river that world-famously, caused so much dreadful damage to the village back in 2004 when it flash-flooded, sweeping away all before it....including cars, bridges and buildings! I might also add that the infinitely stoic and determined inhabitants of Boscastle have simply got on with their lives, rebuilding where necessary and providing all kinds of emotional and economic support to those adversly affected by the disaster. In fact, things are virtually back to normal in Boscastle now....despite two more potentially dangerous, though less disastrous, flash-floods!
The Cornish are very proud, justifiably, of both their coastline and their countryside....the incredible richness and broad bio-diversity to be found throughout their county is astonishing to say the least. The truly local people tend to look after their natural heritage and treat it with great respect. It's not surprising therefore, that I nearly always find the waterways to be clean, the beaches to be immaculate, the footpaths clear and accessible, stiles and fences well maintained, the most important of green places protected and the wildlife (onshore and off) valued as being amongst the County's most treasured of assets. In fact, it tends to be the city-based tourists who bring what few problems there are on holiday with them....littering, dog-fouling, the feeding of gulls, vandalism, petty crime and a general disrespect for anything and everything that's of the least value to anyone else!
Just one of the early Bronze-Age rock carvings (circa 1800BC - 1500BC) to be found in the Rocky Valley. Such carvings are considered to be of hugely important spiritual significance and it's interesting to see how each one has been noticeably stained over the centuries by the fingertips of countless devotees as they suddenly feel overwhelmingly compelled to touch them.
Almost as interesting (to me ar least), was a much more modern legend scratched somewhat hastily into the rock just below this very carving and which revealed the mindset of a different kind of devotee....
it read "Paul 4 Sue XXX". A passing tourist also noticed it and muttered something to her partner about yobs and graffiti! Mmm....I wonder what a similar tourist passing by in a thousand years time
might say about the later addition....that is, if it's still legible after being touched
by countless more visiting devotees...One man's graffiti etc.
The Cornish are often accused of having double standards when they dare to complain about such things....that they're quick enough to take the tourist's money, but at the same time, moan about them being there. Well, I'm not Cornish and I don't live in Cornwall so I'll say it for them....there's a small, but ever-increasing number of visitors to the county (particularly in the Summer) who are nothing short of rude, ignorant, selfish, inconsiderate morons who bring with them a lot more problems than they're worth and, as far as I'm concerned, would be far better off staying at home for everyone's sake!
Hoverfly on Corn Marigold....Not as common anymore as its much more prolific cousin, the Ox-eye Daisy, the slightly shorter Corn Marigold can still be found thriving at the edges of cultivated land and particularly along the edges of corn fields. The Corn Marigold was far more abundant years ago and was considered a nuisance by farmers who risked having their corn and cereal crops tainted by what were at times, vast invasions of this albeit attractive yellow Daisy. More recent use of selective herbicides over the past couple of decades however, have generally put an end to its threat. It does have a very useful survival mechanism though, which has probably allowed it to survive in localized areas across the UK....Its seeds are capable of lying dormant in the ground for many years (even decades), until the conditions for growth gradually become more favourable.
Robin's Pincushion grows mainly on Dog Rose bushes and is caused by the larvae of the rarely seen red and black Gall Wasp. There may well be several larvae in each "cushion" which gradually turns a deep russet-red colour as Summer turns into Autumn.
Mr H had started walking at Padstow and said that he intended to keep going until he either got fed up or was too exhausted to continue....having spoken to him for just a few minutes, I'd say that he's the sort to keep going no matter what. He struck me as the "real" backpacker type....the ones who travel light with the minimum of fuss with their freshly washed spare socks and underpants drying in the sunshine on the outside of their rucksack! In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he was in Wales by now....Good for him!
Sunlight and Valerian
Ye Olde Tintagel Post Office
Wild Perennial Aster (Michaelmas Daisy)
Chats are a common sight along the coastal footpaths throughout the South and South-West of the UK and this little lady was quite willing for me to get to within just a few metres of her to take this photograph.
A constant stream of inquisitive tourists gradually makes its way across a bridge built only recently to span the gap between the mainland and a seemingly insignificant little island to explore all that now remains of King Arthur's legendary Camelot.
I bought my daughter a new biro pen from the little National Trust gift shop not far from the castle and asked the man behind the counter if it had been the actual biro used by King Arthur himself to sign the Magna Carta at the end of the First World War....not surprisingly perhaps, he just stared at me for what seemed like ages and then said "that'll be £1-50 sir".
