Anyway, after a shockingly bad night's sleep, I left Na to sleep off her cold this afternoon and took young Sabina up through the woods to see what was happening in the world around us. After a bit of a cold snap over the past couple of days, it was nice to be out in warm weather. The birds have been triggered by the rising temperatures and longer days, so even though it was early afternoon the air was sweet with the songs of Blackbird, Robin, Mistle Thrush and Chaffinch, whilst Great and Blue Tits chucked in their two-pennorth (I just can't bring myself to describe their songs as 'sweet', though they're undeniably pleasant to hear).
Along the river we managed to find a Dipper singing and feeding in the riffles, so spent some time enjoying the sight of him wading energetically into the water, ducking down to search for invertebrates, then shrugging under the surface for a moment, only to reappear close by - either bobbing along the stones in the same unhurried fashion, or, in the deeper patches, popping to the surface like a cork and swimming along for a brief moment before flying to a nearby rock.
|Argh! Not another walk! Why do you do this to me?|
|The river Bovey at Parke|
|Pignut (feathery leaves), Wild Strawberry (trefoil leaves), Lesser Celandine (heart-shaped leaves) claiming the open soil for the early part of the season.|
|Beech trunk covered with mosses (mainly Hypnum andoi) and lichens|
The bulk of the green in the ground layer is still found in the ferns and mosses though; it's still somewhat surprising to realise how many species are involved in a reasonably varied bit of woodland here: testament to the generally moist climate we live in here.
|Primroses; a splash of delicate colour to welcome the warmer weather in.|
|Another of the species making up the carpet: Wild Garlic, or Ramsons|
|Cuckoo-pint deserving the name 'maculatum'|
|Red-flushed ivy leaves on a post along the old railway line|
|Polypody, one of the commoner ferns in this part of the world; but which species? Difficult without a microscope, but perhaps Polypodium interjectum and P. vulgare - or more likely a hybrid between the two!|
|Polypody doing a semi-passable impression of Hard Fern|
|The old railway line through Parke, glowing in the afternoon sun with Dog's-mercury along the sides of the track.|