AUG 11 Paint Box
Well we have been having some much needed rain and one or two terrific thunderstorms. I am sorry but I do love a good thunderstorm, I think it’s the glory of the power of the clouds plus a tingle of fear at being exposed to the elements. I was at NOA doing a moth check during the Tuesday storm at the end of June. I must admit I felt pretty vulnerable as I walked along the path to the moth traps. I was crouching by the Ringing Shed when there was one fantastic crack; I nearly jumped out of my skin! It certainly made my hair stand on end. Still I survived and managed to get back to the car before the rain!
To get back to the point and the title of this piece, the rain has helped the flowers and the verges on the quieter roads are a blaze of bright colour. If I got out the paints (I must do that sometime) and painted the patches of flowers it would look un-believable. Splashes of scarlet poppies, pale mauve Field Scabious, darker pink/purple Mallow and rivers of golden yellow bedstraw, cooled with masses of white Mayweed and all punctuated by the tall umbrellas of the Hogweed flowers. It is difficult to put into words the beauty of it all. In some places the Fireweed, Rosebay Willow Herb, stands tall and flamboyant, the Jane Russell of the flower world, showy and titian headed. Many of you may remember that after the war London became ablaze with the Fireweed on all the bomb -sites, it loves derelict land with poor soil and because it was so bright and grew where the bombs had caused fires, it gained the name of Fireweed. The Poppies seem to have been much brighter scarlet this year and where they are amassed in a field the colour almost hurts the eyes. Its amazing how long the seeds can lay dormant in the earth as they found after the First World War in the scarred land of fighting, beauty out of hell. It never ceases to amaze me how the natural can over grow the mess we make and create a beautiful picture. It gives me some hope that some of the horrendous mistakes we have made can be redeemed by the wild fighting back. Many an old industrial scar is now disappearing under the growth of long forgotten plants.
Any way that’s enough of one of my Hobby Horses. On the bird front I have had several trips to Titchwell to catch up on the waders that are beginning to re-appear. There have been some good high tide roosts of Knot, many of them in summer plumage, showing where the ‘new’ name Red Knot comes from. Also showing some summer colour are the numbers of Bartailed Godwits and Blacktailed Godwits, again as with the Knot they favour brick red colouration. The six or eight Spotted Redshanks were looking, in comparison, very plain in fact almost a bit sinister in their Black summer coats, I am afraid that I actually prefer them in their subtle winter greys. The ducks on the other hand are in no-mans land! Ducks in eclipse (moult) are hard work; the brightly coloured males become drab as the females, and can be so-and-sos to identify. I also did a detour on my way back from Kings Lynn, in the pouring rain I drove round the scenic drive to try and catch up on some of my July list birds. I spotted a couple of young Mistle Thrushes, very, very spotty and somewhat soggy. Then as the sun came out I stopped, parked up and was treated to a noisy ‘flock’ of Jays. They were very chatty and curious; I say flock as I think it must have been two families, there were so many of them. The youngsters were dressed in deep salmon pink, a darker colour than the adults, and with their dark brown moustaches they looked very dapper. They played around the car in the branches of the Oak tree I had parked under. A lovely interlude.
In an article in the Church Magazine, (I write for both) I have talked about my garden running wild. One result of this is a beautiful Robins Pincushion, it’s a growth caused by a Gall Wasp, and this one is fluffy and red, pink and green, more paint box.
Not so Paint Box are the patches of verge where the detritus of modern living sprout! Why oh why if one can carry (on bike, foot or car) a full container of drink or food, can’t people carry away the empty one? Discards are not only an eyesore, but they are dangerous to wild life, traps for small animals and killers if eaten by larger ones. Plastic bags are attractive to cattle and will probably be tasted by them that means fairly certain death as the plastic gets ingested in their various stomach systems. PLEASE, PLEASE take your litter home and put it in your own dustbin.