Bambi’s Not Dead!

Well I don’t think that she is.

We are just back from another day of Boar hunting We had seventy three videos on the card. Seventy two of them were of the same Fox.

It is not that I don’t like foxes, especially the shy and secretive country fox. You can’t get away from them if you live in town but eighty per cent of the UK foxes live in the countryside and nobody ever sees them.

It is just that I was hoping to see a Unicorn 😦


It was a nice bright day today but very blowy and we played “The Hat Game” all the way up to the wood.

The Hat GameThe wood was nice but then….

The WoodI spotted these leaves.

Lesser CelandineThey are the first leaves of the Lesser Celandine.

Last year I spotted leaves like this in the middle of February and then within a week they were in flower.

When I came to write about Lesser Celandine for EW I read that there is a very short time between the first leaves appearing and the first flowers and as I thought that I had witnessed and photographed that I put it in my post.

Now I will have to rewrite that bit because what I think really happened was the leaves appeared in early January (and I didn’t notice them) and six weeks later the flowers came.

Lesser CelandineI could be wrong, maybe these will be in flower next week and I will eat my hat πŸ™‚

Lesser CelandineOn the way back from the woods we stopped to photograph the Aspen trees.

AspensYou know Aspen trees don’t you? If not then watch this video that I made last summer. The Oak that I turn to look at half way through was just behind me, I put it in to show that it wasn’t a windy day. Aspen live in a world of their own and they are beautiful.


Well, that’s about it except for the flowers….

But wait I have one more thing to show you. The seventy third video. It was actually the very first video on the card but the only one not to feature a Fox.

Wait for the second animal, it’s the next best thing to a Unicorn.


Cardamine species, The Bittercress (Hairy and Wavy)

Hairy Bittercress, (Cardamine hirsuta)There are two closely related species of Bittercress. They look superficially very similar and share the same properties. There is not a great deal of difference between the two species and many people will be content to know them simply as Bittercress.

They are both members of the Mustard family, they are both edible and generally they are both regarded as a weed by gardeners.

Hairy Bittercress, (Cardamine hirsuta) is a small winter annual, the leaves are green during the winter months and it flowers in early spring.

Hairy Bittercress, (Cardamine hirsuta)The flowers are small (2-4 mm across) with four white petals.

The plant is characterised by the seed capsules that emerge from the centre of the flowers.

Hairy Bittercress, (Cardamine hirsuta)Reddish at first they turn green as they ripen. The seeds are arranged inside like peas in a pod and the pods burst explosively throwing the seeds farΒ from the plant. The seeds germinate in the autumn and winter as green leaves.

Hairy Bittercress, (Cardamine hirsuta)

Hairy Bittercress, (Cardamine hirsuta)It is characteristic of the Hairy Bittercress that the seed pods often rise well above the flowers.

Hairy Bittercress, (Cardamine hirsuta)The stem of Hairy Bittercress is smooth and not hairy.

Hairy Bittercress, (Cardamine hirsuta)Stem leaves are long and thin. There are not many of them.

Hairy Bittercress, (Cardamine hirsuta)Most of the leaves are around the base of the plant and these are rounder than the stem leaves.

Hairy Bittercress, (Cardamine hirsuta)The definitive difference between Hairy and Wavy Bittercress is the stamen count.

Hairy Bittercress has four stamens.

Hairy Bittercress, (Cardamine hirsuta)Wavy Bittercress, (Cardamine flexuosa) has six stamens, a small difference but it is indicative of species.

Wavy Bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa)Wavy Bittercress is a biennial or perennial. It has the same characteristic seed capsules as it’s relative but they tend to be less conspicuous and seldom grow above the topmost flowers.

Wavy Bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa)It has fewer basal leaves.

Wavy Bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa)Unlike it’s “Hairy” relative the stem of Wavy Bittercress is hairy.

Wavy Bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa)These differences can be quite subtle, the only real way to be sure of the species is to count the stamens.