I don't actually know the proper name for these flame-coloured beauties, but I've called them "Fireflowers" for as long as I can remember. Anyhoo....whatever they're called, they seem to be well on the
increase in all kinds of rural-type places across the South-West.
The beautiful and utterly idyllic Minster wood. Home to several pairs of Dippers and where I managed to find very recent Otter sign in the form of both tracks and spraint. This is the River Valency and its waters are clean and sparklingly clear (hence the Dippers and the Otters). It runs on down the valley into Boscastle where hundreds of tourists jostle each other as they crowd into the gift shops to buy postcards depicting
such places as this....thankfully however, few of them make the effort to actually go and
see the real thing....especially if they can't drive there!
Two views of Boscastle Harbour....The village is virtually back to normal now and very much open for business. The lower picture shows however, that even after three years, repairs to sections of the river banks and to the drainage systems is still a work in progress. It was especially nice to see so many tourists returning to Boscastle however, especially on such a warm sunny day as this. My wife and I have always loved the place and we've returned there many times over the years....it's also the one place where we always manage to bump into someone we know and, despite being there by myself this time and having to work, I was amazed to run into Mr K....the exact same chap I met and photographed just above Gorran Haven on my last trip to Cornwall in July of 2007! He photographed me this time as I sat outside a harbour cafe in the sunshine drinking a cup of tea and eating a caramel slice! He told me that his book is now finished and will be published soon....Good, I hope he sells a million copies!
Just a bag of scruffy feathers really, with two twigs for legs
Rosemary and Johnny stopped to chat to me for a few minutes while enjoying their coastal walk in the warm late summer sunshine. Nothing unusual there....except that Johnny had actually begun his walk in Edinburgh quite some time ago!
During the course of the week, the Atlantic Ocean ranged in colour from an
amazing azure (above) to exotic emerald (below)
More commonly associated with Wales and the North of England, I was surprised to find this exquisite, but solitary example of a Bloody Crane's Bill in a shady hedgerow alongside a minor road leading into Boscastle.
A true Geranium, this particular species of wildflower has made a very successful transition from roadside ditch to ornamental garden due to the obvious appeal of its flowers and the fact that it's a very low maintenance plant all round.
Passionate about Cornwall, Ms C and Mr I were thoroughly enjoying their
cliff-top walk from Boscastle to Tintagel.
A Speckled Wood Butterfly was the first creature to greet me as I entered St. Nectan's Glen.
St Nectan's Glen and Waterfall (Kieve)
The fact that Otters are gradually returning to this part of Cornwall led me into St Nectan's Glen situated at the top of Rocky Valley to search for typical Otter sign such as tracks, fish remains and spraints....I found some fairly old spraints about fifty metres below the waterfall, but sadly, nothing else this time around. I did have slightly more success along the river in Minster Wood above Boscastle however, where I also managed to find tracks!
Everything about St Nectan's Glen and it's tremendously atmospheric woodland exudes a
wonderful and sometimes very primitive sense of ancient magic and Celtic mystery!
St Nectan's Glen is a special sort of place where you might almost expect to find an Elf or two hidden behind every tree and where wicked Hob-Goblins might easily prey upon innocent travellers....but while at first it seems to be a silent place, if you sit quietly and very still for maybe half an hour or more, a host of woodland sounds gradually begin to reveal themselves and a different kind of magic takes hold!
I was particularly keen to visit the Waterfall at the head of the Glen after my first cream tea of the week at the Hermitage Tea Gardens and a lengthy chat to the very amiable proprietors about such things as the wildlife of the area, the Kieve itself and a whole bunch of other stuff, I eventually paid my entry fee and went to see the Falls....nor was I disappointed! It's a unique experience....a very spiritual place for some....quite overwhelming for others. For me however, it's a place where the imagination is separated from reality by only the thinnest of membranes and, despite my normally pragmatic and sometimes cynical nature, I couldn't help but feel that this is also a place of great mythic power where, if the Spirits do ever choose to walk amongst us, it must surely be here!
I would like to thank the owners of the Hermitage Cafe and the Kieve, Jane and Barry Litton, for actually allowing me to take the photographs shown below and I just hope that they feel I have done so with all due reverence and respect.
The sixty foot high St Nectan's Waterfall is situated at the very top of St Nectan's Glen and the Rocky Valley. Now designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) , the Waterfall and its surrounding area is considered to be amongst the ten most spiritual sites in the whole of the UK and remains a special place of pilgrimage for many people seeking a more spiritually uplifting experience.
