Tag Archives: Hogweed

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.

Selfie

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.

Selfie

 

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Frosting the Dog

Well, it wasn’t really much of a frost and I think we may have to put off declaring a “State of Emergency” for a day or two.

FrostThere was some frost on the little things.

Little ThingFrost can be quite destructive and Spindle berries were dropping off the tree as I was trying to photograph them.

Spindle Berries

Spindle BerriesA few of the remaining flowers were totally frosted and I don’t think that they will last much longer.

HogweedIt feels a bit like we are saying goodbye to the colours of Autumn and hello to the greyness that is Winter.

BlackberriesToday wasn’t very cold.The Puddles were not frozen…

Mud(There is nothing like a cool drink of mud to set you up for the day)

There was no frost at all under the trees. They have a warmth of their own, trapping warm air and protecting their surroundings from exposure to the cold night.

I am not really sure that this is frost on the grass and not just cold dew.

Grass

GrassBut Winter is coming…. and the Sloes will taste sweeter.

Sloe Berries

Sloe BerriesFizz got an extra walk and she has got insulation so she doesn’t mind the cold and when we got home I had some toast (In case it gets bad later)

Fizz

Fizz

 

 

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

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.

Robin

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

Hogweed

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.

Fizz

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…

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?

The day I fell in love with Miss PIggy

Love Happens. It happens when you are not looking for it and it happens when you least expect it and so it was with Miss Piggy.

The Common Red Soldier Beetle, Rhagonycha fulva.

Common Red Soldier Beetle

Common Red Soldier BeetleThere is nothing unusual here. They are nice pictures of an interesting animal. That is just what I do.

It is the flower that they are on. It keeps cropping up in all of my pictures. Insects love it and although I hadn’t expected to say this… It is beautiful.

Common Red Soldier BeetleIt is Hogweed and it comes in shades of pink and white. It creates big saucers of flowers that just crawl with insects.

I have been taking it for granted, just kicking it around, it’s nothing special, it is always there.

Recently I have photographed the Variable Longhorn, Spotted Longhorn, Crab Spider, this thing and a host of other animals that I haven’t shown you, all on the same plant.

Common Red Soldier BeetleSo Miss Piggy it is then. My new love. Who would have thought it?

Common Red Soldier Beetle

Common Red Soldier BeetleAnd the bug? It was some sort of beetle thing……

My apologies to the Common Red Soldier Beetle for my little joke. It has already appeared in the post

There’s nothing you can do….

A much more raunchy piece 🙂