Sunday, 27 May 2012

A Sudden Change in the Weather

Germander Speedwell 2012 is proving to be a very varied year with respect to weather - even more than normal in the UK. After 6 weeks of horrible, cold, wet weather, it suddenly changed. The weather forecast did not even predict it. The temperature has been in the high 20's centigrade for the last week with the wind from the East. This is most unusual because our hot weather normally comes from the South. It is also very unusual for May when the temperature is normally 16-20 degrees. I won't complain - I love hot weather!

The wild flowers are continuing to bloom in the garden. The photo above is Germander Speedwell. There are carpets of it blooming at the moment.

Common Vetch There are also huge clumps of Common Vetch in the flowerbed. Even though it is a weed, it is pretty and I don't feel inclined to pull it out.

Star of Bethlehem I found a clump of this Star of Bethlehem. It must have seeded itself because I did not plant it.

Bracken Frond Unfurling The bracken is also unfurling which makes a very pretty photo.

Finally, this evening I saw a Red Kite feasting on something at the bottom of the garden. On closer inspection it was a pheasant. Sadly, I think "Hoppy" who I mentioned last week is no longer with us :(

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Beech Leaves and Partridges

Beech leaves Since I finished my April challenge, the weather has not improved - grey, cold and showery. The plants and creatures are completely confused about the weather. The apple blossom finally came out weeks after the cherry and pear, but there are no bees or other insects around to pollinate.

The leaves are appearing on the trees and I love it when everything looks so fresh and green. I just had to take a photo of these pristine beech leaves before they they are nibbled by insects.

The birds are very busy feeding their young but there has been one casualty of the mating season. I have posted photos before of cock pheasants fighting. They are really quite vicious with each other. Well a couple of weeks ago, one of the pheasants was hopping around completely lame in one leg. Lo and behold, a day or so later, we saw another pheasant hobbling around with a sore leg! I have no idea whether they were fighting each other or whether there was another pheasant that has attacked both of them.

The pheasant that was only slightly hurt seems to have recovered, but "hoppy" as we now call him, is still in a bad way. He can hardly put any weight on the bad leg and hops everywhere. When we see him, we put extra seed out for him, but sadly I think his days are numbered.

There has been a bullfinch around on several occasions landing on some plants just outside my office window. Unfortunately, I have not managed to get a photo.

The couple of red-legged partridges below have been in the garden for a few months and are inseparable. I guess they are nesting, but because we normally see both together, I guess she has not laid her eggs yet. I find them very strange looking birds with their bright red eyes. They are very nervous and don't hang around for long when disturbed.

We are eagerly awaiting sightings of the roe deer fawns this year. We normally see them during the last weekend of May. I hope this year will be no exception!
Red-legged Partridges

New Web Site Live

I mentioned some time ago that I was working on a redesign of my web site

I am pleased to say that it is now live. There are still a few issues that need to be corrected but it's almost all there - more than 500 pages!

I have been replacing some of the old images with better ones on the information pages. I also wanted to showcase some of my best photographs so have created a series of photo galleries.

If anyone cares to visit, you may need to refresh your browser if you have visited before because all the page names are the same.

Any feedback (especially if you find any errors) would be gratefully received.