Hundreds of dedications and offerings have been left by people over the years. They lie on the river bed, are placed carefully on rocks and ledges or simply hang from the branches of trees. They add greatly to the spirituality of the Kieve which, in itself, is seen as a potent symbol of Mother Earth.
My eye was caught especially, by this small collection of dedications (including a flip-flop) hanging in a tree as a single beam of sunlight singled them out in the dark shadows.
There is a sense of great sadness in this place....so many have left tokens of their love and affection for lost ones over the years (even I left one)....yet I also feel that the overwhelming atmosphere is one of healing and spiritual regeneration and I can easily understand why so many thousands have walked the ancient route to the Waterfall since the times of the Druids over three thousand years ago. There is a history of reverence here and of worship by those from many Faiths and, for the most part, it's a little hidden Cornish gem that relatively few tourists ever seem to make the effort to see.
Many more dedications and offerings had been placed on a naturally raised, table-like platform of rock, that was being used, for all intents and purposes, as an altar. Included were small figurines, scribbled notes, photographs, flowers, small stones and pebbles, strings of beads, baby's pacifiers, assorted toys and a host of other things that were obviously very "special" to the myriad of people who had left them there over the years.
I meet and chat to lots of interesting people on my rounds and sometimes I photograph them for my websites. This is the Thorsby family who were visiting the Waterfall. They were very taken with the totally surreal atmosphere of the place and were only too pleased to have their picture taken as a group. I thought they might appreciate it if I tried to give the shot a slightly more Gothic/album cover feel and included in the foreground a few of the many little cairns dotted around and about. The name Thorsby, by the way, is of Viking origin and I thought it was appropriate somehow.
I met Kieron and Filomena (and friend) walking in St Nectan's Glen. They are modern-day Druids and were on their way to visit the Kieve as part of a pilgrimage or, perhaps more accurately, a spiritual quest. Such places as this are extremely important to people like Kieron and Filomena....they are, I think, pieces in a spiritual jig-saw that they gradually strive to put together in order to make sense of the world around them
and their own places in it.
They were genuinely nice people who asked me for a quote that they could add to their "Quest Log". This was nothing more than a hard-bound note-book filled with what looked like a fascinating account of their journey told in hastily scribbled notes, diagrams, maps and sketches....Brilliant, I love things like that (a bit like the kind of thing produced by travellers on the "Grand Tour" during the 1800s), especially when compared to the typical holiday "record" of the average tourist of today who probably does little more than video a few minutes of family fun-time on the beach and at the local amusement park....Oops, there goes that cynicism again!
As for the quote....the best I could come up with on the spur of the moment was something along the lines of "Travel light, hope for the best, prepare for the worst".
and at the end of the day....the sun sets....
Trewethett Sunset I
All four of these sunsets were taken this week from just outside my motor-home.
I haven't tampered with them in any way, except to crop the images (I rarely tamper with my photographs) and no filters were used. It just goes to show how different each and every sunset can be.
Trewethett Sunset II
Trewethett Sunsett III
Trewethett Sunset IV
This green and pleasant land
Roesel's Bush Crickets are hardly the commonest of Crickets and they've always tended to be very localized....In fact, you're far more likely to hear their prolonged high-pitched "song" (sounding for all the world like a high-speed drill) emanating from the depths of damp vegetation near rivers and streams than you are to actually ever see one!
However, a certain "Nobby" person tells me that milder climate conditions appear to be encouraging insects like this to proliferate as never before and that they've begun spreading Northwards! There was a time not so long ago, that Roesel's Bush Crickets were rarely found anywhere but on the South coast....I took this photograph near a stream in Oxfordshire in August!
Not so much a Silver Dollar as a Greenback
Every now and then someone burns the toast and gets all excited because they think they can see the face of Elvis in the burn marks! Someone else will buy a bag of potatoes from their local supermarket and practically wet themselves when they think they've found one that maybe looks just a bit like one of the Beatles! Whatever....the upshot is that both Elvis and Ringo are subsequently sold on the internet for hundreds, if not thousands of pounds to ardent would-be collectors of what I can only describe as "interpretive celebritaria"!
Anyhoo....do you think that my photo of a Chimpanzee eating a bunch of prickly thistles will be my passport to vast riches beyond my wildest dreams....or maybe....there's just the slightest resemblance to....you know....whats'isname....who was in that film....you know the one!
