Friday, September 30, 2011

Early one morning

Tuesday was a hard day. I walked up to the RSPB HQ at The Lodge. It's a tough commute but someone has to do it.

Although the weather turned out hot and sunny later, the early morning in this part of the world was foggy and damp. The heath was shrouded in a misty, dewy coat.

The myriad spiders' webs on the heather were all dewy and lovely.
Common storksbill (Erodium cicutarium) is still flowering in the sandy ground on the path. 
You can see the long seed pods behind. They resemble the long bills of birds; storks in this case, or maybe not? Storksbill is in the Geranium family. According to Wikipedia Erodium is from the Greek erodios meaning 'heron'. Geranium is derived from the Greek word geranos meaning 'crane', and Pelargonium (also in the Geranium family) is from the Greek pelargos, meaning 'stork'. So storksbill is in fact, more correctly, called heronsbill.

Yellow toadflax (Linaria vulgaris) was also adding a splash of colour.
A few shaggy mushrooms were growing in the heather and on the path.
And this weird and wonderful furry, fuzzy yellow polypore is, I am pretty sure, a dyer's mazegill (Phaeolus schweintzii). It was growing at the base of a larch (Larix decidua). It was apparently (and one could guess from the name) used for dyeing wool.
I made my way past the log pile....
...the cherry leaves added some autumnal colour.
The Lodge house was just coming to life, with people arriving for work. 
The gorgeous blue atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica glauca) which you can see to the left of the photo above and here below....
...was putting on quite a sexy autumn show with its branches festooned with male catkins.... 
...standing upright and proud.
In the afternoon I walked home via the new heath over towards the Iron Age hillfort. The views off the ridge here are fine. 
I found some floral dainties by the path. The beautiful heath speedwell (Veronica officinalis).
And here, a real treat, trailing St John's wort (Hypericum  humifusum). Scrumptious!
I can't post a blog without the mushroom of the moment making an appearance. Fly agaric is everywhere. A youngster forcing its way through the sandy soil.
A mature specimen looking dazzlingly spicy (and reflective - apologies for that!). But that colour!
And (a photo I took in the morning) after the dazzle and razzle.......
I passed some sweet chestnut trees (Castanea sativa). 
Thank you so much to the Romans for introducing this tree to Britain. With very little effort I procured a modest harvest.
Very tasty!


  1. Lovely post. Still not seen any young Fly Agaric this Autumn. Trailing St John's Wort is a delight. It used to grow on old colliery railway sidings up here but these are declining and so is the plant.

  2. must come down south! We are swamped with fly agaric here and I am not complaining one bit. Trouble is every one is photogenic!
    Agree about TSJW - a little stunner and always a special plant to see.
    I enjoyed your blue fleabane pic - good to find yet another fan :-) I think that makes 3 of us....