Saturday, December 31, 2011

31st December... ring out the old, ring in the new!

Bluebells, Canterbury bells, Bellflowers, they all appear in Triangle Wood at their allotted season ... but not in the winter ... we need something else to ring in the new year ... What better than the first snowdrops, little bells proclaiming the coming of 2012 for all to see! 

... and for such delicate little beauties they are remarkably strong, pushing up through the leaf little and bark on the woodland floor and competing with the ivy, like little troopers and standing to attention!  The Dragoon Guards meet the Ballerinas!  And maybe that is how we should face the New Year ... with a combination of strength, fortitude, faith and inner beauty.  Like Nature herself!  Happy New Year from all in Triangle Wood!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

29th December - wind and a little rain...and sunshine to come!

To get to Triangle Wood I have to walk along a quiet lane and over a small bridge, which crosses the river Lark ... 

Today, after some rain and a very blustery night, the river was running quite high, chattering over the stones and washing the banks making little splashes and splutters dance in the odd, rare, bursts of sunlight.  There are not many flowers around at this time of the year, but buttercups, in their many guises can always be found.  Alongside the river bank, by a clump of yellow flowers, a little creamy coloured water wagtail was bobbing and paddling in the water for all the world as though it were a summer afternoon!  Bless his little sun-shiny heart, he made me feel as though behind the darkest cloud, the sun is just waiting to come out for us.

What ever the new year has in store - let us thanks the Powers that Be for things that are yellow!
They promise the sunshine to come!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

22nd December - a little night music

One of the few advantages (if you call it that!) of these long nights is that you are more likely to see nocturnal birds and animals than you are in the short, light evenings of the summer...

Last night the screech of the barn owl gave notice that he was out and about taking advantage of the long darkness to find food.

Keen eyes, soft feathers.
Pity the small animals who came to his notice ... those eyes miss nothing and the silent approach gives little chance of escape.  I have known a barn owl to pass so silently that a brush of the wings on your cheek is the first indication of his approach, maybe then a swish of downy feathers, maybe a lightning fast stoop to snatch up his prey.  The darkness is both friend and foe depending on your allegiance!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December 20th ... almost the shortest day!

Christmas is coming ... and ...

What would the Druids think??
...  it's a good thing that the mistletoe is soooo high up the trees, otherwise it might not be there at all! Apparently there has been a lot of unauthorised "harvesting" going on... personally I think if you want to steal a kiss under the mistletoe the best time to do it is with rosy cheeks and a pink nose after a long, cold, Christmas walk... if he loves you then, he will love you always!  Incurable romantic, aren't I?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

17th December ... real frost!!

Slippery slope for a spider!!
There was a SHARP frost last night - the first time we had a real sparkle first thing in the morning.  It makes everything magical and seems to enhance shapes, too.  Especially angular ones... this teasel head look fabulous any time ... but in the frost... WOW!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

16th December - Snow!!!

The first snowflakes of the year fluttered down this morning.  Not enough to lie on the ground - it's too wet and not quite cold enough yet ... but maybe a taste of things to come?

What's that???
It must be really strange being a tiny animal when winter first arrives ... snow must come as a big shock!!
A single snowflake on your nose and you would not be able to see a thing!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

15th December ... more visitors!

The pine cones were popular again today ... this time the blue tits were in residence!

I took the time to take a closer look at the structure of the cones themselves - what little miracles they are!  Angular and perfect, and looking rather like those strange "fractals" that are so beloved of the boffins and mathematicians!

... even the pine needles are exqusite when you really take the touble to look!  Complete with tiny cones, which are the products of this year's "flowers".  They will not start to look like cones until next year and then mature the year after that!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

13th December - a wild night!

Wow, it was a really stormy night ... and there was plenty of old wood which came down from the canopy of the trees together with pine cones.  Very wet, too, and so soggy underfoot this morning, just the thing for a brisk walk to clear the cobwebs...

I heard a high pitched bird call and looked up to see a beautiful gold finch looking for seeds in the pine cones!  Did you know that the design we know as "paisley" is actually based on a pine cone pattern?  The original concept came from India where the pines of the sub continent were large and spectacular ... the pattern travelled to Scotland, in particular to "Paisley" and was incorporated into fabric made up into shawls ... hence its popular name!
Nature's Christmas decorations!
The several stages of the cone's development are often visible together on a single branch ... which is why the swirls of the "paisley" designs graduate from small to large and back again ... fascinating!   This little fellow looks as though he is planning the Christmas festivities by decking his very own halls with pine cones!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dember 12th - Finally back to the Woods!

Well, I must say I AM feeling rather guilty, what with the 'flu/cold/whatever plus my weekend classes to teach and some private tuition is it three weeks since I have managed to get down to the woods - serious withdrawal symptoms setting in!

Kestrel hovering over the edge of the wood

It was a beautifully clear, though cold, morning with a fresh light blue sky and what should I see almost immediately but a glorious kestrel hovering over the headland at the edge of the woods.  The wind has been brisk, but as he hovered, his head moved not an inch ... so intent on watching the small creatures below.

Water vole .... taking cover!

In a sheltered corner, there were still a few toadstools which had survived the recent colder weather - there has been nothing cold enough to create a frost inside the wood.  These will be very useful energy sources for non hibernating animals...

Late night - or early morning? - shopping!