Tag Archives: Herb Robert

Trails of Destruction

This isn’t going to be a sad post. It is going to be quite an interesting post, I just need to tell you about what happened yesterday.

You remember the little black lamb that I showed you a few days ago? Well sadly I found him dead on the roadside, hit by a car. It happens and I guess he was always going to be the last one that they saw.

Black SheepIf you walk in the countryside you get used to seeing  Badgers, Foxes and Rabbits lying by the roadside and this is not really any different but I did feel sorry for him.

What really spoilt my day was what happened next. His Mum was not going to leave her dead lamb and she was wandering up and down a busy road with her other lamb trotting along behind her, it was pretty obvious that there was going to be another accident if we didn’t get her off the road and I got met with a bit of a  negative response.

Eventually Jeremy (for that was his name) came out and picked up his dead lamb and moved the others to safety. So that was that.

I hear a lot of, “Oh you townies just don’t understand our country ways,” but I do.

Sorry little lamb, I should have stolen you.

Black Sheep

Then my day picked up, when I went to see the little dog downstairs.

Fizz is a philosopher and she ought to be studied in universities. She is a bit like that Frenchman, Jean Paul Sartre but brighter and she doesn’t use so many words, in fact her whole philosophical argument could be summed up in a single sentence.

“The world is full of stuff that is not Fizz but that is not important.”

It is perhaps not as complex as existentialism but it is true and it helps me to exist.

So off we went to La La Land…..

Dr FizzFizz knows some nice places to walk and she can make even an angry heart forget.


Orange TipHelp me little animal for I have been hurt.

Orange TipAre you magic? How come you are there when I need you? Why do you even exist?

Orange TipThank you and here, have a nice flower.

Orange TipHello!

Was that butterfly called Fizz?

I don’t think so.

FizzI am going to crawl under the gate now.

If you follow me you can tickle my tummy.

I want to look at flowers.

Bush VetchBush Vetch, It’s a pea and so it has those grab onto anything tendrils and I think that it is wonderful. It is one of those plants that helps to make the jungle an absolute mess.

Bush Vetch

Bush VetchI can’t wait forever.



Bush VetchOkay I am just going to take a few moments out to check that they did her hair cut properly. Sometimes people are slackers and they miss the little important bits, you know what I mean?



FizzEverything seems to be in order and they have done a good job.


FizzGet down little Monkey! I am fixed.

FizzI am ready to begin my tale.

We are walking along the track, observing nature and playing games with the flowers….

Dog’s Mercury,

Dogs MercuryThis is the female of the species.

Dogs MercuryThis is a Dog in Mercury.

Dogs MercuryAll right! I am fixed all ready.

Dogs MercuryAs we are walking along I have been noticing signs of animal activity. Little holes everywhere.

Snuffle HolesIn my mind I am seeing “snuffle holes.” These are little holes that Badger’s make as they dig for worms. They sometimes look like little animal burrows but they don’t go anywhere, they are only about six to eight inches deep.

There is not much that is unusual about this. We are very close to a Badger main sett and there is a lot of activity further along the track but there is a lot here and I am a bit surprised because we are still a way from the sett. Very active Badgers, I think.

Then I noticed something beside this hole.

Wild ArumThis isn’t actually a “snuffle hole,” this one is where an animal has dug up and eaten the root of Wild Arum.

Badgers do eat the roots of Wild Arum. I have read of this described as a winter activity when food is short and we are in Badger country.

This is Wild Arum (Arum maculatum)

Wild ArumTo us this is a deadly poisonous plant. Every part of it contains toxins that can kill a Human. The reason that it doesn’t kill people is that those toxins cause immediate and painful burns and blisters and if we accidentally put it in our mouths then we quickly spit it out again.

However we can eat it. The roots are edible but they need preparation (I think it is roasting but that is only from memory). This is not a good one to eat unless you are starving  but remember that most animals are starving.

Wild ArumThis next one is very edible and in fact if you don’t eat this then you are an American Donkey (an Ass).

Wild Garlic

Wild Garlic

Wild GarlicThis is Wild Garlic.

(In fact the Americans do not use the word Ass to describe a Donkey but this is only because they have not mastered the English language and particularly spelling, to me “American Donkey” is just a euphemism, what I meant was that you would be a fool not to eat this wonderful herb 🙂 I said it crudely because I like crude it is very different from rude but I don’t like crudities, I prefer to dunk soft white bread into my soup. Consider this to be my soup. There are some very beautiful and expressive words in the English language and you would have to be an American Donkey to diminish them, you don’t always have to use them.)

