Thursday, May 09, 2013

Thimbleweed and smell-fox...

Tempus fugit....

Although, I believe the proper translation of this is not 'time flies' but rather 'time flees' and so maybe not the best opening line as I haven't seen any fleas this year yet. Alright! It isn't even the same spelling and so doesn't work on many levels. 
I was just trying to reference the fact that my last blog entry was April 12th and since then, spring has definitely arrived proper..... hooray!



This little wood mouse turned up on the bird table early one morning. I watched it deftly climb the trellis and then leap across to the table with no problem at all, have its fill of the bird food and then just as easily, returned the way it came and disappeared behind the foliage.

Meanwhile...at the local pond...


I spotted these two. Even though they were underwater and amongst the frogspawn, I think they are actually toads. I know there are some warty frogs but not that warty surely? I think the horizontal,slit pupils give it away too.
I like the expression of pleasure? on the male and the fact that the female seems totally uninterested...

By the way...does anyone know the correct names for male and female toads? Not sure I have ever heard this? A male frog is a bullfrog? Not even sure that's correct.

Frogspawn
Some of the frogspawn looked in pretty poor condition and I wondered if it was going to be viable as several clumps were this milky colour, and looked deflated in places. I have read that frogspawn is easily damaged in this way by cold weather and that would fit-however, when I returned a few days later, it did seem to be doing okay for the most part.



At least, what wasn't being used as a tasty treat by the newts was doing alright. 
I have seen good numbers of newts this spring. A few days ago I found more in what was little more than a puddle in the woods at Sissinghurst Castle...



Now seems to be a busy time for the ants as well. Almost every-time I walk in the local woods, especially the managed pine forests,I come across thousands of tiny black, wood ants, scurrying around carrying all manner of things back to the nest site...




Besides the increase in invertebrates that has happened over the past couple of weeks, the bluebells have finally decided to put on a show and a few days ago a visit to a spot known to be rich in the wildflowers was in order...


It was  beautiful weather and the bluebells were at their finest on this particular spring day...


Click any photo for a larger view










Mixed in with the bluebells,buttercups and wood anemones were quite a few early orchids...


I recently found out that common names for the wood anemones include:  windflower-thimbleweed and smell-fox. These photos don't really do it justice, you really had to be there-and to experience the smell too...it was quite a day and really lifted me. I spent an hour or so wandering around the woods, thinking to myself that I must store away these memories to recall in the depths of winter, when things can seem bleak.

I listened to the birds singing and the insects buzzing and then, drove home in the car, listening to The Byrds singing...I'm not sure which sounded sweetest.

Back at the waterside, I found my first Caddisfly (thanks for correction Maria) of the year...



On some vegetation below an ancient oak tree or two, I found a little acorn weevil. It can be rough being a weevil at times, this one couldn't have been long emerged and yet, seems to be missing part of a limb already. I wonder what caused the loss?




Also, this rather pretty looking snail...



In the garden, I came across another of the strange jewel like,hanging cocoons? That I saw last year...



And the example I found last time...



I'm still not exactly sure what these are but the consensus last time seemed to be caterpillar?

Hmmmm...this blog entry is turning into something of a monster and I still have lots to share. I guess I'll end this one here and add the rest to another very soon.

Until the next time then...

3 comments:

  1. Wow! Absolutely superb as ever JJ! Informative and beautifully illustrated!
    A walk in bluebell woods with all the accompanying flowers is definitely a feast for the senses! The scent is divine! Gorgeous shot of Herbie sitting amongst the bluebells too!

    Love the toads, but your description is even funnier about their expressions! Never heard of specific names for males and females...

    Not seen an Acorn weevil yet. Aren't they wonderful with that super long rostrum?

    Lovely shot of the Caddisfly too! Not sure which species it is though!

    Think you ought to pop that cocoon in a box so that we can all find out what emerges! Lol! ;-)

    Best wishes

    Maria

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Maria...

    Yes, bluebell woods are one of the things that make living in the U.K. special. Took loads of photos and really enjoyed the time there. The toads were amazing to see as I don't find them too often compared to frogs. I Love weevils and always look forward to their arrival. Thanks for the correction on the caddisfly too! I Knew it didn't look right for alderfly :-) Actually found another species the same day too. I'll have a look see if I can find that tiny cocoon again, it was actually in the garden.

    Kinnd regards
    JJ.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Another Toad-ally revealing and amusing Blog to enjoy! Really tho, that Toad(s) capture is fantastic !!!....and got a real sweet smile reading of the Woodmouse antics....I could just see it.....and Whoa, Yes, those Bluebells.....what a U.K. treat you have there !!!.....in fact, that 5th photo of them I could sure see on my studio wall ! ( hint hint to put in your For Sale section...;-))). Thanks again for the wonderful writing and beautiful images....until next time, Happy trails, sincerely, Stella

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