Wavy Bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa)Β Wavy Bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa)Β  Β Wavy Bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa)Β  Β Wavy Bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa)These two species of Bittercress are both native to the UK and they can hybridize, making any distinction very difficult. They can also hybridize with another close relative, the beautiful Cardamine pratensis. (I would call that “getting lucky”)

Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis)Taxonomy:

Kingdom: Plantae

Order:Β Brassicales

Family:Β Brassicaceae

Genus:Β Cardamine

Species:Β Cardamine hirsuta
Species:Β Cardamine flexuosa

Wavy Bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa)Wildflowers in winter.

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48 thoughts on “Bambi’s Not Dead!”

  1. Wow! wonderful post. There’s an aspen park by my daughter’s house and it’s so wonderful. They are definitely trees and wonders unto themselves. The flowers are beautiful and anything green is appreciated. Love the lovely fox and the sweet deer:)

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    1. Thank you RR πŸ™‚ The truth is that I have got two identical hats. I bought a second one when I saw Marks and Sparks had it in an end of line sale. I have never worn my new hat and it is the original dark green. I am saving that one for weddings and funerals or in case I have to go to court πŸ™‚

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  2. Foxes and deer are reviled ferals in Oz and do a lot of damage, so I always have to tell myself that they are perfectly fine in the UK. Foxes (and deer) are really quite pretty animals. Loved your badger pics in a previous post – I have only the image from “Wind in the Willows”, which I’m sure is romanticised.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joy πŸ™‚ Australia is still a vast unknown to me. Isolated from the rest of the world and with it’s own uniquely evolved species some of the things that people have done baffle belief today. I have been reading about the “Acclimatisation Societies,” set up in the 19th century to, “share some of the world’s most beautiful and useful creatures.” the Acclimatisation Society of Victoria attempted to introduce 26 non-native species of Deer into Australia to improve the place and I thought that gardeners were pests πŸ™‚

      Fallow Deer are not native here but they are not really that different from our own Red Deer and Roe Deer so they haven’t really had a significant impact.

      On your reviled Fox, I read that recent scientific findings say that native species fare better when the Fox is present, Australian Foxes and that maybe it shouldn’t be the first thing that you try to eliminate..

      Australia’s uniqueness seems to have made it one of the most vulnerable places on Earth. I wonder how we would behave if we discovered it today?

      I am pretty sure that we will take our animals and plants with us when we set out to colonise space.

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      1. Thanks for the link to that article – I hadn’t seen it. I think the situation varies with the environment you are looking at. On an island, where boundaries are clear, reducing rats by whatever means is certainly a good idea. See the situation on Lord Howe Island (http://www.lordhoweisland.info/library/species.pdf) and the extinction there of birds and stick insects (although in the latter case climbers found a remnant population on a nearby island and are breeding them up for return – but the rats will have to go first – an acquaintance of mine is employed there to that end). But when the rats are gone, the cats/foxes then start to eat other, more desirable animals (from a conservation point of view) so become a problem. So they then have to go, and that’s not always easy, especially in a mainland situation as they are wide-ranging animals. I personally try to catch and euthanase (via local vets) as many feral cats as possible – in 13 years of living here I have caught 16, and have seen several more. I know I have endangered species here as my husband has seen small gliders – catrs, rather than rats, will go for them. Plus I have gorgeous 3-metre carpet pythons to take care of the rats – and hopefully the feral cats. So there aren’t “across the board” solutions. It all depends on what kind of world we humans choose to make it.

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  3. Our local Bambi & Co are living dangerously. One dark fallow deer (female) tried a suicide run on my way to work (in daylight), three others tried to end it all (in the dark) on my way home. Not a buck in sight – perhaps they’re more sensible?

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    1. Thank you Stephen πŸ™‚ That is a good point. The RSPCA estimate something like 74,000 RTA’s involving Deer every year. They are just no good at crossing the road. They are the same on woodland tracks where there is no traffic involved they seem to put all of their faith in speed, if they go fast enough they will be okay. Fizz was nearly knocked over by one last year. The RSPCA also estimate 10-20 Human deaths each year as a result of collisions with Deer. It is a serious issue.

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    1. Thank you Karen πŸ™‚ I used to live in town and they were on my street every morning when I took the dogs out and I would frequently see them sunning themselves in the back garden..I live in the countryside now and I would never see them if I didn’t use trail cams. I haven’t seen a Fox in person since I moved here. The country Fox is sly.

