Thursday, 25 November 2010


not exactly getting a helping hand with my nature notes.
She just spreads paper over the floor and looks at it. I join in but it doesn't seem an all together appreciated action. She mutters things about Em Ay and reading and reasearch.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

holidays and extermination

I have been away on a 5 week holiday. Plenty of domesticated wild life to keep me company.
But tonight my biggest collection of fleas ever has been attacked and I hear there will be more chemicals tomorrow. Heard her saying something like "he's covered in them, never seen anything like it". Well yes was getting a bit itchy.

Thursday, 19 August 2010


most odd thing this morning: we were doing our stroll up to the chooks (I'm a little slow having injured my leg: some idiot threw my ball and didn't bother telling me an 18" drop to encounter, not best done at full speed); as we went under one of the birch (Betula pendula - silver birch) trees there was a pitter patter sound not unlike rain, and some drops fell on our heads. Well it wasn't rain, it was some of tye growing flock of goldfinches up high eating the seeds. Considering how many seeds scatter the ground I am surprised any left to nibble. She says it reminded her of hearing crossbills on Ynys Môn/Anglesey. Well I wouldn't know about that.
The goldfinch flock has been growing from about two dozen a few weeks ago to perhaps 50 in total at times. Usually we meet them of a morning up at the chook run as they take off all a twitter from the vast knapweed patch. See knapweed above.
Here is a goldfinch from a few years ago that stunned itself by flying into a window. It recovered.

A brief quote from Gilbert White, that other naturalist of similar name to myself:
August 19th 1791: A second crop of beans, long pods, come in. Sweet day, golden eve, red horizon.  Some what of an autumnal feel. 
The robin was singing his head off here, this morning, right old harbinger of winter to would agree that we have an autumnal feel, especially as above mentioned birch tree has been shedding leaves for more than a week.

Carduelis carduelis
you will find a description and recording of its song here

Centaurea nigra
lesser/common/black knapweed, knob weed, hardhead
cornish: pederow/pennow
cymraeg/welsh: y bengaled
irish: Cnapán Du · Deutsch: Schwarze Flockenblume · Español: Garbansón · Nederlands: Zwart knoopkruid

Friday, 13 August 2010

Bad weather forecasts

Inspecting the hay. A bit late really in August, a lot of plaintain. All the dock have had dock beetle, so much less in evidence. Nice bit of knapweed weed here.
On my morning stroll up to the chooks I frequently see some two dozen, possibly three this morning, goldfinches rise up in that twttery flittery way from the large kapweed patch (perhaps quarter of an acre).
Anyway back to the hay. The weather forecast which ever website was looked at said fair weather, they were WRONG. There are many hay fields cut around here. they get damp. Not even warm or properly breezy. Perhaps some will be saved in a form of haylage/silage in plastic wrapped big bales.

the dried yellow rattle seed heads seen here.
And below a reed rattle - two damp patches in the field have reed clumps. She made a reed rattle from some of the wilted reeds, apparently it worked well, no cracking. Her grandfather was a hedger and thatcher...and other sorts of farm worker, he taught her this little technique. The same as basic corn dollies.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

it is dicovered why cleavers/sticky buds are called thus

cleavers goosegrass stickybuds galium aparine
also Barweed. Hedgeheriff. Hayriffe. Eriffe. Grip Grass. Hayruff. Catchweed. Scratweed. Mutton Chops. Robin-run-in-the-Grass. Loveman. Goosebill. Everlasting Friendship

the late 16th centuary herbalist John Gerard had them down as a slimming aid. perhaps the potage of oats and cleavers should be tried.

A relative of coffee and quinine. the seeds have been used in the past, roasted, as a coffee substitute. mightly fiddlesome job I'd say. Don't touch the stuff myself. Also a spring tonic.

As I am in Cymru/Wales I should add: cwlwm coed; llysiau'r hidl; wil gariadus; cwsberis bach; bwyd gwyddau; cynga; beilie; bwms; llau'r offeiriad
and in Brittany: karantez; krogerez;louzaouen ar paour; peg speg; seregenn;seregenn vihan; skleregen vihan; skraperez;stagerez; stakerez; toed evn; pegas; saragerez; luierez

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

wildlife art exhibition

they took me to a wildlife exhibition then didn't let me see it!!

but these are the winners in the childrens section of the badger competition. This area is a badger cull area....
winner Frances Chaffey top, runner up Lucie McCloud right & Megan Mount Stevens bottom.
And they tell me that B won the adult overall category. humph but still didn't get a look. Can see that picture at home though.

have to add this was way way back atthe begining of May

Monday, 24 May 2010

bird song in the woods, yesterday

bluebell woods, cwm gwaun

sunday 23rd, late afternoon, early evening. following badger paths, leaving my mark.
warm sunny weather. lots of bird song. bluebells. wood warbler, song thrush, chiff chaff...amongst many...

Thursday, 20 May 2010

last night's notes

heard a scrabbling, persuaded her that it was worth opening the chicken house door, it could be rats!! She did and there it was in front of my nose: a vole...then she scared it off. hmmm sniffed a few molehills nothing coming up.