Friday, 2 October 2015

Goldilocks Aster Berry Head

Just over a week ago we went to see the Goldilocks Aster a rare plant in the UK which grows on cliffs in the Berry Head area of Torbay. Most of the plants were located in inaccesible spots on the cliff slopes but there were also quite a few small groups on the cliff tops. Some of them ideally placed for nice scenic shots too.

There were some large groups growing on inaccessible ledges.


Goldilocks Aster - Aster linosyris

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Botanizing Around Charlton Mackrell, Somerset and My Dream Wildflower

Back in mid July we spent a few hours botanizing around the Charlton Mackrell area of Somerset. We had a few target plants which we managed to see but the one I wanted most of all was Blue Pimpernel, a sub-species of the very common Scarlet Pimpernel. It really is a flower 'to die for', well I think so. After looking for it and failing last year (mainly because I found out I was looking in the wrong field) I was so stunned to find it this year that I was momentarily rendered speechless, I was just standing there pointing and gibbering. Sad I know. And if that wasn't enough Andy spotted a beautiful pale pink form too, almost as nice as the blue but not quite!

 Wild Liquorice - Astragalus glycyphyllos

has subtle flowers ....

... and very striking 'in yer face' seed pods.

Field Garlic - Allium oleraceum 

Sharp-leaved FluellenKickxia elatine

One of about seven plants of Blue Pimpernel we found in a single arable field

Blue Pimpernel - Anagallis arvensis ssp. foemina
 (This is blue pimpernel and not the blue form of scarlet pimpernel which looks almost exactly the same I even took a couple of petals home to examine under the microscope to be sure)

 Pink form of Scarlet Pimpernel  - Anagallis arvensis

And a couple of butterflies..


Essex Skipper 

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Lunar Eclipse

I didn't set my alarm to watch the lunar eclipse on Monday morning as chances were that I'd be awake anyway. It's my age I'm afraid. And there was I thinking I'd never find anything good about waking up in the middle of the night every night! On the night in question I woke up a bit earlier than my usual 4am and was in time to see the eclipse totality. Unfortunately from our flat I had to lean right out of the window to see the moon as we have no west facing ones, also the 'security' lights on some neighbouring flats made viewing rather difficult without the aid of a welding mask! So I threw on some clothes, got in the car and headed off into the darkness for a better view. The best thing about it was that during totality the moon looked really 3D, like a ball suspended in the blackness, normally it always looks flat if you know what I mean. That three-dimensionalness doesn't really show on photos. I couldn't be bothered to set up my DSLR on a tripod (not that I'd have had the time) so I took a few snaps with my super-zoom that aren't too bad and certainly make a nice memento of the occasion.