Wild GarlicThen…

Here is another one.

Uprootedand another…

Uprootedand another….

Uprootedand another….

UprootedThis is getting weird. Something has walked along this track and systematically and selectively dug up and ate every Arum Lily that it could find. I saw more than thirty of these holes and photographed them.

What on earth does this?

If you know me then you might think, “Colin would know the answer,” but Colin does not know the answer.

PhilosopherStop it. I can see your beauty.

PhilosopherI choose my stuff carefully, I am not a fool and I love you.

PhilosopherI am trying to concentrate.

Something is eating our flowers.

We need to put our tracker hats on, Badgers are obviously in the frame but something doesn’t ring true. The other animal that would do this is Wild Boar and I know that they are also here.

printThese prints are partial, the ground has been quite hard. A Boar has dew claws that leave an impression behind the hooves and I can’t see them, but they could be Boar (or Sheep or Deer) I don’t know.

PrintIt is all a bit weird.




MysterySo I don’t know what to say about all of this, except…

IdiotLet me take you by the hand and lead you through a place that doesn’t have any streets, I will show you something that will make you change your mind.


Red Campion

Herb Robert

Greater StitchwortI wrote this through the night and it is now Friday. Yesterday we had a General Election in the UK. I have no idea who won.

Good people never win. Niceness isn’t a winning trait and I already know that the worst man in the country is now our President. That is the failing of democracy. Let them come into the Jungle and we will see who wins.

I haven’t told you about this but I once lived for a year with a Member of Parliament. It’s okay, my wife knew about it. He was a decent man and a friend who helped me out of a jam but I could tell you some stories (and they would include naked MPs, another day perhaps 🙂  but probably not)

One more deep breath and then I will go and see who is now my Glorious Leader.

Orange Tip

Yellow Archangel


Get out of the mud.Disrespect

The Leader is coming 🙂

Feeling The Heat

The purpose of our “Selfies” is to try and capture the feel of the day. These are from December… Great long shadows and it is cold and windy.


SelfieNow this is April…

SelfieHer mud is drying up.

MudThese are my holiday snaps and I have been on holiday for a long time.

There may be trouble ahead….

I wouldn’t like to be that Rat when Fizz the Great War Dog gets a’hold of him.

She just needs to practice a bit, she is warming up.

Oh yes, I have bought the Goldfinches a nyger seed feeder.

Nyger feederThey are loving it and empty it very quickly. I will do more about that in another post.

On the subject of birds. The Bullfinches have stopped using the feeders but they are still around. We have an Apple orchard at the bottom of the garden and I think that they are drawn to the buds there.

Disappointingly the Long -tailed Tits have gone. Like the finches I think that their comings and goings are related to the natural food supply but I don’t know what has drawn them away.

The little Robin never came back. There are still lots of Robins about and sometimes I look out of my door and shout, “Come on! One of you must be Christopher.” No, he has gone.

But all of that fades into absolute insignificance because when I opened my door yesterday I heard a song that filled my heart.

Barn SwallowNow I know what they say, that “One Swallow does not a summer make,”  but that is rubbish, it is summertime now 🙂

There is something that I have got to do this year. Swallows pair up for life, each autumn when they leave they separate and then in the early summer when they return they reunite. It is something to witness and I have got to video it this year. They are so excited to be reunited, like little puppies and it doesn’t last for that long but for a little while there is a great video waiting to be made.

Barn SwallowI am going to love hearing their song again.

The little Mud Eaters beat the Swallows back by several days.

House MartinI didn’t really do the House Martins justice last year, they don’t nest outside of my front door like the Swallows but I will try harder this time around. I love their little feathered feet.

I like a little heat.

SelfieWildflowers then, there is so much going on that I don’t know where to start.

Walking along the country paths it just looks like a mess of green…

MessUnless you know it.

Cow ParsleyThis little leaf is the Cow Parsley and in a few weeks it will be painting the most beautiful pictures.

Cow ParsleyThat reminds me of another April challenge. The St. Mark’s Fly.

St Mark's FlySo called because the adult flies emerge around April the twenty fifth (St. Mark’s Day), these are the ones with long dangly legs that trail behind them when they fly.

St Mark's FlyThe challenge is to photograph the female, I just could not find one last year. They only live for a couple of weeks and the window of opportunity is a small one.

But back to the present, this leaf is the Hogweed.

HogweedForget any misconceptions that the name might suggest, this one is a very beautiful flower.

HogweedAlso the large, saucer like, flower heads are an absolute magnet for insects. I am finding my first flowers now and it will be here until the very end of Autumn.

