For illustrated talks on natural history and history see

For illustrated talks on natural history and history click here for

Monday 30 April 2012

Feeding tadpoles with salmon

The tadpoles in the builder's bucket may have been a bit hungry.
They have a taste for raw wild Alaskan salmon.

They also like raw liver and haddock.

Goldfish food is alright but is 1,000 times more expensive than sharing your own dinner with
one's amphibian wards.

Sunday 29 April 2012

Toothwort; an extraordinary parasitic plant.

Toothwort flowers emerge from under hazel trees in the Long Plantation near Kingswood, Surrey at this time of year.  It is the only time that you see it as it is entirely parasitic on the roots of the host tree and spends the rest of the year underground.  It has no chlorophyll or leaves.

Monday 23 April 2012

Roe deer on the High Weald Landscape trail west of Cuckfield

Spot the solitary roe deer centre picture above in the edge of the field.  It was lying down watching me watching it.

It stood up and bounded off.

Thursday 19 April 2012

Town-hall clock flower

This is not the best photo that I have taken - but the flower is exquisite and I just thought to share it, photographed against the plastic of a laptop PC.

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Spring flowers in a Sussex wood yesterday

The Sussex woods are full of colour now with Red Campion, above and with bluebells.
Badger tracks run through the bluebells.
This Town-hall Clock flower is particularly delicate set off by the Yellow Archangel behind it.

Sunday 15 April 2012

Friday 13 April 2012

Early-purple orchids and Twayblades today in a Sussex wood.

Twayblade flower buds are just emerging.
The Early-purple orchids are already flowering in sheltered places.

Thursday 12 April 2012

Talk on seven one thousand year old churches in the Adur valley

You are cordially invited to my next presentation in Burgess Hill on a 
Pictorial Presentation of Seven

 1,000 Years Old Churches

in the Adur Valley

The turbulent history of the Adur valley over two millennia including seven one thousand years old churches from Steyning to New Shoreham will be presented in a pictorial presentation by Peter Lovett at a Fellowship Group meeting                 
on Tuesday 1st May at 7.30pm
 in St. John’s Church (Parish Hall), Burgess Hill.

All are welcome at a cost of £3 per person.

Detail of cat at St. Nicolas’ church, Old Shoreham.

For further information telephone 01444 415367

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Tadpole bucket at night

Quite a frenzy of activity tonight.
Complete with guest insect larva.  It looks like a Mayfly nymph.  It feeds on microscopic algae and this green bucket is heaving algae.   It must feel like a goat tethered amongst lions though, as the tadpoles are hungry and carnivorous now.

Early-purple orchid

An Early-purple orchid orchid, emerging yesterday in Sussex.

Sunday 8 April 2012

Saturday 7 April 2012

St. Barnabas' church, Ranmore, Surrey

This church was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott and follows the simple "Early English" style from c.1400 with features of early French Gothic.  Amongst his projects were the Albert Memorial and St. Pancras Station in London.  The church was consecrated in in 1859.

Simply beautiful.

The exterior walls contain what look like large pebbles from a seashore -- much like many buildings in say, New Shoreham, Sussex. 

The church is right on the North Downs Way.  And the hills here were once a beach!

Where a tree falls and the sub-soil is exposed, you can see pebbles.  They are perfectly rounded -- just like those on any seashore, which this once was and is now at almost 200m above sea level.
How amazing is the geology of the UK!
Our walk started from Denbies Vineyard, where real ale lovers may wish to note that here the Surrey Downs Brewery sells beer straight from the barrel.  I'm enjoying a pint bought there today from a plastic "milk container" as I type this!
There are endless paths to create walks of any duration in this area.  And unlike Sussex -- there is no mud!

Friday 6 April 2012

Protecting tadpoles from frost

There was an air frost last night and I decided that the more portable of my tadpole intensive care units would best be brought in from the cold.
In a lean-to it stayed warm all night and the tadploes were actively feeding at 6am. this morning.
They are cold-blooded so their activity levels (and growth rate) depend on the water temperature.
The water temperature in the bucket was 12C.
The water temperature in the square container (an old freezer tray) which was left outside all night was near freezing at 2C. only.  No wonder that the tadpoles are nowhere to be seen.  They will be huddling in the "warmer" water at the bottom.  If I remember correctly there is an inversive at 4C when water at that temperature sinks to the bottom of a freezing pond.
By comparison, in the pond where these tadpoles came from, their development is much less advanced than those in my hotter containers.

Wednesday 4 April 2012

Bluebells in New England Wood

Photographed on Monday.

Town-hall Clock plant, Moschatel.

More Moschatel, Adoxa moschatellina or Town-hall Clock plant pictures from Monday.

Wood-sorrel in New England Wood

Wood-sorrel, Oxalis acetosella is refreshing to chew if you like to sharpen your taste buds and teeth from the oxalic acid in the leaves.

These pictures are from New England Wood, Cuckfield on Monday of this week.

Monday 2 April 2012

Grass snakes today

Finally, some half-reasonable pictures of grass snakes in New England Wood, Cuckfield.

Focussing is difficult when they are in motion in the middle of a dense bramble patch, heading my way about a meter off.  I was swaying on top of a fallen tree and the snakes, three of them, ignored me.

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