These little fellas who swim on their keel-shaped backs with their legs uppermost, are called "Backswimmers"! This is a very young one that I photographed swimming about in a cattle-trough, but they can grow to about the size of a man's index finger-nail and are voracious predators of anything living caught in the surface film of water or may even take very small fish which the bigger ones are more than quick enough to catch!
When I was a boy, my Uncle Chris once told me not to net them when I went pond-dipping because wherever you get Backswimmers, you tend not to get things like Mosquitoes, simply because their larvae are so heavily preyed upon! Years later, I learned that some species of Mosquito can detect the chemical presence of Backswimmers in a pond or lake and will not lay their eggs there.
Armed with this piece of information, I wrote to both the World Health Organization and Oxfam in the early Noughties suggesting that large numbers of specially farmed Notonectidae might be introduced to trial target areas of Mosquito-infested water-margins in Third World countries in a concerted effort to combat the devastating effects of Malaria at source. Unfortunately, I didn't receive any kind of acknowledgement and, as far as I know, my idea came to nothing.
Naturally, such an introduction would need to be very carefully assessed and monitored because of the dangers inherent in the introduction of any foreign species into new habitats. Grey Squirrels, Ruddy Ducks, Marsh Marigolds, Japanese Knotweed and poisonous Cane Toads are good cases in point! Oh well, you can't say I didn't try!
This is a Spurge of some sort, but which one? There are fifteen or so Spurges occuring in the UK and some of them are extremely rare! The unusual flowers always remind me of dinner plates, but the green plate/disc is actually the involucre, while the central nectaries have (in this case two) tiny stalks growing out of them and ending in what would normally be the flowers. These eventually become small fruits.
Starry Starry Night....These are Wood Anemones and were just a few of an entire "drift" of fantastic little flowers shining like stars in a small deciduous woodland clearing. Like Marsh Marigolds, the petals of Wood Anemones aren't petals at all, but sepals and the entire plant is poisonous.
"Footpath Unsafe Do Not Use!"....This is exactly the kind of photograph I'd have used to stimulate children's imaginations for creative writing when I was a primary school teacher fifteen or more years ago. Where does the footpath go? Why exactly is it so unsafe? Who or what lies waiting beyond Ye olde Wooden Gate? Creepy?Scarey? Or maybe not! Botheration....now I wont get to sleep tonight!
Like a miniature Nature reserve!
Apple Tree branch
Groundsel....so much more than just a weed! Once upon a time, I used to set off across the Downs during my lunch-hours at the zoo to gather as much Groundsel as I could find. Why? It happens to be a great favourite amongst many species of birds with some individuals going completely bananas for it!
Light and leaf (no, not a 1970s folk album by Fairport Convention)
Willow Tree bark and Lichen
House with Ivy or Ivy with house?
Everything a leaf should be
Flowering throughout the milder Winters, Shepherd's Purse was often used herbally in bygone times to counter a variety of blood and digestive disorders, it can also be eaten as Winter greens. It's part of my job these days to keep an eye open for it during the colder months and make note of and report any plants showing signs of the white parasitic fungal infestations that are increasingly associated with this member of the Cabbage and Cress family.
Bridge of Size (extra-small)
How green is my valley....even in mid-winter?
Of course, every child of the countryside once knew how, at the first hint of dawn, Faerie Folk would begin their search for a pillow of Moss upon which to rest their weary heads after a busy night of mischief-making amongst the clod-hopping humans.
White Bryony....I've talked already about the very poisonous qualities of White Bryony on my www.wildliferanger.co.uk website.
Snow-Ploughed....or possibly, harrowed be thy name.
Like the green Chrysanth further down, it's a green flower....and it's very....er, green!
Not my absolute favouritist field, pictures of which appear on both my websites, but one that could easily come a close second!
Silk Button Spangle Galls
Usually occurring on the underside of Oak leaves around Autumn time, I discovered this particular group in mid-August! Just two or three millimetres across, they are caused by the larvae of the tiny Neuroterus numismalis Gall Wasp after they have hatched from eggs laid in the tissue of the leaf. Towards the end of Autumn they will simply drop off the leaf to the ground below where they will remain partially buried until the Spring, whereupon they will finally emerge as an adult.
Pretty much the same life-cycle as the Silk Button Spangle Gall Wasp above, the Cynips quercusfolii Gall Wasp lays its eggs underneath an Oak leaf actually in the tissue of the plant. The eggs then hatch into larvae and the gall is formed as a result. The galls then drop to the ground in late Autumn and over-winter in the soil beneath. Strangely, no harm befalls the tree at any stage. This was one of several Cherry Galls that I discovered in mid-August, all of which were very nearly ready to drop to the ground. Could that be something to do with us having yet another occasionally chilly, and persistently damp summer? The problem is, far too many Galls will drop onto very wet soil at the moment and will almost certainly rot!