I have got to leave the wildflowers for a bit because I have got to take Fizz for a walk, I will come back to them. While we are out I am going to upload some wild animal videos for you to watch.

These are female Fallow Deer (Dama dama) They are just losing their winter coats and so they look a little bit tatty but they are healthy animals.

This week the trail camera returned 180 videos over two days and nights. 136 of those were of my little friend the Fox but I also got 44 clips of the deer in the daytime, a nice return.

This is the same spot that I videoed the Boar in last week and it is proving to be a good place to set the camera. As well as the Deer, Fox and Boar I have been getting clips of Badgers, nothing exceptional but it is good to know that they are there. I feel happier if I can say that I am putting the camera out to film Deer, they are hunted just the same as the Boar but there isn’t the same hysteria and people are much more likely to go into the forest to look for Deer.

This location is not in the Forest of Dean, it is woodland some way outside of the forest boundaries and the Boar here are the animals that the Forestry Commission have been kind enough to drive out of the forest as they attempt to disperse them across the whole county, or country even.

A few other things that are good about this location, apart from the fact that it is rich in wild life, It is an unmanaged Sweet Chestnut coppice, I wouldn’t normally like that because there is very little else that grows in such a coppice but it does give me quite good views of the animals. This is also a Bluebell wood and that will make a nice backdrop and nobody comes here. I have filmed a lot here and have never picked up Dog walkers or anybody at all, that makes me feel quite safe about leaving the camera out. I will continue to film here for a few more weeks.

Okay I am back and Poochy has been walked. It is quite blustery out there today.

Back to the wildflowers. I like them because they are beautiful…

Ivy-leaved Speedwell(Ivy-leaved Speedwell)

Ivy-leaved SpeedwellFizz likes them because they make a nice soft bed.

Fizz in BedGet off the bed!

I am very pleased that I got pictures of the Town Hall Clock buds last week because this week there were no buds to be found.

Town Hall ClockAnother flower that has just appeared…..

Remember the diminutive Harry Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta)?

Hairy BittercressThis is the girl of his dreams, Lady Smock and if you think, like Harry that she looks good enough to eat, well, she is.

Cuckoo FlowerCuckoo Flower or Lady’s Smock (Cardamine pratensis). The leaves and flowers are the best bits to eat, they  have a peppery flavour that adds a lot to a herb salad.

Cuckoo FlowerBoth she and Harry are Cardamines and they can cross pollinate but  will she, wont she? That is what Harry would like to know.

Cuckoo FlowerA couple more “firsts” for the week, this little splash of pink is Herb Robert.

Herb RobertLast year I was able to find this one in flower throughout the winter but this year, this is my first.

Herb RobertI have also seen my first signs of the spathe of the Arum Lily.

Wild ArumThere will be much more of these flowers in the weeks to come.

Well it has been a long post and you must be feeling pretty tired.

Tired FizzI have just got one more wildflower to do today and then we can play ball.

FizzThis is Hen-bit Dead-nettle. I found it growing on my steps when I got home.

Hen-bit Dead-nettle

Hen-bit Dead-nettle

Hen-bit Dead-nettle

Hen-bit Dead-nettle

Hen-bit Dead-nettle

Hen-bit Dead-nettleI will try and find it in more picturesque surroundings.

Goodnight Fizz.



Christmas Past and Global Warming

Sorry I didn’t come to the party. When a person is newly divorced Christmas isn’t the same and I just wanted to duck out and look after myself….. and Fizz….. and the birds.

We didn’t have a bad Christmas though.

For most of the past week the weather here has been like this…

WeatherBut that picture doesn’t capture the cold or the howling wind. The wind is carrying the cold and it is bitter and nasty.

I have found myself laughing out loud when I realise that Fizz is still expecting to go out. Once you get out it is not as bad as it looks.

For Christmas day everything changed and amazingly we woke up to a clear blue sky and still air. Without the wind it was warm and beautiful, like a spring day.

Global warming.

Christmas DayThere are flowers about that don’t have a clue what month it is.

Bramble blossom

Herb RobertBut by and large the hedgerow gives away the season.

Hazel in December

Hazel nutsAs do our long shadows at lunchtime.

Long shadowsSpeaking of lunch, I did get a Christmas dinner. If it looks a bit sad and lonely, well, that’s how I wanted to photograph it. Not very vegetarian either but then I did say that, ” when I come to your house I’ll eat what’s put in front of me.”

Christmas dinnerThat was brought to me by a neighbour and it was a kindness that I couldn’t refuse (as was the bottle of whiskey that accompanied it) 🙂

It is not my fault.

