Friday, 30 November 2012

Of Ferns and Muntjac

'Twas a very cold morning following a hard overnight frost. Not to be daunted I girded my loins and, summoning the courage of my Viking ancestors*, set forth for the Pocket Park. A stream runs alongside the park and its banks are becoming well colonised by ferns. So far I have only noted one species, the Male Fern Dryopteris filix-mas.
I am no expert but this species is Northamptonshire's commonest fern, so in this instance I feel fairly confident. Of this fern Druce remarks: "Rather common...but suffering from the rapacity of vagrants."
Along the banks of the stream I frequently see a Munjac Deer, Muntiacus reevesi, often browsing and not seemingly perturbed by my presence. It wasn't there today but there were faint hoof-marks (known as 'slots') in the damp soil. The bark had also been nibbled on a fallen branch nearby.
* I have mild Dupuytren's Contracture. It is a condition caused by a faulty gene and is said to have been brought to Britain by the Vikings. I trot out this highly significant piece of information at random times.

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