"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

A Walk Around Local Lanes

D and I went for a walk around some of our favourite local lanes on Sunday afternoon. Its a lovely circular walk of about a mile and a half which is ideal if time is limited.

The walk passes through arable farmland, a hamlet and woodland.

The hedgerows were full of hazel catkins and the tiny pinky red female flowers are now appearing.

More wild flower species are appearing in the hedgerows and woodland -

Dog's Mercury

Dandelions - a vital food source for early pollinators.

White Dead Nettle

Lesser Celandine

Wild Strawberry Edit - Many thanks to John ( please see comment below ) this is actually Barren Strawberry not wild

I also saw several of the tiny blue flowers of a Speedwell species.

Lots of lichens - I really must have another go this year at identifying these.

Lungwort, Snowdrops, Daffodils, Berberis and Periwinkle were flowering in hedgerows near the cottages - either garden escapees or perhaps deliberately planted.

We saw several large flocks of Fieldfares and the highlights were a Yellowhammer and a tumbling Lapwing - both new for the year list. Other bird species seen included: Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Blackbird, Robin, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Wood Pigeon, Magpies, Carrion Crows and Pheasants.

A few photos taken by D with the Canon SX60

Fairy Castle :)

I stopped off very briefly at the 14th century St Cuthbert's, Shustoke on the way home. I really must go back to this church soon as when I looked it up in the very interesting booklet on Warwickshire Churches that I bought recently I discovered the church is located next to an Anglo Saxon mound which sounds interesting.


Countryside Tales said...

What a lovely post. The pictures are super. All those flowers blooming! White dead nettle always reminds me of summer. Interesting re the Saxon mound- defensive or religious I wonder. I've just bought a copy of Asser's life of king Alfred which I am looking forward to reading. Well done spotting the sparrow hawk they remain one of my most elusive birds here. X

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

It's been a bright day, but a very cold one, nasty eastern wind. I've been being very very lazy.

David said...

A most pleasant walk around your local countryside, it is always interesting to see different parts of the country.

Dog's Mercury seems to be everywhere now, and every year it always seems to appear out of nowhere, whilst it was lovely to see all the other flowers, many of which I have yet to see this year. I am still looking for the female flowers on the local hazels but no luck so far.

Well done on the new ticks for your 2016 bird list :-)

Kindest regards :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Thanks so much. I've been trying to find out a bit more about the Saxon mound with little success :( One source suggests it is Saxon whereas another says it may not be! There also seems confusion as to whether it is connected to the church or not! I've found this before with churches and contradiction between various books/guides/websites.

The Alfred book sounds interesting - only identified the Sparrowhawk from a photo D took! Haven't seen in the garden yet this year.

Simon Douglas Thompson - Thanks Simon. Its been cold out here the last 2 days with the wind :(

David - Thanks very much. Typical North Warwickshire countryside - North, mid and South Warks are all slightly different to my mind.

There's a piece of woodland (ancient?) at the start of the walk and the banks there were just covered with Dog's Mercury. Its the first female hazel flowers I have seen this year so hopefully you will find some soon.

Best wishes :)

John Wooldridge said...

A lovely post m'dear, thank you for sharing your walk. Be sure to post more about the saxon mound if you find out more about it.

Wendy said...

I've really enjoyed this wander around your country lanes. It's interesting seeing the wildflowers that grow near you and of course reading about the birds there. I've yet to see a yellowhammer this year, sadly there aren't that many around here now. Your photos are lovely with a real sense of early spring. I'm fascinated by the Saxon mound as well!

Ragged Robin said...

John Wooldridge - Thanks so much. There is a museum in the Guildhall in the nearby market town of Coleshill which is sometimes open on Saturdays I will visit there and see if I can get more information.

Wendy - Thanks very much. Its one of the things I like so much about Blogger learning about the wildlife found in different parts of the country :) The area round Shustoke seems good for Yellowhammers - interestingly I rarely see them elsewhere. Will try and find out more about the Saxon mound - please see my comment above to John. Will also check out some more books here at home.

Margaret Adamson said...

What a gorgeous day for a walk and you certainly saw and photographed lots. Thanks for sharing.

Toffeeapple said...

Thank you for taking the time to make this post, it was very enjoyable. I haven't found any catkins here yet, I hope I do so soon.

Ragged Robin said...

Margaret Adamson - Thanks very much. It was a lovely Spring day :)

Toffeeapple - Thanks so much - I am so glad you enjoyed. Good luck with the search for catkins - I hope you find some soon.

Deb said...

Thanks for sharing your lovely walk Caroline. I do love the fairy castle. ;-)

Ragged Robin said...

Deb - Thanks so much. The fairy castle is rather lovely - have to admit though it was my son who spotted it :)

amanda peters said...

What a lovely walk, plenty to see and great photos.
Between work and gardening I have been out a lot this week,as the weather has been nice all week. No house work has been done and computer catch up is needed as well as logging my photos pew!!!
Moth trap should go out at the weekend.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - thanks so much Amanda. I seem to have been out quite a bit recently too catching up after all that wet weather!!

Why bother with housework (which is never ending and only needs re-doing in a few days) when you can be out and about?! Look forward to reading about your outings.

Moth-wise - still on the 3 species here but will try again too at the weekend - good luck :)

Rosie said...

What a delightful walk! It is good to see so many signs of spring. Your photos of both plants and birds are wonderful. The church looks and sounds fascinating:)

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thanks so much. Sometimes its easy to miss things right on your doorstep - have never really visited that particular church before. I want to find out more about the stone cross in the last photo too :)

John Scurr said...

I have friends who live at Nether Whitacre who I occasionally visit. I always get lost on the lanes round there and all the place names you are mentioning are familiar from the road signs I am looking at when I am lost!

The picture you describe as Wild Strawberry is, I believe, Barren Strawberry - Potentilla sterilis. My flower book gives this as flowering from Feb to May whereas Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca) flowers April - July.
It was explained to me that the green sepals are visible all along their length between the white petals. On the Wild Strawberry the petals touch so you can only see the tips of the green sepals. The other difference is, of course, no strawberries later :-(

Lovely to be seeing the early spring flowers now.


Ragged Robin said...

John Scurr - Thanks so much for the comment. Its lovely round there but can be confusing. My daughter and I once got totally lost on public footpaths when doing a BTO Atlas Survey and on our way back a van driver stopped to ask the way to The Griffin pub as he'd been driving round in circles!

Thanks so much for pointing out the wild strawberry mistake and the id tips - yes you are right. I did wonder if it was barren at the time but instead of looking a my wild flower books I relied on internet id tips which were rabbiting on about length of terminal leaf. I will edit the post - thanks again.

Millymollymandy said...

It looks really lovely there and a nice place for a walk. I always love seeing the flowers which are garden escapees, particularly at this time of year as many are flowering before the native flowers. My mum has that Berberis and it's really pretty but very spiky if I recall right! :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Millymollymandy - Thanks Mandy - its a walk I've done on and off over the last 40 years! We have that Berberis in our garden (also in flower at the moment) and yes from memory it is spiky!

Chris Rohrer said...

I always love seeing your birds. Very nice. I wonder if they had a dog issue and it's the reason they put up the camera?

It's funny you used the word "arable". It was one of our words in Spanish this week that my students were learning. But they didn't know what it meant in English!!! So we had to have a discussion.

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Thanks very much Chris. Dogs could be the reason why they put up the camera - most churchyards ban them!

Interesting about your students and the meaning of arable. Do you call it something else in America?