I had a very pleasant, quiet and relaxing Christmas. I spent a lot of time with Fizz, got my dinner for free and had a drink and watched some movies.

So that is Christmas past, good!

I so love the next bit.

Like an excited kid I found myself going through all of last  years photographs looking to see the first day that I saw each flower.

I was new to the area last year and I didn’t know where to find each flower. My first photograph of a Snowdrop in the wild was taken on January 28th But I bet that I can knock at least  a week off that this year because I know where they grow.

I started making lists..

Snowdrop. Jan 28
Red Dead-nettle. Feb 02
Daisy. Feb 16
Primrose. Feb 22
Early Crocus. Feb 24
Lesser Celandine. Feb 24
Marsh Marigold. Feb 27
Field Speedwell. March 06
Hairy Bitter-cress. March 07
Common Chickweed. March 08
Colt’s foot. March 09

After that it starts going crazy and it is new flowers every day and in the second week of March the Butterflies are back.

This is the thing that I love. The Swallows will be back in April, All sorts of birds will hatch in May. Badger cubs will poke their heads out of the sett for the very first time. Adders will be mating and oblivious to me and my camera.

FizzOf course he is crackers!

But I get to help him look for these things and it takes us hours.

Global Warming:

When I was a kid, winter was cold, I mean really cold. I can remember my dog Suzy getting out on bonfire night when I was about eleven and I was out in the pitch black trudging through snow up to my knees, calling for her and searching for hours. November was always a cold month. It is just not like that now but… Do our memories play tricks on us?

Were summers really everlasting? Were winters really cold?

Yesterday I found myself writing about the Snowdrop and I turned up some interesting stuff from The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Galanthus nivalis, The Common Snowdrop

Galanthus nivalis, The Common SnowdropThere are twenty species of Galanthus Snowdrops native to Europe, the last one only being identified in 2012. They all look very similar and are difficult to separate. There are also many garden cultivars but by far the most widespread is the Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis). Native to Europe it is “naturalised” in the UK, that means that it was introduced here, probably in the sixteenth century and is now generally considered to be native by most people.

Galanthus nivalis, The Common SnowdropThe French call this little flower perce-neige which literally translates as pierce-snow. The tips of the leaves are hardened to allow them to break through snow and ice.

Galanthus nivalis, The Common SnowdropKew Gardens have been monitoring the arrival of the first Snowdrops since the 1950’s and at that time Snowdrops opened late in February, by the 1990’s they were opening in January. In 2014 Kew announced their first Snowdrops on December 5th. Winters really are warming up.

Galanthus nivalis, The Common SnowdropThe Snowdrop has six petals, three outer and three inner. Technically these should be called tepals. Tepal is just a term used when you can not easily distinguish between the petals and the sepals (when they look the same). The inner petals have a small green mark that looks like a little bridge.

Galanthus nivalis, The Common SnowdropEach bulb generally produces two, long, thin (Snow piercing) leaves, It has a leafless flower stalk that carries a single flower and above the flower are two bracts, joined together by a papery membrane. The insides of the petals often have green markings. There are six stamens and a single style.

Galanthus nivalis, The Common SnowdropThe Snowdrop flowers very early in the year, when there are few pollinating insects around, as a result the plant usually spreads by bulb division rather than seed production, however they will last into March and do provide a very valuable source of nectar and pollen for early Bumblebees, Honeybees and other insects.

They would be a good addition to any wildlife friendly garden.

Galanthus nivalis, The Common Snowdrop Galanthus nivalis, The Common Snowdrop   Galanthus nivalis, The Common Snowdrop   Galanthus nivalis, The Common Snowdrop Taxonomy:

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Asparagales

Family: Amaryllidaceae

Genus: Galanthus

Species: Galanthus nivalis

Galanthus nivalis, The Common Snowdrop

Galanthus nivalis, The Common SnowdropWildflowers in winter.

I hope that you all had a really easy and wonderful Christmas. We will talk about the New Year later 🙂

I will catch up with you all as soon as I can now, promise.

Me, Fizz and Stinky Bob

No post today and no adventures, sorry.

I woke up this morning and flicked through my library looking for a flower to write about and chose  Geranium robertianum from the deck.

Only to find!!!

Only to find that I didn’t have the photographs to illustrate the seed dispersal of a crane’s-bill geranium.

There was nothing else for it we would just have to go out and get some. So that is what Fizz and I did.

We decided to put our brains together for this project.

PartnersI can’t say that we missed them, neither of us was quite sure what they were for in the first place. (Mine is the much larger one on the right)

Okay neither of them are very big  but I used to have bigger frontal lobes.

