The end of the month

It's the end of the month, and I haven't quite succeeded in posting every day. As always, I have hopes that next month will be better.  Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't.  Writing properly requires a bit of thinking time.  If I take time to think, I don't have time to write, and vice versa.  I'll often "write" something in my head, but can't write it down at the time because I'm doing something else, like driving, and then later on I forget about it.  Somehow I must find time.

Here's a post from someone who did find time - Andy isn't posting every day, by any means, but island life gets you thinking about things perhaps a bit differently.  Are Puffins Socialist?


Luxury hike

Perhaps things are turning for the better.  Both Friday afternoon and today I had the luxury of an eight-mile hike at my pace, stopping and starting when I wanted, and being able to generally enjoy the birdsong.  Both times it came about because work in the bat loft finished earlier than expected, and with no transport except Shanks's Pony, I had the rest of the day to myself.

On Friday I had a camera with me (Fuji X100S) and photographed a few plants en route.  (I'm sure I did a post on Friday, but it seems to have disappeared) so here are a couple of photos.

I have taken scores of pictures of wood anemones (left), but still can't resist another one.  Perhaps because they are one of the earliest flowers to practice on in spring.  Here I was trying to show the whole of the flower and leaf as an ID picture.


Wood spurge (below) is a larger plant, and more difficult to show both leaves and flowers without a distracting background.  This one, taken when the sun went in, was the best of the bunch.


Hen Harrier

It's migration season, so almost any bird can turn up almost anywhere.  Today we had a chance sighting of a raptor being mobbed by a corvid.  We were on a narrow country lane, with no easy place to pull over, and there was a van coming up behind us.  As the passenger, I was able to grab a camera and point it at the birds while we were still moving.  It was more by luck than anything, that I actually got the birds in the frame - you don't realise quite how much a car vibrates until you're looking through a long lens - and that one of the resulting pictures was reasonably sharp.

And it wasn't until we were able to look at the photos that we could be sure what the species were.  Even that white rump wasn't showing up against the bright sky, but it's obvious in the photos.

The corvid was a rook, and the raptor was a female hen harrier (northern harrier) - a bird we don't much of here, just a few in winter normally.

The photos have no artistic merit, and ordinarily I wouldn't have bothered taking them.  But sometimes you just need a record of what you've seen. 


Gossip from the Garden - Anemone de Caen

I love the rich colour of these Anemones, and have tried to grow them at various times in the last twnety years.  Somehow, I have always failed.  Maybe there'll be a few leaves, occasionally a half-hearted bloom, then nothing.

Last year was no exception.  I followed the instructions on the packet, growing them in a pot where I could include slug pellets.  Only one of the dozen or so corms got as far as leaves.  But this year, that single plant grew again, and this is the second (and probably last) bloom it has managed.  It's a bit past its best now, but it gives me hope for next year.

It was in an awkward position next to a lilac, and blowing in the wind, so the photograph wasn't easy to take with the Fujifilm X100s.




Gossip from the Garden

Yesterday we bought five new plants for the garden.  As always, they've been purchased without any planning, and without research.  Back home Bob started digging the far end of the flowerbed, where several plants have failed in the past few years.  I started a new project - I photographed everything that was in flower - and that didn't amount to much.  But every plant has a story, so I'm going to try to tell a few.

 The Snake's Head Fritillaries were planted in a pot about ten years ago.  The first year, one produced a bloom.  The next year there were two, and so on.  Last year the pot was looking crowded.

I moved the pot around the corner, out of sight, once the blooms had died back, and it has been there in the shade ever since.  Not moved back into view this spring (part of the general neglect of the garden in the wet weather) but the plants seem to have thrived.

This photo was actually taken two years ago with a Nikon D200. Sigma 150 macro lens and Nikon macro flash.  (today's photos are still waiting to be downloaded)