For illustrated talks on natural history and history see

For illustrated talks on natural history and history click here for

Thursday 29 May 2014

Fox gets another pigeon

Rather a lot of feathers by the pond today.
It looks like the vixen has caught another pigeon.
She didn't leave much.
My green vegetables will fare better now.

Sunday 25 May 2014

Six native orchids on a glorious walk on the Sussex Downs today.

 Thanks to the generosity of her son-in-law in capturing a winning bid in a charity auction, Catherine and grandson Freddie enjoyed a fine walk on the Downs today.  Starting out through woodland heavy with pungent wild garlic smells we reached the open Downs.
 A Common-spotted Orchid above, which on close inspection revealed a froghopper

 Three orchid species are above; Butterfly & Early-purple Orchids, and Twayblades.  All are present in the one picture.

 A Twayblade.
 Very difficult to find and delightful when one does is the tiny Fly Orchid.

 Great views from the top.

 Time for a little trigonometry.
 An exquisitely scented Fragrant Orchid

 Views towards the North Downs.

Sunday 18 May 2014

Fly Orchids

 I saw my first Fly Orchid of this year, last Friday.

This is a tiny orchid, which is difficult to spot.  Fran├žois Piolino, taking a break from performing at Glyndebourne was as pleased as I was.

Saturday 17 May 2014

Bird's-nest Orchid today in Surrey

Without chlorophyll, and no green leaves, this orchid feeds saprophytically on the decaying leaf litter under beech trees.

Friday 16 May 2014

Pevensey Levels

Cooden Probus club kindly invited me to speak yesterday, which was a great pleasure for me and I hope the members.  Afterwards there was time for a brief walk on the Pevensey Levels before the final dress rehearsal of Eugene Onegin at Glyndebourne, which was just wonderful.
The Levels are a very special place.  A solitary Lapwing gave a haunting Peewit call as we crossed the fields.
A heron glided past on the prevailing SW wind.
Mallards flew off, scared by our presence.
A tiny insect caught my eye in the grass.

Thursday 15 May 2014

Family photo' of FOUR fox cubs with their mother.

First there were three cubs.
Then as I got a little nearer and asked them politely to line up behind their mother...
there were FOUR cubs.

Can you imagine how difficult it is to get four lively cubs to line up like this?
The vixen must be busy to feed this lot.

Tuesday 13 May 2014

More Fox and cubs pictures today

All three cubs were out playing this mid-morning enjoying the sunshine.

 Ouch!  Stop biting my leg!

 One cub jumps over Mum.

Sunday 11 May 2014

Silver-ground Carpet Moth today on chalk grassland in Surrey.

Xanthorhoe montanata the Silver-ground Carpet Moth is a small moth that flew when disturbed this afternoon.  Its caterpillars eat a variety of herbs, including Cleavers, Hedge Bedstraw and Primrose, all of which were within yards of this sighting.

For further information, please see; Butterfly conservation website,   from where the below photo has been shown for comparison. 

Early Marsh-orchids - sub-species pulchella

Early Marsh-orchids - sub-species pulchella are just starting to open on the margins of this pond in Kingswood, Surrey.

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