BrainsFizz is a practising botanist, she is not a brain surgeon but fortunately I am (practising to be one).

Botany: Herb Robert is still about but finding seed pods in the right state of dispersal to illustrate my article was going to be no easy task.

We searched high and low.

FizzHi Fizz 😀 (It’s easy when your brains are gone)

FizzI just didn’t have time to write a post today. We did find what we went after and I got some pictures, they were not as good as I would have liked but they do illustrate the point.

We came home and I wrote about Stinky Bob and that basically took me all day. I know that a few of you have done this writing a novel in November thing but I just wouldn’t stand a chance. I have to research everything and check everything. One hundred and fifty words takes me about six hours.

I spent all day writing this post and so I am going to put it here.

Geranium robertianum, The Herb Robert

Herb Robert flower (Geranium robertianum) Herb Robert flower (Geranium robertianum)   Herb Robert flower (Geranium robertianum)   Herb Robert flower (Geranium robertianum) Officially the flowering season is May to October and the flowers are certainly much more abundant then but this is one of those flowers that is so common that I can find it in any month of the year. I took this next photograph (today) in December.

Herb Robert flower (Geranium robertianum)It is a woodland flower and is said to be an ancient woodland indicator species but it seems to grow everywhere, it grows happily in hedgerows and I have yet to see a garden without Herb Robert growing in it somewhere. To many people it is an annoying weed but in the wild it is a valuable wildlife flower.

Common Carder on Herb RobertIn some parts of North America it is known as Stinky Bob. This is because the leaves have a pungent odour. I have heard this variously described as Mousy, like a Fox or burning rubber. The smell acts as a natural insect repellent and rubbing the leaves on yourself is said to repel Mosquitoes.

Gardeners take note, Stinky Bob is not troubled by insect pests and allowing it into your garden might keep pests away from your more vulnerable plants too.

Herb Robert leaf (Geranium robertianum)The stem and leaves often have a red cast to them. I do not often see them as red as in this next pictures but it does give a good idea of shape.

Herb Robert leaf (Geranium robertianum)

Herb Robert flower (Geranium robertianum)Herb Robert is a Crane’s-bill Geranium.

There are 422 different species in the genus Geranium and they are called Crane’s-bills to differentiate them from the genus Pelargonium because Pelargoniums are commonly known as Geraniums. Does that make sense?

Many of the Crane’s-bills have seed pods shaped like the bill of a Crane.

Herb Robert crane's-billThese seed pods are actually catapults designed to hurl the seeds away from the parent plant and they can travel as far as twenty feet.

The seeds are in the red casing at the base of the pod. That casing is called the calyx and is formed by the sepals of the flower. In this next picture I have peeled the calyx back to expose the seeds.

Herb Robert Seed pods (Geranium robertianum)There are five seeds at the base of the pod, each attached to a spring which runs almost to the tip of the “bill.” When the seeds are ready to release the spring will curl outward from the base with enough force to detach itself from the tip off the pod and the seed will be distributed.

Herb Robert Seeds (Geranium robertianum)This next picture demonstrates a “Fail,” The seeds have not left the pod, possibly due to Spider web interference. It does however show the seeds and the springs sprung.

Herb Robert seeds (Geranium robertianum)Well that is how Herb Robert’s crane’s-bill works. Others work in different ways. In many species the seed sits in a cup at the base of the pod and when the spring fires only the seed is thrown, the spring and cup remain attached to the pod.

Crane’s-bill geraniums have five petals.

Herb Robert flower (Geranium robertianum)They have five styles (the pink star in the middle is the female parts) and ten stamens, five pairs (The  purple, white and yellow, fluffy bits arranged around the “star” are the male parts)

Herb Robert flower (Geranium robertianum)When the flower first opens the stamens are held very close to the styles.At the tip of each stamen is an anther, this is the part that produces pollen.

Herb Robert flower (Geranium robertianum)The pollen of Herb Robert is golden yellow.

Herb Robert flower (Geranium robertianum)Herb Robert is native to the UK, Ireland and Western Europe.

Herb Robert flower (Geranium robertianum) Herb Robert flower (Geranium robertianum)   Herb Robert flower (Geranium robertianum)   Herb Robert flower (Geranium robertianum)


Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Geraniales

Family: Geraniaceae

Genus: Geranium

Species: Geranium robertianum

Herb Robert flower (Geranium robertianum)

Wildfowers in the winter.

A Guelder Rose but no Gorillas.

We had to revise our plan for today. It was a bit misty.

