30 June 2013


There you go, who said I never buy you flowers.

Took advantage of the gardener's laissez-faire mowing schedule today, donned the pith helmet and went off in search of a few species for the garden flora.  It was incredible!  RAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT!  They were coming from all angles, BOOM!  An unremitting tsunami of megas.  Red Fescue Festuca rubra, KAPOW!  Sheep's Fescue F. ovina, OOOSH!  Perennial Rye-grass Lolium perenne, KER-CHING!  Crested Dog's-tail Cynosurus cristatus, PIZZ-ZAZZ!  Annual Meadow Grass Poa annua, BLAM!  Smooth Meadow-grass P. pratensis, DA-DA-DA-DA-DA!  Wood Meadow-grass P. nemoralis, OOOF!  Cock's-foot Dactylis glomerata, PEEE-OW!  Yorkshire-fog Holcus lanatus, KER-BOOM!  Sweet Vernal-grass Anthoxanthum odoratum, POP!  Timothy Phleum pratense, FIZZ!  Smaller Cat's-tail Ph. bertolonii, PFFFT!  Soft Brome Bromus hordeaceus PARP!  And Bearded Couch Elymus caninus SQUIT!

Off to lie down in a darkened room now.

PS. One or two of the more elusive and/or mobile species might be missing from the photo. 
PPS. I am pretty sure I had at least two subspecies of Red Fescue,... I know,... where will this mad, white knuckle, roller coaster of botanical exploration end?!
PPPS. I might be very bored,... and have almost certainly consumed more than my usual intake of caffeine today.

16 June 2013

Quiet becoming moist

Another morning Cetti's wrangling at Uskmouth.  A little bit quiet on both the bird (boo!) and punter (yay!) fronts.  In lieu of anything ornithological worth mentioning, some bird food for your delectation,...

Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet, Zygaena lonicerae, nice and easy to photograph when they are practically comatose thanks to the fine summer we're having; did briefly chase after a Small China-mark, Cataclysta lemnata, but the wee fella proved a touch evasive. 

14 June 2013

A few 'jars and a side order of chips

Another few nights on the heath this week; Nightjars on the dry bits, various avian nuggles in the wet,... a darkness full of churrs, chips, whistles, hums, squeaks and grunts,...

... and the birds were making some noises too,...


[From our Guest Editor Fouad: Oh-ho-ho! Yes! It's funny because you thought the noises were made by the birds whilst being observed but then the opposite was implied, the noises might have been made by the human observer. Oh-ho-ho! It's funny! You try it. Oh-ho-ho! Now you're funny too!]

08 June 2013

A few nights on Egdon

Spent this week 'jarring in deepest Wessex.

"The heaven being spread with this pallid screen and the earth with the darkest vegetation, their meeting-line at the horizon was clearly marked. In such contrast the heath wore the appearance of an instalment of night which had taken up its place before its astronomical hour was come: darkness had to a great extent arrived hereon, while day stood distinct in the sky. [...] The face of the heath by its mere complexion added half an hour to evening; it could in like manner retard the dawn,... "

"... precisely at this transitional point of its nightly roll into darkness the great and particular glory of the Egdon waste began [...]. It could best be felt when it could not clearly be seen, its complete effect and explanation lying in this and the succeeding hours before the next dawn; then, and only then, did it tell its true tale. The spot was, indeed, a near relation of night, and when night showed itself an apparent tendency to gravitate together could be perceived in its shades and the scene. The sombre stretch of rounds and hollows seemed to rise and meet the evening gloom in pure sympathy, the heath exhaling darkness as rapidly as the heavens precipitated it. And so the obscurity in the air and the obscurity in the land closed together in a black fraternization towards which each advanced halfway." ~ The Return of the Native, Robert [D'oh!] Thomas Hardy.

What he said.

01 June 2013

Grinding to summer's halt

Six Black-tailed Godwit, four Dunlin and 70 Swift were the only nailed-on migrants at Goldcliff over high tide.  I suppose we may yet get a late spring monster but, locally at least, you're probably better off chasing dragonflies, butterflies, grasshoppers, bumblebees, etc., for the next six weeks. 

On the other hand, there is always aestivation.