Pollen grazer....Far too small for most people to even notice, the humble Oil Beetle is a beautifully coloured creature nonetheless. This one and the one shown underneath are females of the species and lack the swollen femora of the male depicted below that.
Male Oil Beetle....Note the swollen femora as compared to the females of the species shown above.
Common Green Caspid on a Cosmos
Taken from exactly the same spot as the picture on the "Home" page of this site, but five weeks later....the one showing the dusting of snow that accompanies the verse from one of my Mum's poems.
It's a pity that this shot of a Greenfinch isn't just a little bit sharper, but, like the picture of the foraging Wren on the "Home" page, it was taken from inside the dining-room through the double-glazing....Well, that's my excuse anyway!
Lichens may be primitive things, but they're infinitely fascinating nonetheless. This specimen is growing on several of the branches of the Japonica in one of the more shady corners of my garden and the fact that it's growing as healthily as this suggests that the air around here is relatively free of pollution.
Holly Catkins....didn't I go out with her once when I was about sixteen?
Although not an uncommon species, the Speckled Bush Cricket is usually very difficult to see due to the effectiveness of its colouration which makes for excellent camouflage amongst the vegetation in the woodland margins, gardens and hedgerows it chooses to call home.
The individual in the phoptograph above had suddenly appeared clinging to my back garden patio doorframe and is easily identifiable as a female because of its very large and laterally flattened kukri-shaped ovipositor.
Bush Crickets (also sometimes called Long-Horned Grasshoppers) can be characterized by their extremely long hind legs which make them very good at jumping, while the male of each species make their "song" by rubbing their front wings together.
Buckholt Wood near Birdlip....well worth a visit
No wonder I don't get much sleep....what with worrying about whether to call this photograph "Green Leaf on Red Cebum" (therefore resigning it to the "Green" page), or "Red Cebum with Green Leaf" (thus making it best suited to the "Red" page)....or would you say that the leaf is more of a yellow colour?
Oh....and I'll not even mention the trouble I'm having spelling the word "Cebum" in the first place....or maybe it's spelt "Sebum"? Mmm....it's probably spelt some other way entirely...."Coebum" perhaps?
Ivy vine growing on an ancient churchyard wall
Succulent surprise....and perhaps not the first thing you'd expect to see growing on a porch roof in the UK, at least not anywhere other than in the much milder climate of the deep South-West.
They're not silver-coloured just yet, but it wont be long before these seed-cases will be living up to their name of "Silver Dollars". They are, in fact, the seeds and seed-cases of "Honesty", sprays of which are so beloved of dried-flower arrangers everywhere. They're also responsible for the plant's more traditional country names, including "Moonplant", "Money Plant" and the one I've always been more familiar with, "Penny Plant".
Green Woodpeckers are notoriously difficult to approach. They're very shy, always alert and, unless you're lucky enough to have one land in the tree next to you or maybe on your back lawn where it will search for ants (its staple diet), then getting anything like a decent photograph of one will be very tricky....and that's why this effort only rates about 3/10. Oh well, I'm determined to do better next time. This is a female GW by the way....the male bird has a red moustache with a black border.
On a brighter note, I finally managed to make a good sound recording of a Nightingale this morning on my little dictaphone thingy (no jokes!). It's crystal-clear this time, but unfortunately, I couldn't get a clear enough sighting of the skulky little bird itself for a photograph.
Squash Bug on Thistle. Another shot of this extraordinary insect is on the "Home" page of www.wildliferanger.co.uk
One of the Green Lacewing varieties....I set up a couple of Lacewing boxes at the back of the shed a couple of years ago and they've proved quite successful. This one had only just emerged and will soon join hundreds of others in laying lots of eggs to produce still more of their voracious larvae who love nothing better than to devour hoards of those pesky garden aphids!
A flash-light shot at night of this conifer gives a decidedly platted silk or nylon rope effect.
Silvered Cyclamen leaves
There are now more sheep in the UK than at any other time in history....I wonder who counted them?
Oops! Many a slip twixt foot and....er....ground!
High in fibre low in calories
From little acorns....
Privet Hawkmoth Caterpillar
Two types of Duckweed
Ok, so I'm padding it out a bit!