It just seemed too dangerous to take Fizz out on the road, we could get knocked over and traumatise a motorist.

There was a little dog sitting underneath my window who wanted me to come out and play..

FizzPlan B then. The fog was coming down heavy. We would go and look for Gorillas in the mist (that’s where they live. Right?)

MistI put Fizz in charge of watching the trees, we don’t want anything jumping down on us and I was in charge of the little things.

MistThe first little thing that I found was rose hips, from a proper rose a Dog Rose.

Rose hipsBut not all of those berries are tasty rose hips, some of them are Black Bryony.

Black BryonyWe are going to see a lot of berries today.

MistHawthorn berries are everywhere.


Hawthorn berriesThis next little mushroom is one of the Mycena. That is a genus of fungi with several hundred species. Many of which can only be separated with a microscope. I can’t get it to species from these pictures but it is a pretty one. These are often collectively referred to as Bonnets.

Unidentified Fungi

Unidentified Fungi

Unidentified Fungi

Unidentified FungiKeep watching the trees please!

MistI am bent over examining the ground and at any moment something big might jump down and land on my back with a thump. What’s my lookout doing?

Lookout FizzMessing about! Although, I am not sure how much she can see out of her haircut anyway.

Lookout FizzThere are many more berries to come. These are Black Bryony again. The profusion of these poisonous berries delights me.

Black Bryony

Black BryonyAll around I am seeing signs of winter. These Ivy berries will be a feature of January when they have ripened.

Ivy Berries

Ivy Berries

Ivy Berries

Ivy BerriesLambs Tails are forming on the Hazel ready for January too.

Hazel CatkinBehind these catkins is the plant that we have come to see.

I first photographed these berries in January, there were far fewer berries then and there were no leaves on the tree. I didn’t know what it was and so I told myself that I would come and look at it in the summer and then I forgot.

Guelder Rose This time we have leaves.

Guelder Rose These are the fruits of the Guelder Rose, Viburnum opulus.

Guelder Rose It is a member of the Adoxaceae family. That means that it is related more closely to the Elder tree and the lovely little Town Hall Clock than to the roses.

Guelder Rose

Guelder Rose

Guelder Rose

Guelder Rose

Guelder Rose Well, I have missed the green leaves of summer and the white flowers that would have bloomed in June but at least we have got the berries and we know what it is.

These actually look like they must be related to Elderberries, don’t you think?

Viburnum opulusThis post just goes on and on, I just want to show you one more thing and then we will head back.

We are right at the end of Badger Alley now and this is where I think that the Beast of Badger Alley lives. On one side of the track there is woodland.

WoodlandOn the other side of the track there is impenetrable scrub. This is a tangle of Brambles, Hawthorn, Blackthorn anything with thorns on it.

Last winter I tried to press into this scrub, just a little bit to photograph some bright rose hips and as I went in an animal was startled and went crashing deeper into the bush. It was making more noise than me, it was big. Not a Fox, it was the Beast of Badger Alley but I didn’t see it, I only heard it moving.

ScrubOkay we had better hurry back now.

Just ignore the pretty little bird. It is just guarding it’s territory.


RobinI took loads of pictures of this Common Hogweed but we will rush past this one as well.


HogweedAnd the last thing that we won’t look at will be little Herb Robert.

Herb Robert

Herb Robert

Herb RobertThat’s it. We were out for ages and we still didn’t see a Gorilla. Maybe Fizz scared them all off.


FizzI was going to show you how muddy she was when I dropped her off but you can probably guess.

Muddy Fizz


17/11 Update: We received a tip off from the very kind Mar’yana Svarnyk in the comments section, advising us to take a look at the beautiful red seeds of the Guelder Rose. Thank you so much. (These pictures will be in my upcoming post, “The hunt for Red November” but also here for anyone searching for Guelder Rose)

Guelder Rose Berries

Guelder Rose Berries and seeds

Guelder Rose seedsTake care when extracting the seeds, I recommend wearing eye protection. The fruits are very juicy.

Guelder Rose juice

Butterflies and Flowers (November)

There is only so much fun that you can have with a dog and a puddle.

I think that we all need to grow up a bit and be more serious.

You first 🙂

Yesterday the rain was torrential. All of the lower fields are flooded. I was really surprised to wake up this morning to this sky.

November SkyI can live with that. Today Fizz and I are going after Butterflies but we also want to look at what is still in flower.

The Butterfly idea was doomed to success. Even before I stepped out of my front door I saw one.

A rubbish photo but I took it in case this was the only animal that I saw today. It is enough to prove that they are still about.

