Thursday, 13 February 2020

Plus ça change...

On my last four occasions I have visited our local (Stefen Hill) pocket park  have set out in bright sunshine, only for clouds to roll in and thwart my plans. Today was going to be different because the sunny conditions looked set to hold. But no, with ten minutes the sky darkened, the sun disappeared and a chilly wind sprang up.  Am I being paranoid? Of course not - but it is clear that someone is out to get me!

Anyway, undaunted I pushed on making my first target the pocket park's only pond. In parts of Britain there have been reports of frogs and toads already spawning. Would there be any in 'our' pond? The answer was no. Last year the pond held thousands of tadpoles but it completely dried up and none survived. Perhaps this will have a knock-on effect on breeding this year.

There was no sign of life, vertebrate or invertebrate. However the spear-like leaves of Yellow Iris, Iris pseudacorus, were pushing through in abundance - too abundant if truth be told for, lovely though they are, these 'flags' may ultimately overwhelm the pond. The specific name is derived from the similar appearance of this plant to Sweet Flag, Acorus calamus, but the two plants are quite unrelated.
The spears of Yellow Iris, Iris pseudacorus, were breaking through the
surface of the pond. Stefen Hill Pocket  Park, Daventry 13 February, 2020

A couple of rotting tree stumps bore neat tiers of a fungus. As I have pointed out ad nauseam I am no mycologist but it is almost certainly Turkey Tail, Trametes versicolor.

Turkey Tail? It seems a pretty safe bet. Edge of Stefen Hill Pocket Park, Daventry.
13 February, 2020
Elsewhere the flowers of what I suspect is a plum (probably Cherry Plum, Prunus cerasifera) were open for business should any bees be on the wing, but today it was flowering in vain.

A rather weedy shrub, perhaps some form of Cherry Plum, was flowering
in a brave but probably futile manner. Stefen Hill Pocket Park again
The first spits and spots of rain arrived on the freshening wind and I decided that enough was enough.

The sparse flowers suggest that is a seedling of a more floriferous

Hurrying on in the increasing rain I noticed that the male flowers on ash are about to burst forth - but I wasn't prepared to stay for another photograph.  A disappointing day!

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