Sunday, 19 February 2017

A busy week followed by frustrating fog

The Safari had a few opportunities to look at the sea this week but there wasn't much doing. On Thursday we joined up with a local Community Arts group to see what natural materials and things wild we could find for their project. We started off at the chapel at the entrance to the old cemetery 
We measured some trees, finding out their age with a tape measure and a clever piece of card and a friend to discover their height. One some of the trees have had a garnish of bat boxes placed around them.
Anywhere where there's old(ish) trees we look for faces in them. This one's probably no the best we'll ever find.
Beneath the trees we found a few fresh fungi coming up through the grass.
We found a Holly tree which had been attacked, like almost all Holly trees, by the Holly Leaf Miner fly. This one has hatched rather than the larva within the leafbeen predated or parasitised.
Well if we've got Holly, there must be Ivy nearby.
Ivy has lots of good shapes, patterns and forms
And there even some berries left for the birds. 
The group we were with were trying to identify the trees from their twigs and buds. So what's this one folks?
Close by was an Ash tree with its distinctive chocolate brown buds and flattened twigs. So for a bit of a clue we told them the old adage about which of the pairs' leaves coming out first will determine if we have a splash of a summer or  a soak of a summer to come. No sign of any leaves on either of the trees yet.
A nice Wild Cherry tree stood all gnarly on the intersection of to of the avenues.
Some trees around the cemetery have had to be felled and they have left some interesting stumps like this one with a big see-through hole in it, possibly the reason why it was felled.
Along with twig collecting our group were also doing some bark rubbing. Another one for you, what;s this snap from?
A very pleasant couple of hours out. On the way back to the office we stopped off at the waste depot but there wasn't a single gull on the roof.
The following day we were entertaining a half-term holiday group rockpooling on the beach, our first of the year. We thought we'd best do a recce to see the lie of the land - well the sand anyways - and what was about. Good job we did as we found a huge tangle of fishing line with a massive hook in it right where the children would be exploring and no doubt their eagle eyes would have been attracted to the bright colour.
We put it out of reach but somewhere we could show them and tell them about the dangers of marine litter. Then we spotted something else in the pool. On closer inspection it was a large bullet! Where'd that come from?
Having seen corroded live ordnance before we thought it best to call the police. They came and took it his pocket, so much for it being unstable and deadly dangerous!
With the beach all safe and well the kids came and had a great time. A flock of about 100 Pink Footed Geese flew over but they didn't notice they were concentrating too much on hat was around their feet.
Tiny hands soon filled our tubs with all manner of goodies gleaned from the pools and sands.
 Catch of the day was left to us, with this Dab.
Actually we cheated as we knew where it was because it was buried in the sand attached to the fishing line we collected earlier. We' cut the line but there was no chance of removing the hook so we don't reckon much for its chances. When we let it go the children were fascinated watching it wriggle to bury itself.
The enjoyed that more than the fossils we found them, Crinoids aren't as impressive as dinosaurs even if they are much older
After work we took Monty to the park and had a surprise on the way in the form of a couple of rather early 'blooms' of Meadow Foxtail, anyone else seen any spring grasses in flower yet? Sorry about the grotty pic it was almost dark and a  bit breezy.
Far more expected in mid-February are the Snowdrops in blossom around the base of several of the trees.
Where to next? Our bad hands have got tired of typing so we'll have to tell you about more community fun and all that frustrating fog next time.
In the meantime let us know who's very early in your outback.

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