Thursday, 4 January 2018
There has been some mumbling in the ranks that this blog has, so far this year, neglected birds. So today's post will start off with ornithological news - after all, I aim to please.
A couple of hours spent at Howell Hill SWT reserve rustled up a flushed Woodcock (from roughly where the Knapweed Broomrapes will pop up later in the year) plus a feeding frenzy in the large open fields that comprised 1,000 Woodpigeons, 150 Stock Doves and 100 Jackdaws. Now, back to the plants...
My main aim at Howell Hill was to record some of the cotoneasters that are present. The reserve has quite a list of them and I am but a rank amateur when it comes to identifying them, but with the help of a number of reference books I'm fairly confident that I found Wall (horizontalis), Tree (frigidus) and Himalayan (simonisii), along with Firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea). But it was the neighbouring fields that got me excited (image above). These appear to have been abandoned and even for early January held plenty of botanical life, including Common Field and Grey Field Speedwell, Turnip, Black Mustard, Hemlock, Field Pansy and Radish (all in flower). There were plenty of crucifers in vegetative form that I left well alone. It will be intriguing to see what appears here as the months progress.