Thursday, April 08, 2010

After the haircut...

... as I mentioned, we went to the watermill.  To gaze and gaze on the daffodils.


'Ten thousand saw I at a glance', yes really.  But the camera simply can't capture their starriness en masse, the way the light shines out of them in the still leafless wood.

And the birds were to sound what the flowers were to light.  I am always frustrated when it comes to telling blackcaps from whitethroats by their song, then this chap obligingly showed himself to be a blackcap:


The zoom on this camera is more powerful than the last, but not really powerful enough to take really virtuoso wildlife shots, and the camera itself is less speedy also, I think.  So most bird photos are really for identification only.  The bird below, whose call was unfamiliar, but who became visible when I stood still for a time, as it fed on the seeds from the larch cones, was not identifiable at all beyond that it was some kind of tit.  The photo showed it to be either a willow or a marsh tit, but no chance of telling the difference by its looks, and my knowledge of their voices, which are apparently very different, was not adequate. 

 

However, my lovely new Collins Bird Guide, whose information on distribution is far more up-to-date than the Field Guide I've had for years, confirmed that here we are outside the usual range of the willow, so marsh it must be.

On the ground, a fluttering shape crossed my path, which had a differnent quality to it from a dead leaf.  Looking twice, it was this mouse.



One shouldn't really see mice out in the wild like this, they should be more careful, and hide, and not keep still long enough to be photographed.  But this one seemed dozy, not quite right in itself.  Perhaps it was ill, or I thought perhaps coming out of hibernation.  It was very small and silvery coloured, and, looking at the photo, there seems to be a slight dark stripe down its back.  There is a species of woodland mouse called the birch mouse, which fits this description, occurs in this part of Europe, and which enters into a very long and deep hibernation, emerging relatively late in spring, so perhaps this is what this one was.

(Post script: further searching tells me that birch mice don't get this far west, and are much more blodly striped anyway, so this must be simply a wood or harvest mouse...)

The wood anemones and celandine were not to be overlooked, as I would have done this wood sorrel, below, taking it for another anemone if I hadn't noticed the bright lime-green trefoil leaf.  Its flowers are delicately veined with purple, when you look closely.  Which you always should.



Withal, a lovely walk, and Mol concurred that it was well worth getting your haircut for.  She tells me the smells weren't bad either.


11 comments:

HLiza said...

Ah the lovely things you see in your walks! Oh the lovely pictures that come out of them..Thanks Lucy for sharing all these little joys..I'll scare the mouse away with my shriek for sure..but it's lovely to be able to capture it in all it's calmness..Coming to your blog at this crazy point of my life really is like a chicken soup to my soul..

Barrett Bonden said...

I wouldn't worry about a more powerful zoom; you're doing very well without it. And if you took an upward step, chances are you'd be encumbered with a great big snout which in the end would inhibit its ready transportation. I've just checked again and I was able to count the mouse's individual whiskers, without a hint of any depth-of-field problems. I could if I wished check whether it had dirt under its finger-nails. You've got the right camera.

Granny J said...

Neat little mouse -- and I am simply bowled over by the idea of daffodils growing wild!!! But then we do have mariposa lilies...

PurestGreen said...

Most adorable mouse photo. In the universe.

marja-leena said...

I'm so ignorant on bird names, names of specific mice, even some of those wildflowers, so much thanks for the information to supplement your always gorgeous photos.

Plutarch said...

My books confirm a marsh or willow tit. Wood sorrel and wood anenome together! You can eat wood sorrel leaves, though they having nothing to do with field sorrel,of course, but the most gentle and inspiring of spring flowers, both. You must have had warm weather at last to bring them out.

Rouchswalwe said...

I didn't learn this much in biology class! A treat for the eyes and the heart (woozy little mouse).

Dick said...

How beautiful is that wood sorrel. And what a cooperative mouse. I'm looking forward to sharing more spring sightings.

Lucy said...

Thanks all.

Hliza - thanks for coming at this busy time. I'm actually quite jumpy about mice in the house, but somehow they're different out in the wild.

BB - well, that is why I stay with a one-lense-does-all bridge. By the time I'd fiddled about with changeable lenses the subjests would have scarpered. I suppose real wildlife photographers decide on what they're looking for and pre-select the lense for the job, but that's not how or why I take photos. The latest bridges go up to at least 24x zooms, but I'm sure you must lose somewhere else, as I feel I've lost a degree of simplicity and speed over the older camera here.

GJ - wild daffies are still to be found here, but are quite unusual, especially in these numbers.


PG - it is sweet, I do hope it was OK...

ML - thanks, I like to try to find out. The internet is a boon if I don't know, though I still tend to use books first if I can. I've got a CD of bird calls too, though remembering what I heard is harder, as I'm more visual than musical.

Plutarch - I did eat a wood sorrel leaf! It was very fresh and would be good as a salad herb. Too much oxalic acid isn't good though.

RW and Dick - woozy and co-operative. It occurred to me there is a pheasant rearing place at the top of the hill there, and it's not impossible the mouse had been poisoned, which rather sours the cuteness factor. Let's hope it was just sleepy.

Clive said...

I know what you mean when you write of the difficulties of capturing a 'sea' of daffodils. I've been having the same problem here, where decades of bulb planting by previous owners in a semi-wild garden have left the lovely legacy of too many daffodils to be able to convey in a single photograph. I too find a small patch to focus on and leave it at that. But I greatly like your patchwork quilt of woodland flowers Lucy, which cleverly suggests profligate growth and diversity without reducing the idea to a single shot peppered with tiny dots of nothing recognisable.

Yesterday with the help of our neighbours we began to raise a bridge to cross the gorge and link our properties so that we can visit each other at will without going the long way around by the cycle path bordering the two properties. They had visitors from Germany who helped, and thus in a day we were able to achieve what would have defeated Peter and I had we worked alone for a week! Two enormously heavy telegraph poles now span the tumbling stream to make the foundation of the new bridge, and another day should see four upside-down A-frames bolted on to lock the poles into position, the hand rails attached to the uprights and decking laid for a safe crossing. So the day was spent in the wooded gorge, now bright with celandine, daffodil and wood anemone. Later the tree canopy will make the place much shadier, but yesterday the light dappled us and made the stream shine. Suddenly, after that long, long Winter, it's really Spring!

A Write Life said...

How absolutely beautiful. Nice photography.