Peas, hawksbeard and mutant plantains

Many relatives of the pea are flowering now. At Ivybridge station there are two sorts of medick, spotted medick, black medick, and lesser trefoil. Black medick, with dense pompoms of flowers and a tiny point – mucro – on the tip of each leaf: Lesser trefoil, with looser flower heads: Vetches and clover are part of the…

Moorhaven to Green Lane

I haven’t done this walk for a while and the big change was clumps of three-nerved sandwort at the side of the Moorhaven drive. On the sunny southern verge just past Leigh Lane, lots of shining cranesbill and ransoms, greater chickweed, and creeping buttercups. Past the golf course, there are stunning displays of bluebells on…

April on Bittaford Road

Early purple orchids are flowering at the junction near Ash Rosettes. Beautiful, but far fewer than last year. Cow parsley, hogweed, and garlic mustard (Jack-by-the-hedge) are giving the verges some height now. An early specimen of red clover, rather chewed.

Saints’ days

Lots of bluebells at Andrew’s Wood nature reserve on St George’s day, some brimstone butterflies, and a bloody nosed beetle slowly walking across the path. Daldinia concentrica helps decompose ash trees. This fungus is called King Alfred’s cakes after the king who was left minding the cakes baking in a cottage where he was hiding…

Leigh Lane and Lud brook

New oak and hazel leaves, holly and blackthorn flowers, and the last few catkins overhead in Leigh Lane. Under foot, bluebells, three speedwells, two violets, and three umbellifers. Yellow dandelions, lesser celandines, and creeping buttercups in Leigh Lane, and gorse and tormentil on the moor. Also in Leigh Lane, pink purslane, herb robert, and campions and white wood…

Easter day on Dartmoor

We saw three lizards, including this beautiful green one on Hickley Plain near the Avon Filtration works. Toadspawn and tadpoles in the stream at Shipley Bridge, and a strange orange fungus. This is the Bog Beacon – Mitrula paludosa – which grows in bogs and shallow streams, rotting fallen leaves. Sanicle is related to cow parsley and hogweed,…

Zempson again

I found some more photos from White Oxen and Zempson on my camera, which is temporarily indisposed. There was a chiffchaff singing from the treetop – chiff chaff chiff chiff chaff – lots of crosswort, moschatel, yellow archangel and bluebells, and the first bush vetch I’ve seen this year. A frog visited on 8th April, cooling…

White Oxen and Zempson

Lots of crosswort in the damp meadows at White Oxen and hedgerows around Zempson. The first early purple orchids are flowering, and the first ragged robin, bugle, buttercups, and yellow pimpernel. Also in flower were lady’s smock, bog stitchwort, cornsalad, primroses, common dog violets, sticky mouse-ear, wavy bittercress, thale cress, daisies, germander speedwell, red dead-nettle and red campions….

Newts

We have newts in our pond! We didn’t want to disturb them by getting the camera too close, hence the blurry photos. This one swam around in a leisurely way for an hour or so near the bottom of the pond. We saw another briefly, which was smaller and had darker markings. It swam with this one…

Owl pellet

We found an owl pellet on the trampoline. Inside was a myriad of tiny bones and teeth. Insects were enjoying the sunshine in the garden: a bee fly, red admiral and a bumble bee were those that stayed still long enough for a photo. The drone fly looks a lot like a honey bee but…

April sunshine

The burst of sunshine over the weekend has brought out some new flowers along Bittaford Road, including the first delicate lady’s smock. There was a clump of greater chickweed. It was hard to do it justice with my phone camera but you can see the 10 stamens – each purple blob is a pair – that distinguish it…

Pond in April

Lucy and I were trying to film pond skaters with her waterproof camera but could not get a well focused shot. The longer we looked though, the more we saw. Lots of tiny diving beetles, a small water boatman and, best of all, lots of caddis fly larvae in jewel-like cases made from pieces of…