Saturday, 4 September 2021

Mainly Flowers - Part 1

When youngest son and his wife came to stay we spent most of our time out of doors, "birding". Our son is a teacher and an artist who loves nothing better that being out walking in the countryside spotting birds and animals which feature on 99% of his linocut prints. 

The first day we set off along our local canal in the valley below where we live with high hopes of spotting a Kingfisher. 

Our first encounter was with this large family of Mute Swans - Cygnus olor - mother, father, and their seven cygnets. Mute Swans are commonly associated with romance because of their stark white beauty, graceful swimming, and the fact that they mate for life. 

But by late autumn/winter, and once the cygnets have turned white, their parents will drive them off to search for their own breeding territory somewhere other than on their canal.

 You can't go far in this country without a Robin - Erithacus rubecula putting in a friendly appearance.

There was plenty of this orange Balsam Impatiens capensis growing along the edge of the water, and although it is very pretty, rather like its bigger cousin, the Himalayan Balsam, it is a threat to our native plants. Their popping seedpots catapult their seeds far and wide. Both plants were brought into the country by Victorian plant hunters who didn't realise the consquences of their actions.
There was an abundance of Teasels - Dipsacus
fullonum growing along the edge of the canal, and I began to wish that I had picked some as they could look really stunning in a stoneware studio vase. However, their seeds are greatly loved by several birds, especial the goldfinchs, so best to leave them where they are.
Hemp-Agrimony - Eupatorium cannabinum, its dense flower heads have protruding stamens. Surprisingly this plant is not related to Hemp or Agrimony. It's flowers are pollinated by bees, but it is also greatly loved by moths and butterflies too.
Common Bulrush Typha latifolia
Great Bindwind Calystegia sepium was growing prolifically - if only my Blue Morning Glories Ipomoea indica, both members of the same family, would grow like these. This year my Morning Glories were quickly gobbled up by some small creatures in the garden before they even began to bud.  
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A Kingfisher was spotted flying rapidly over the water which pleased our son, but it was far too quick for an image to be captured on a camera. 
Mainly Birds Part 2 to follow............

31 comments:

  1. The Swans are beautiful and they wonderful to see as we usually only have black ones.
    The flowers are pretty and familiar to me.

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    1. Your black swans are beautiful too - swans are such an elegant waterfowel to see gliding over the water.

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  2. Impatiens capensis is known here as Spotted Jewelweed and is an important source of nectar in the fall for hummingbirds fuelling up for their journey south. In an upcoming blog I will have a stunning picture of a hummingbird feeding on a flower, taken by my friend Adrienne Zoe. I am happy that your son was able to see the kingfisher, a truly beautiful bird.

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    1. Spotted Jewelweed is a lovely name for this plant and I am pleased that it serves a really useful purpose too for your hummingbirds - how I would love to see hummingbirds here too.

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  3. The family of Mute Swans mother, father, and their seven cygnets looked like a loving, well supervised group. You noted they were graceful and beautiful, but I was sooo impressed that they mate for life! No wonder the children look respectful.

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    1. They made a lovely family group as they glided over towards us.
      Apparently once a mate is lost the surviving swan goes through a grieving process that humans could recognize.

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  4. What interesting plants/flowers. My impatients are very domesticated, but also pop their seeds out, as well as the flowers themselves

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    1. I imagine that your impatients are what we call Busy Lizzies which we plant in our gardens. I was surprised when I first saw them growing wild in a forest in Brazil.

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  5. Dearest Rosemary,
    Your walk proved to be a fabulous one for capturing water fowl, birds and flowers.
    The bulrush did bring back such fond childhood memories for me! Dad had one parcel of land near an old flax fen and they grew abundantly neat that fen.
    Great photos and thanks for sharing.
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - I am really pleased that this post brought back some fond childhood memories for you, and especially so as it concerned your father.

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  6. Hello Rosemary, Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) is very common in Ohio, especially around the edges and paths in woods, where some sunlight can get in. It usually grows quite thickly, and it is fun to run your hand through the plants to make the seed pods explode. Jewelweed is a famous cure for poison ivy. Some claim that rubbing the juicy plant over the exposed area simply washes away the poison, but Euell Gibbons claimed that it actually has medicinal properties.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - I read that Native Americans used to rub the juice into their skin as a remedy for skin rashes, and that the juice can also be used for athlete's foot; its fungicidal qualities have apparently been scientifically verified.
      The exploding seed pods are the most likely reason why the State of Washington considers it a class C noxious weed because of its rapid spread

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  7. I enjoy every picture from your lovely countryside!! LOVELY!
    Titti

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    1. Thank you dear Titti for your lovely commentX

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  8. Oh that sweet robin - such a delightful little bird there and much prettier than our large American robins - yesterday after Bob mowed we had at least 20 on the grass looking for supper!
    Great photos Rosemary - hope for a kingfisher next time - last I saw one was in Botswana, a tiny, brilliantly colored Malachite sitting still on a branch!
    My morning glories never bloomed much this year but had plenty of leaves - strange as they always do well.
    Mary -


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    1. Dear Mary - as you know every garden here has its own resident Robin. Ours thinks that he rules the roost, and saying that what I mean is that the bench that sits in a sheltered spot and catches the sun is his, as is the birdbath, woe be tied any other bird that sits on his bench or takes a bath.

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  9. I always enjoy your beautiful photos! English robins looks so very, very different from our robins here in Canada.

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    1. Robins are fun little birds to have around. When they live in your garden they become your number one friend.

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  10. Son muy buenas las fotografƭas que detecto en tu entrada. Adoro las plantas, pero tambiƩn admiro la gran belleza de esos cisnes. Si entre todas ellas, tuviera que elegir solo una, entonces me quedarƭa, con la imagen del petirrojo. La has sacado en primer plano y se aprecia muy bien su gran belleza.

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    1. Gracias por tu comentario. Estoy realmente encantado de que hayas disfrutado de la publicaciĆ³n, especialmente de nuestro simpĆ”tico Robin.

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  11. Great photographs. Almost fractal in the feather details on the robin. Either a very good camera lens or unusually close to the subject. Wrens and Goldcrests I find really hard to capture close up as they hardly ever stay still. A growing list of fidgety birds in fact with the kingfisher being near the top as well.

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    1. Birds for me are extremely difficult to photograph. I only have a small point & shoot camera, so no special lenses here. I find that Robins are the easiest and most friendly birds to capture.

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  12. What a wonderful array of wild flowers. Love the swans as well.

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    1. There are always some interesting wildflowers to be found down at the waters edge of our canal.

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  13. Your photos are always a dream, Rosemary - thank you so much for them! I always fall in love with robins - the are so eager to make (sort of) contact. The Balsam (in Hildesheim it hems the Innerste, a river, we have it in dark and light pink), is a real threatening "invader" - but beautiful.

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    1. Thank you for your really generous comment Britta - yes, we have it in pink too, but it is much bigger and a huge problem - we call the pink Himalayan Balsam.

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