Wild Animals and Wild Flowers

…and oh, so many Veronicas.

Animals first.

Fizz and I went out to look for signs of spring, it’s a bit early but what else are we going to do? It was nice yesterday and about time too, I had almost given up on 2015.

Elm TreesThese are Elm Trees. We missed them flowering last year, they flower in early spring and then go on to develop these winged seeds called samaras.

SamarasThis was the state of these trees when we discovered them in April so there is probably a month or two to go before we see any flowers but you can’t be too careful.

SamarasIn the corner beneath these trees there is a Badger Sett. This is where our three Badgers spent most of the summer and I am hoping that they are here now. Badgers spend most of December and January under ground. This doesn’t look very active today.

Badger SettI am hoping that our Badgers will raise cubs this year and this sett would be a pretty private and easy location to film them.

Why cubs? Patch turned up in these fields in March, that is the peak breeding season for Badgers. He was badly wounded and I am pretty sure that he had been fighting with another Badger over a female.

This video from late June shows the bite marks to his rump healing now but that is a sign of Badger on Badger aggression. He had been kicked out of the main sett for being too interested in the opposite sex..


This video is from the beginning of June and this was the first time that I realised that there were three of them. I don’t know the sexes Patch is almost certainly male because he has had his head kicked in. Generally males are more likely to get kicked out than females for obvious reasons but one of these animals could be female.


and Patch is ready to have a go at making Badger Cubs for me.

That would be nice.

So leaving our Badgers we headed out to the woods.

Chestnut woodWe are looking for shoots, Bluebells, this is where we found the Early Crocus and also this one.

Lent LilyNarcissus pseudonarcissus, I haven’t shown you this one before. This is a Lent Lily or Wild Daffodil. It is our only native daffodil and beautiful and special.

Lent LilyNo sign of them today though, so we were just messing about..

Fizz wanted a go on the tree that I was sitting on.

FizzIt is like wanting to get on the furniture if she sees a tree she has to get on it.

FizzSuddenly there was loud grunting from just behind Fizz. We were annoying a Boar. I slipped a lead on her and stood silent waiting for the animal to move but it didn’t.

I waited quite a while but it obviously didn’t have any intention of stirring, it was just telling us to clear off.

I wondered if it could be a female with a litter who couldn’t move. It is really too early in the year for that but,,,, Global warming and all that. Anyway I wasn’t going to stress her. She could stay put and Fizz and I would retreat.

The next day….

The next day was horrible and wet.

Horrible and wetWe headed back to the woods with a trail camera and bait.

Trail cameraI have had several reports of people seeing Boar in these woods but haven’t seen any evidence myself, that noise yesterday was definitely a pig or more exactly a Boar so it is worth a try.

I have filmed a few times in these woods without success so I am not holding my breath. Still, nothing adventured, nothing gained.

Flowers now, I have been holding back from doing this one. It is not difficult in itself but…..

Supposing that you had a sweetheart called Veronica and that she was very lovely. Okay now supposing Veronica had a whole bunch of sisters and they were all called Veronica and looked just as lovely. We have to be very careful how we approach this problem.

Which one are you going to kiss?

Germander SpeedwellNo! That’s a sister.

Thyme -leaved SpeedwellNo Stop! That’s another sister.

Wood SpeedwellEEEK! Sister!

I am going to have to be very clear when I describe these flowers.

Veronica persica, The Common Field-speedwell

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)Veronica persica, also called the Bird’s-eye Speedwell or Persian Speedwell is one of our earliest spring flowers.

This flower is also sometimes known as Winter Speedwell and given as flowering all year round but locally it was absent until the beginning of March. I took my first picture of 2014 on March 6th.

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)The Flower has two stamens and one style, it is self fertile. It has four petals, the topmost one being the most intensely coloured and the bottom one being smaller and paler.

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)Of course the flower doesn’t always align itself the right way up.

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)This flower shape is typical of Speedwells. Worldwide there are about 500 different species but in the UK there are only about two dozen and half of them are quite rare.

Veronica persica has a single flower (8-12 mm) to a stem. Many of the other species have more. The length of the stem is significant, It will be longer than the leaves but not more than twice as long, there is another species that carries single flowers on much longer stems (four times as long)

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)The leaves are pale green, oval to triangular and not more than about 2 cm long, coarsely toothed, they have a short stalk and they are arranged alternately at the top of the plant and in pairs at the base.

