Saturday, 30 May 2009

Edford Wood final post

Sorry for the delay in this final posting about Edford Woods. The computer had to go into hospital for a couple of days.Most of the ferns have been in the background of my photos so far, but I did manage to take a couple of photos that shows off their lovely foliage.This one reminds a bit of the tree ferns I saw in the rain forests of Queensland in Australia. No Eastern Whipbirds or Logrunners here though unfortunately! (-:This dainty plant is called Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum multiflorum). You can see where the local name of 'sows tits' came from though. It is quite common in southern woodlands, but can be surprisingly difficult to spot. Luckily I had my eye in for spotting plants by the time I came across these.This is the Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus). It favours riversides, hedgerows and damp woodlands and gets up to 12 feet in height.The creamy white flowers are followed by waxy red berries in the autumn. The foliage also goes bright red in the autumn.These wild Strawberries were growing by the roadside. Such a nice bright and cheery flower.And lastly Yellow Archangel. This is a flower of woodlands and hedgerows which I wrote about a few weeks ago on one of my walks during my lunchtime at work.I'm so glad I managed to get back for this spring walk before the circular walk around the wood closes for the year.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Edford Wood part three

Well, I know this is part three of my Edford Wood odyssey, so I guess you might find it weird when I say that this bridge is where I start my walk. All it means is that I have a disordered mind when it comes to this post! Just behind where I'm standing is where I park up and also where the path into the woods on the right starts.This is a wonderful old bridge and I think that in the past the Dippers have bred under it, I'm not sure whether they have this year or not.The bridge walls are covered in moss which gives it a look of Tolkien about it I think.I liked this end of the bridge with the moss and ivy and fern.This is the same mossy stump in the woods that I photographed back in March on my wild Daffodil day. I like moss covered things, can you tell? (-:Every now and then I'd come across a delightful mix of wild woodland flowers. Here I see white Greater Stitchwort, the pink Red Campion and lovely blue Bluebells with a lush background of ferns.Here's the Red Campion (Silene dioica) at closer range. A real bright jewel in the woods.I just really loved the end of this birch log. the rich browns nestled amongst the foliage.I had to include ONE photo of a bird even though it was quite some way away and this is heavily cropped. This is a Grey Wagtail which love these small fast flowing streams. I'll finish this walk through Edford Woods in my last post tomorrow.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Edford Wood part two

I love water, specially fast flowing streams like this one. I was hoping to see the Dipper here as they favour these fast flowing parts particularly. I did get the occasional glimpse as it sped off down the stream ahead of me. So, leaving the Dipper alone to go off and get its breakfast, I turned my attention to this rather nice rock in the river (I'm calling it a river here for the alliteration!) (-:That's a nice mossy rock there sticking up against the swirling stream I thought! Take a photo.
I wanted to try and get a softer effect though so I slowed the shutter speed down. It's nice when something does actually turn out as you want it to! I found this plant growing by the side of the stream. It's called Monk's Hood (Aconitum napellus) and is extremely poisonous. My Mum has some growing in her garden.You can see where the common name comes from. It's a beautiful if somewhat dangerous flower.Something more beneficial is the Yellow Pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum) which favours damp woodland clearings. Jacobean herbalists believed that it had the power to alleviate pain. I nearly overlooked this small and unassuming flower as I walked along the wooded paths. I'm glad I didn't.There were many Hawthorne trees flowering in the wood. This is one of the great flowering spectacles of spring as these small trees are abundant around the country lanes all around Britain. In the autumn they will be covered in small red berries. For now I love their pure white flowers. More to come....