November Red AdmiralSo flowers first. Fizz is always in flower. Unfortunately all that water avoidance that she was doing resulted in her getting a thorn in her foot.

Thorny FizzLet the doctor have a look.

Fizz's FootGet out of the way and I’ll kiss it better for you.

Fizz's FootThere. I have saved your life again.

Saved Fizz

FizzOther flowers.

Most of them we were expecting.

Red Campion

Red CampionSilene dioica obviously. I put that on EW earlier, I haven’t created all the links yet but it is here Red Campion


Bramble blossomHogweed is still going strong.

HogweedThere were plenty of flowers still to open… This is an important nectar source at this time of year.

HogweedThere were plenty of seed heads too.

HogweedHerb Robert, it doesn’t seem to have a season.

Herb RobertThere are still a few Ivy flowers about but not many.

IvyThere is a lot of this next one, White Dead Nettle. The last of the dead nettles it won’t be very long before it’s little red cousin will be popping up to welcome  the spring.

White Dead NettleWe pretty much expected to see those and that is a fair summary of all that I could find in flower in this location…. Except for this next one.

Field RoseA lovely Field Rose. This one is out of season but the bush didn’t know that and it had buds just about to burst into flower.

Field Rose

Field RoseSo I didn’t chase butterflies up and down the track because I have only just done the Red Admiral. I just wanted to record their presence. These are the only butterflies that I am still regularly finding.

Red Admiral

Red AdmiralI saw one Dragonfly but I only saw it as a silhouette against the sky as it moved down the track in front of me. It would have been a Migrant Hawker, I am pretty sure that is the only big one still on the wing in November but I couldn’t get close enough to properly confirm that, which was disappointing.

Back to being childish…

FizzOh dear Fizz. How did you get so wet?

Sweetness and Light

I thought that I had better give you an update.

FizzJust in case anybody doesn’t know what’s going on with Fizz and myself let me explain.

Fizz’s owner, Margaret, has gone away for the weekend and asked me to look after Fizz. Just as she was leaving, Margaret said to me, “Just  keep a close eye on her this time, I think she’s coming into season.”

Not being quite sure what that meant I looked it up on the internet and it said, “Your dog will be desperate for .. well, company. She will try and escape and other dogs will take an interest in her.” Okay.

Actually I think that Margaret was mistaken, Fizz is being a little angel and not misbehaving at all. We are just avoiding public places where she might be led into temptation.

We had a lovely walk today. There was a cold wind but plenty of sunshine and Butterflies.

Red AdmiralThis  was nice to see in November. I chased this Red Admiral all over the place and took a lot of pictures. I will probably give it it’s own post but for now here it is demonstrating it’s perfect camouflage.

Now you see me…

Red AdmiralOOh! Where’s the butterfly gone?

Red AdmiralHere is a pretty little mushroom. I don’t know what it is. I know you are going to say Amethyst Deceiver but it is not. I am very familiar with that one. I think that this could be a Lilac Fibrecap but I didn’t get the pictures that I wanted so I am going to leave it for now. I know where to find them and will pop back up there one morning after a bit of rain and see if I can get some more.

For now it is just pretty.

Unidentified Fungi

Unidentified FungiThere were still plenty of flowers about. The wind made photographing them a bit difficult. I took lots of shots of the Herb Robert but it moved in most of them.

Herb Robert

Herb RobertHerb Robert is one of those flowers that I expect to see pretty well all winter. You always get the odd flower that opens out of season and there is just so much of this around that I can almost guarantee to find at least one on any day of the year. Red Campion is the same, very prolific.

Now for another fungi. A lovely find but I don’t know what this one is either. The difference is that I have a lot of good quality photographs of this one. If it is possible to ID it from a photograph then I should be able to do so and it will have it’s own post. I am holding back for now.

Unidentified Fungi

Unidentified FungiOkay, let’s get dirty. That is what we really came out for.

Unidentified Fungi

FizzNo, you can be muddier than that.


FizzIsn’t she sweet?

FizzI think that we need deeper puddles 🙂

Herb Robert and my theory of existence.

My Theory of Existence:

Sometimes I am just wrong.

I have long held the belief that we don’t really see things until we learn their names and a little bit about them, which is what drives me because I like to walk through the forest and the fields with my eyes open, seeing everything.

This first picture was the first physical evidence that I obtained to prove my theory. It is a nice picture of a pretty little Orange Tip that I took last year. I like this butterfly and I must have looked at this picture dozens of times.

Orange Tip ButterflyThis year I learned about Bitter-cress and the next time that I looked at this picture I was astonished to see that the butterfly was perched on one. There was nothing there before, the butterfly was just there alone in the picture.