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    1. Thank you Crystal πŸ™‚ I did feel very lucky to have one video that wasn’t a Fox. That is how it goes sometimes. I am going to bring the camera in today, that Fox is getting fat πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you Heather πŸ™‚ What a wonderful gift. Trail cams are a lot of fun. Be careful where you place it, I have had two stolen in thirteen years, that is not bad as I do leave mine in public places but it is still a downer when it happens. I put bait out in front of my camera but not visible to draw attention to the camera, widely scattered nuts or raisins make the animals work to find treats and keep them in front of the camera for longer. A friend of mine uses rice boiled with chicken and tells me that works well. The Bushnell is famous for running for six months on one set of batteries πŸ™‚ Only if it isn’t doing anything, a full set of batteries last me for about three nights or a couple of hundred videos. The whole natural world comes alive when we go to sleep, have fun watching πŸ™‚

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      1. I have just remembered that you have got Chickens. I don’t think that I have ever baited a camera and not pulled a Fox so you probably need to keep away from your birds.

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  4. We’ve had a fox living in our area for a few years. She and her kits ate all our sweet corn a couple of years ago. They were also partial to cantelopes and butternut squash. I guess that’s what you get when you don’t fence your garden!

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  5. Love the watery sound of the Aspens. On another note, I strongly suggest that anyone who is needing some calmness and refreshment at the end of a harried day, to stop by here and listen to the Aspen video or just stare at photos of bare limb trees shrouded with fog. Such peace.

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  6. Love the video addition! Ive seen two foxes in Texas- one red and one gray. Very exciting find for us. My boys love to go ” critter finding” at night. I used to go to humor them, but must admit i now enjoy it as much as them! πŸ™‚

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  7. I especially enjoyed your “next best thing to a unicorn”! πŸ™‚ I noticed another correspondent from Australia mentioning our fox situation here. Feral cats are actually one of the biggest problems here as they consume so many birds and reptiles in one day. Our sensitive native wildlife just doesn’t cope with this amazing predator. I do love cats but since my neighbour has got a cat and lets it roam many of my bird species have totally disappeared from my yard. Even though the cat is well-fed it still enjoys the “hunt.” They also carry toxoplasmosis which is having a terrible effect on some of our native species as well.
    Loved the post. I always enjoy the education you give me about your local plants and creatures.

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    1. Thank you Jane πŸ™‚ Everything is different in Australia but even over here cats just don’t fit into the natural world and divide opinion. They play an important role as companion animals and to some people that is all the company that they have. I wouldn’t take peoples cats away from them even though they do like killing things.

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      1. Yes, I love cats. I’m happy for people to have companion pets as long as they take precautions to limit their impact on the environment. My neighbour’s cat spends all day at my place as the owners work and my yard is far more “interesting.” It’s more so the feral cat problem where they breed in the wild and do not have owners. They’ve contributed to the extinction of a few species and severely reduced numbers in others. πŸ™‚

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  8. A sight for snow blind eyes and frigid feet. Bambi and friends are a real tweet! I don’t know how you make time to do all this but thank you seems understated. Your efforts bring joy and wonder to many. πŸ™‚

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  9. What a great post! Love your videos. How long does it take you to go through them all?? Out of interest, why does aspen quake like that? Is there any known reason? And how? – do the leaves catch the wind much more by being more loosely attached?

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    1. Thanks Jo πŸ™‚ I can flick through videos quite quickly, the trick is not to miss something out of the ordinary. There might be twenty Fox videos and in just one of them the Fox does something unexpected so I have to be a bit careful.

      The Aspen quakes because it’s leaf stalk is flat rather than round, more interesting is why it quakes? I have read a few theories. By turning the leaves at the top of the tree it allows more sunlight to penetrate to lower leaves and it may just be a way of spreading the available light and speeding up photosynthesis. It also may be a way of deflecting winds or taking the energy out of them. It is probably for both of these reasons and more besides.

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      1. That’s really interesting, thank you! I shall have a think about that idea. It’s almost as if trees have different kinds of energy and it strikes me that the same might be true of people – some have a very restful energy like a deep-rooted oak and others are always in a flap about something! πŸ™‚

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