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Friday 30 May 2008

Sex and violence in a garden pond.

This is a short, and grizzly entry.
Click on any picture to expand
These shots taken with a Panasonic camera with a x4 close up lens.
Damsel flies were very active this week around my garden pond. This pair were happily laying eggs into the water, when...
... a Dragon fly lava from the deep suddenly struck and dragged the damselfly beneath the water to a grizzly end. Compare the size of the larger Dragonfly lava's legs to the smaller damsel fly.

Thursday 29 May 2008

Common Spotted Orchids in Paiges Meadow

The Common Spotted-Orchids are magnificent today in the damper parts of the meadows surrounding Blunts Wood.
They are well worth a visit!
Click on any picture to expand.

Tuesday 27 May 2008

Linear walk Handcross to Cuckfield, 8.5 miles Tuesday 27 May 2008.

There were nine of us on this Mid Sussex Ramblers' walk,in perfect weather, (overcast, c.20C and 3mph winds) after a rainy and windy bank holiday Monday. We zig-zagged our way from Handcross, towards Balcombe, back towards Staplefield and then back across to north east of Cuckfield through land formerly farmed by William's father. Then finally back to Cuckfield.
Thank you to all who came, making it a delightful day.
Click on any picture to expand. Pictures were taken with a Panasonic DMC FZ8,
Although not yet fully open, the opinion was that this was the Common Spotted Orchid, Dactylorhiza fuchsii. They hybridise easily with other orchids so are not necessarily easy to identify.
The various ferns are very beautiful in this little wooded valley.
Nyman's wood Millenium walk
Prof'. William spotted this "Chicken of the woods" fungus Laetiporus sulphureus, which is easy to identify from the bright yellow colour and the particularly sulphur-yellow margin (source New Holland Field Guide to Mushrooms....) ....especially easy if you are fortunate enough to have William on the walk!

Deer watching us watching them!

Luxury luncheon stop with choices of seating.
Lovely sight of Greylag geese at Sidnye farm.

Friday 23 May 2008

High Weald Landscape Trail; more path clearing!

Above is what the path looked like, west of New England Wood, Cuckfield last July before I set to work on it. Above is what the path looked like today before two hours of toil.This is what the High Weald Landscape Trail looked like after 2 hours hacking with a sickle to cut back bracken, nettles and brambles. It is relatively easy to hack back bracken at a young or "bishops crook" stage. Last year it must have taken me 5 times as long to achieve a similar effect.
A naive thought perhaps, but perhaps the path will be bracken free for the rest of this year. We shall see.

Thursday 22 May 2008

Seven Sisters Modular walk. Sunday 18th May 2008

This walk was described as "fairly strenuous", which it is. It is well worth the effort though as the pictures suggest. It was part of the Mid Sussex Ramblers' program, starting at Beachy Head to Exceat, Friston Forest and East Dean, some 11 miles. Click on any picture to expand.The wind was a steady 20+mph, gusting to 34mph, so not a good idea to get too close to the cliff edge. Sadly people do get blown over occasionally, apart from the suicides at Beachy Head.
The temperature was perfect for walking, despite the wind.

This is a view to Birling Gap, where the row of terraced houses gets shorter as another house drops into the sea. It is too costly to attempt to prevent the erosion of these chalk cliffs.

Several cliff falls seemed to have occurred recently.

.Above, me walking into East Dean for a pint at the Tiger pub.
Lovely views from the bus going back to Eastbourne , below.

Wednesday 21 May 2008

Gardening tips during the Chelsea Flower Show

The Chelsea flower show is in full swing. As yet, I have not spotted anyone using kale in their gardens for edible and ornamental purposes. So Sussexrambler shares these trend-setting tips with would be gold medal winners!

Cabbages have been used in flowerbeds before now but they were the blousey multi-coloured leaves ones. The above kale, variety Spis bladene, came from Garden Organic's heritage seeds library . It looks fabulous in flower against more formal planting. And it is great to eat, with massive leaves and great flavour. Ask me if you would like some seeds this autumn. Green finches go mad for the seeds. For propagation, I grow some under netting.

Formal lawns are boring, so this corner, below, has been planted with young hazel bushes which were "weeds" from other parts of the garden. Will this become a trend , I wonder... converting lawns into copses.

Wednesday 14 May 2008

Gosport 13 May 2008

This is the view towards Gilkicker fort from Stokes bay. There was only one Isle-of Wight ferry. Autostitch has given us two!

Little Egrets need protection from disturbance , especially during the breeding season, according to the RSPB. This one seemed quite happy near the middle of Gosport town . Click on any picture to expand.

If you wish to get close to birds, then go somewhere where they ignore people, next to a busy path for example. These black-headed gulls were shot from a pavement next to Gosport creek.

Monday 5 May 2008

Early Purple Orchids on William's walk Sat. 3rd May 2008

William's 6 miles walk, from the Mid Sussex ramblers' program,
started at Buxted Church, then into the valley of the river Uck.

The bluebells were glorious, yet for me the Early Purple Orchids,
Orchis mascula
were the stars!

William showed us a stunning group of early purple orchids
growing in the damp woodland.

The route went through some ancient tracks
Left click the above picture (and any other) to expand.
William shows the group a King Alfred's Cake fungus.

These stunning bluebells are in a coppiced chestnut wood.
New-born calves are common at this time of year.
This cow seemed to be the proud mother of twins.

Thanks William for a beautiful walk. It was quite a contrast from the Lake District, (see below).

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