So, on to Herb Robert. Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time reading other peoples blogs and three times I came across pictures of Herb Robert that the authors were unable to identify. Nothing wrong with that, there are two wild flowers that I want to photograph today because I have seen them and don’t know what they are but it blows my theory out of the water.

People are seeing this little flower and without knowing anything about it they are photographing it and posting those pictures, therefore I can only come to one conclusion.

Things do exist even before we know anything about them and some people at least can see them.

So there may be fairies at the bottom of the garden?

Herb Robert:

This is the pretty little pink flower that catches peoples attention.

Herb Robert

Herb Robert

Herb RobertHerb Robert, Geranium robertianum, it has a lot of other names, Wikipedia says it is Robert Geranium in North America, also known as “Stinky Bob” and also gives the weird name “Death Come Quickly” I am not sure why, I have never been killed by a geranium.

It is a Cranesbill Geranium and the cranesbills get that name from the shape of the seed pods they develop.

Herb Robert CranesbillThe leaves (Deeply dissected, ternate to palmate) look like this…

Herb Robert..and both the leaves and stem turn quite red after flowering.

Herb RobertLike all geraniums it has ten stamens topped with pollen dusting anthers and five styles that lead down to a single ovary. When the flower first opens the stamens are clasped tightly around the styles.

Herb Robert

Herb Robert Herb RobertAt first the anthers are covered in bright yellow pollen and as the pollen is spent the anthers fall away leaving just the styles in the centre of the flower.

(Falling anthers)

Herb RobertFlowers of Herb Robert usually grow in pairs although they don’t always flower at the same time.Herb RobertSo that is what the little pink flower is and if you already knew that , well think about those people that didn’t, it is not a big deal. I have got to find out what that funny daisy like thing is and the yellow flower.

Herb Robert grows pretty much everywhere, there is almost certainly some in your garden today. It is a very prolific little “stinky Bob” weed and a lovely wild flower.

Herb Robert Herb Robert

There is a lot going on today. Before I even start looking outside. I have got a Blackbird’s nest to photograph (I will be careful not to upset anyone). My second chrysalis turned into a butterfly overnight. She is drying her wings at the moment and I have got some good Badger footage back from the trail cam, good natural behaviour, scent marking each other, chasing a Fox and collecting bedding. I hope to have a lot to share as the day goes on. 🙂

Ouch Ouch Ouch!

We have been exploring in the Stinging Nettles today.

We were looking for a companion for Treacle and we had a singular lack of success.

Stinging nettles are probably not my favourite wild flower. They are very nice and important to wild life but yes, you have guessed right, it’s the pain thing.

Urtica dioca

Urtica dioca

So let’s start with the Small Tortoiseshell. We found hundreds of them.

Small Tortoiseshell Larva Small Tortoiseshell Larva Small Tortoiseshell Larva Small Tortoiseshell Larva

But these are all overly small Small Tortoiseshells, early instars. They move around the nettles as they grow and keeping them supplied with fresh nettles and cleaning up the old ones (without throwing the baby out with the bathwater)would be a nightmare.

Small Tortoiseshell Larva Small Tortoiseshell Larva Small Tortoiseshell Larva Small Tortoiseshell Larva

I am just not ready for that kind of commitment. When these reach their fifth instar they will split up and go off alone to find somewhere to pupate and that is when we shall try to catch them.

Now as quick as I can, I just want to show you some of the wonderful things that we saw while we were getting stung.

This lovely Common Carder Bumblebee on Bush Vetch didn’t sting us.

Common Carder Common Carder Common Carder

This is a Green Veined White drinking from Creeping Buttercup.

Green Veined White Green Veined White Green Veined White Green Veined White Green Veined WhiteSome wildflowers:

Herb Robert.

Herb Robert

Herb Bennet or Wood Avens.Herb Bennet

Herb Fizz.Fizz

Cut-leaved Crane’s-bill.
Cut-leaved Crane's-bill

“Knots in May” The lovely blossom of the May Tree (Hawthorn)Hawthorn Blossom Hawthorn Blossom Hawthorn BlossomBack to insects and this is the invasive Harlequin Ladybird.

Harlequin Ladybird Harlequin Ladybird Harlequin LadybirdThis is one of our threatened native species, the very pretty little seven spot.

Seven SpotLast one for tonight. I took lots of pictures of this little beetle and it will probably get it’s own post soon. This is the Red-headed Cardinal.

Red-headed Cardinal Red-headed Cardinal Red-headed CardinalAnd that has got to be it for tonight because I am sleepy.