Monday, 25 May 2009

Edford Wood revisited

This is the first of four posts on a return visit to Edford woods. I first went there earlier this year, back in March to see the wild Daffodils and promised myself I would return later in the spring to see what might have come up in the meantime.
It is a Somerset Wildlife Trust Reserve which lies about 15 minutes drive west of my hometown of Frome.As the sign says, this particular circular walk around the wood is only open from February through to May. I'm not sure why this is, but I realised I was running out of time to get my return walk in this year.The first thing I noticed almost straight away was how much lusher the vegetation was (see my previous post in March called Daffy Day) and also the pungent smell of the 'wild garlic' or Ramsons which followed me the entire way around my 3 hour walk. Good thing I like the smell! (-:Where there had been carpets of wild Daffodils a few weeks ago, the ground was now smothered in this beautiful and useful wild onion.Many people still use Ramsons in their cooking. I haven't tried myself as yet!Here's a close up of the flower with the stream as a backdrop.I think this is a stretch of the Mells stream (Mells being a village between Edford Wood and Frome) that runs through the wood. It has Dipper, Kingfisher and Grey Wagtails along this stretch.As I was having atrocious luck with getting anywhere photographing birds today, I turned my lens towards the wild flowers found in this ancient woodland habitat. This dainty flower is the Water Avens (Geum rivale) and is apparently quite rare in southern Britain, it likes damp woodland as it name suggests.Another woodland speciality is the Wood Spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides). It favours broad-leaved woodland and its local Somerset name is 'Devil's cup and saucer'.Here is a close up showing the 'cup and saucer'. Euphorbia in its cultivated forms is a popular garden plant.
More on Edford woods to follow....

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Poppy and the garden

The sun decided to make it to Frome today so here are some photos from my garden, with a little help from Poppy too.
We took my father in law out for a birthday treat last week to a nice garden centre near Dorchester (about 40 miles south of here). While there, I couldn't resist this new clematis that is clump forming, only growing to one foot high! Perfect for a pot I thought!The Hostas are doing well, I'm not sure where the slugs and snails are this year, but I'm very grateful that they haven't made an appearance so far! (digits crossed).Poppy really likes spending time in our Laburnum tree pot. It's just outside the kitchen window so she can reach up and beg to come in from there! (-: At the moment, she is having endless fun with the fallen cherries!Occasionally she gets distracted from cherries by a passing bird or a photographer!After time spent cherry batting, it's time for some serious chilling out.She's watching a bird on the feeder here I think! Gulp!Here's another type of fern that I have growing in the garden. They're such useful and beautiful plants I think.And my miniature Iris is about to burst forth. It's loaded with flowers so should look fantastic in a week or so.In the small veg plot, the potatoes need earthing up again. The ground on the left will have Runner Beans put in shortly (my Mum has grown some on for me and I'll be picking them up this coming weekend hopefully).Lastly, I attempted a clever photo of the reflection of our Laburnum tree on our conservatory windows. Not sure it really worked, but there you go! (-: By the way, the stained glass in the back door was made by my hugely talented husband (Chris), take a look at his website at if you're interested in Arts and Crafts. That's all for now folks!

Monday, 18 May 2009

Waterways survey along the River Frome

Last Monday I did my BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) Waterways survey which takes me along the River Frome. I've been doing this particular survey for about 10 years now and what is great is that you get a good feel for what birds are doing well or badly when you survey the same area for several years. The survey starts at the Mill House that you often see in my pictures of Rodden Nature Reserve which is just on the outskirts of Frome. I then walk 5 x 500metre stretches of the river noting down the birds I see and hear along the way. This year I've noticed that there were no Willow Warblers singing (they seem to be doing badly nationwide too) and I haven't seen Spotted Flycatcher for a few years now. On the plus side, the Kingfishers seem to be holding their own and Lesser Whitethroat seems to be hanging on here too.The Railway line crosses the River along the stretch that I survey a couple of times, but doesn't seem to create much disturbance thankfully.There are some parts of the river that are quite difficult to walk along which doesn't help when you're trying to concentrate on birds without falling in! However, other stretches are really lovely and make up for those awkward sections.
This is where my Lesser Whitethroat was singing away trying to attract a mate. They come to Britain to breed from NE Africa and are generally quite skulking birds, normally only making their presence known through their rattling song.The river narrows towards the end of my survey area and this is where I normally hear or see Kingfishers.This is the end of my survey coverage. It's then just a question of enjoying a leisurely walk back along the river and a full English breakfast back at home!