|Almondsbury by L Pryce|
|Lawrence Weston. By Stephen Burns|
|LW Moor. By Sharon Loxton|
|Gull eats vole. By Hilary Kington|
|Lesser Celandines. By Chris Reynolds|
There were spectacular banks of Lesser Celandine with their shining yellow flowers. Because some flowers looked unusually large, I counted petal numbers and see online that these can vary from between seven and twelve - which makes a big difference to the flower’s appearance. Surely unusual in plants to have such a variation?
Later, sitting in my stationary car out front I watched a jackdaw drop in quite a strong wind from about 25 feet up. It was a perfectly controlled vertical drop with its legs hung down the whole way - it looked like a little person parachuting...
About 15 feet above on the same tree was a grey squirrel drey (nest) with a family in it. We watched one family member tearing fibres from the thick vines wrapping the tree, to take up to it; and then two or three of the squirrels come down, sit on the nest box roof, hang underneath it, and try to poke their 'fingers' into it. Are the nuthatches so confident of being safe in their new home, that they can ignore the threat of these nosy squirrels?
|Flowering plantains. By Kurt Steuber|
Blackbird's song transcription, by Heinz Tiesses
Then a friend sent me details of a research paper, ‘The
development of song in the Blackbird’ by Joan Hall-Craggs.
I so recognised the different song developments, and felt relieved that I
hadn’t been wandering in a mad world of my own! For other birdy nerds, her
summary is below (how provocative is her final sentence!):
|Sedge Warbler. By Ken Billington|
|Common Vetch. By Derek Harper|
|Barrows Goldeneye By Julie Evans|
|Flies on hotel windowsill...|
|Harlequin Ducks. By Julie Evans|
|The Blue Lagoon|
|Moonwort. ByJason Hollinger|
- Down the path: yellow vetch, tufted vetch, swathes of narrow-leaved everlasting pea and a yellow melilot, hedgerow cranesbill, wild marjoram, rosebay willowherb. The everlasting pea is an extraordinary colour - a combined but slightly muted salmon / shocking pink with details of brown-purple.
|Everlasting pea. ByAnneli Salo|
|Live Cowrie. By Christopher Meyer|
Inland in Berkeley town, scores of swifts, house martins and swallows were flying and vocalizing; and wherever there were farms with barns, scores of swallows were also sitting on lines and 'conversing' as they begin to do as they think about migration...
My guess is they might have had a nest site there and were checking if I was a giant otter or similar hazard...
Walking the Parrett
|River Parrett. By Rupert Fleetingly|
I finished walking the River Parrett this summer - this time I started at its source on a steep watershed surprisingly close to the English Channel in Dorset, and made my way back to Kingston Episcopi where I had previously walked from the mouth on the Bristol Channel. The Parrett Walk is sadly now very blocked and discontinuous in its upper half by irritated landowners, and I had to make many a detour. But what struck me profoundly was the geographical sense that, wherever the river was, there was always the lowest spot in the landscape and all water was flowing to it; and as I walked it I could develop and carry that landscape.Why was that so satisfying? - but it was.
In contrast I recently cooked a wild rabbit and its bones were incredibly fine - the ribs almost invisibly thin.
|'Bird Watching' by Edmund Selous |
Illustration by Joseph Smit
I'd also celebrate the ability of bird songs and calls to evoke landscapes, seasons and personal memories...!’