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica) Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)   Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)   Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica) The plant often sprawls along the ground before rising to flower.

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)Common Field-speedwell is not native to the UK, it was first recorded here around 1825 and it came from South East Asia. It is commonly regarded as a weed in the UK with no horticultural value.

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica) Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)   Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)   Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica) Taxonomy:

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Lamiales

Family: Plantaginaceae

Genus: Veronica

Species: Veronica persica

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)

Wildflowers in winter.

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41 thoughts on “Wild Animals and Wild Flowers”

  1. Veronica and her sisters are all lovely little flowers. We always wait patiently for our daffodils in the spring, but spring will be months away yet here. Good luck with the trail cam and maybe we’ll get to see a boar.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sarasin 🙂 The trouble with having so many flowers that look the same is that it is easy to find a new one and not realise that it is a new one. I shall be keeping a close eye on my Veronicas this year 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope you can get some film of the boar. We have 2 or 3 different Veronicas in our garden and they are all lovely and difficult to identify. I enjoyed watching the badger videos. I have yet to see a live one.

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    1. Thank you Charlotte 🙂 I am working on my understanding of Sweden. It is not very far away but it is very different from here. I found a nice Swedish blog yesterday and I am not suggesting that you would like it because you are Swedish but I am parking it here so that I can find it again, I have already lost it once Cottage by the Crane Lake. You may like it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hope your video camera turns up something interesting.
    I love the blue color and dainty flowers of speedwell and foolishly planted some in my yard. Of course, it wasted no time taking over. When it blooms, it is lovely, so I forgive it.

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  4. I enjoyed the badger videos. I hope you get to see some cubs! What is their temperament like in general towards people. Are they nervous, aggressive, shy?

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    1. Thanks Jane 🙂 They are very shy and nervous but also a bit short sighted. My best plan to film the cubs (If we get any) involves laying down in the field, out in the open with a good zoom lens. But a lot depends on how long the grass is.

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  5. Your knowledge of flowers just stuns me. I am the type of photographer I see something unique and/or pretty, and most of the time, have no idea what I am photographying. LOL I really enjoyed your explanations, and this entire post as well. Thank you. Love, Amy

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  6. Ah Veronicas! I planted those for the first time in my Atlanta garden. Love the blue tones. I see you and Fizz have been very busy while I’ve been playing outdoors 🙂 Keep up the excellent work o’er yonder.

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      1. Thanks! I’m looking forward to the near future when there will be more time for playing outdoors. You and Fizz keep up the inspiration, and particularly the education. It’s beneficial to all.

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  7. 1. You are so funny. Thank you for making education so entertaining.
    b. I had no idea Speedwell was a flower! It was the name of one of the rabbits in Watership Down, and I just thought it was just a name. Makes so much sense now, because so many of the other character names are flowers or plants.
    4. “Nothing adventured, nothing gained”…. love it. I’m gonna use that.
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much 🙂 The names of the Watership Down characters read like a botanical dictionary and a few of them have been on here recently, Coltsfoot, Campion, Pimpernell and Celandine. I will do Clover soon and Avens 🙂

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    1. Thank you Ibeth 🙂 There are not enough Boar here to really make much impact but everybody is up for shooting them. There is good money in a wild boar. They have to be very careful.

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  8. A very enjoyable daytrip. I’ll be back to see if you catch up with that boar you’re looking for. Would he present a problem for Fizz, or would that good-looking pup know too give him his space?

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    1. Thanks David 🙂 Sorry I am catching up late on comments that I missed. We now know that there are at least three female Boar in that wood and it does make it potentially dangerous for Fizz. She won’t be off lead up there for a few months now.

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    1. Thank you Barb 🙂 I love Badgers full stop. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that culling them serves any purpose outside of Westminster. I am struggling to understand the latest announcement that with a General Election set for May the Tories plan to start culling baby Badgers in June, that has got to be a vote winner. bTB is a disease of Cattle, if you destroyed every badger in the UK there would still be bTB in our cattle. It is just sick politics.

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      1. My landlord was a Dairy farmer who lost his herd in the bTB outbreak of 2002 and retired from farming then. He doesn’t have a problem with Badgers but he doesn’t like DEFRA. I don’t know the full history of that.

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