Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Week 10: Glory of the Grass Verge

This week, my brain is about as useful as a soggy tissue pulled from the pocket of wet jeans, fresh out of the washing machine. Hopefully the pretty pictures will compensate for barely being able to string a sentence together (and don’t ask me how long it took to come up with that opener! The answer "too long" is a serious understatement). OK, so, firing on half a cylinder at best, I stuck to Dellfield and its surrounding fields, yesterday. Over the last couple of weeks, a variety of small, early spring flowers have steadily emerged. Primroses, Wood Dog Violets, Cowslips and Meadow Buttercups have joined the Daffodils and Grape Hyacinths dotted around the Box Moor lands. And, yesterday, I finally remembered to go and look at another little flower I’d noticed growing along the grass verge leading to the Dellfield carpark. In the morning’s brilliant sunshine, they looked like miniature starbursts and would very definitely live up to their name, “Glory of the Snow”, should the white stuff descend. (To enlarge the smaller images, just click on them).

Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa)







Leaf buds are bursting open now on many trees, although the Oak will be a while yet. At the south end of Bovingdon Reach, there is a rather mighty Horse Chestnut, its skeleton just beginning to carry splashes of colour. Unfortunately, I couldn’t capture its sense of fresh decoration on camera so you have the tree in black and white (right) and the beautiful, new leaves in colour (below)

High over head, 2 Buzzards were circling and calling and a Red Kite hovered. A Mistle Thrush was sunning itself on the ground, turning its head towards the warmth and seemingly closing its eyes in pleasure. Without slipping further into anthropomorphism, I reckoned this rattler had the right idea and I could have happily sat alongside and soaked up some rays as well.

Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)


Through the woods, towards Preston Hill, I was looking up into a still leafless canopy.




Approaching Preston Hill pond frequently results in me accidentally disturbing a bathing Blue Tit. It always chooses the same spot and we always surprise one another! Today, I decided to check the pond more carefully from a distance before approaching. No Blue Tit but, in its place, something a little more exciting, a male Grey Wagtail. In fact, it was a pair of Grey Wagtails, likely on their way to find a place to breed. They only stayed a minute or two but it made my morning. This was the first time I’d seen this species on Box Moor land. The photograph (right) shows the male, with his developing black throat unfortunately hidden from view.

Finally, this week’s Oak photograph is again not for the purists. With the tree in its leafless state, I find I’m drawn more to its shape and the structures of its setting. To the original image (which I’ve included for reference), I applied a dark blue, inverted gradient filter in PSE. I’m currently not able to go wandering around at night (well, not on purpose anyway) so this is me improvising.



The Oak by Moonlight (sort of)

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

These pictures are amazing! Well spotted and what a lovely celebration of spring. from ARF

Boxmoor, naturally... said...

Why thank you, ARF. You are officially my first commenter - all very exciting and much appreciated ;-)