08 April, 2015

An Easter walk

Back with the family for the duration of the Easter holidays, we took a stroll through White Down yesterday - a gem of old beech woodland just south of Effingham. It's a magical yet eerie and atmospheric place to visit, with ancient Yews drooping over the chalk paths - many deformed into unusual shapes with age.

There's usually plenty of interesting wildlife on show, and in the woodland itself an array of spring plants were beginning to flower. Wood Sorrel, Barren Strawberry and Wood Anemone were looking splendid, but by far the most welcome sight of the day was the first flowering Bluebell of the spring.

Twisted Yews

With clear skies and warm temperatures it seemed like only a matter of time before a migrating Osprey or displaying Goshawk flew into view. Agonising news soon appeared at the same time on Twitter of an Osprey passing nearby Leith Hill, but it wasn't to be and the hoped for raptor never materialised over our vantage point.

I'm starting to believe that Ospreys have some kind of deep-set grudge against me - I missed two birds in the space of an hour at Grimley last spring, and then went on to miss a further two birds on Skokholm last summer; the first flew over the island whilst I was napping after a shattering morning searching for migrants, and the second had the cheek to fly over my head whilst I was eating a sandwich and chatting to guests in the observatory kitchen!

They're back!

Barren Strawberry in flower

Thuidium tamariscinum

Ctenidium molluscum (?)

Nemapogon clematella larval feeding signs on Hazel bark fungus


Bob Bushell said...

Billy, your photography is so lovely. The nature of all things wild.

Billy Dykes said...

Very kind of you Bob!

Hope you're well.