Sunday, 14 June 2015

30 days wild - Days 13 and 14 - the Weekend!

It's the weekend and the first time I went on a #30DaysWild outing. So far all my encounters with nature have been opportunistic - squeezed in, sometimes while travelling. Saturday was still like that but on Sunday, I visited Ashdown Forest.

Saturday, June 13

On the way back from the shops, I was happy to see that East Sussex council had managed the mowing of local grass verges so that the wild flowers including orchids could flower.

Spotted orchid.
My Saturday lunchtime treat was to open up my trail camera and see what has been visiting our garden. To my surprise, a fox had appeared in daylight so we have some colour pictures rather than the usual infra red. The badger continues to be a total diva, rushing by so we don't get a decent photo.

Fox, visited in the afternoon on the 11th of June.
I did a little tidying and watering outside and was filling the pond when I heard calls. To my delight there was a family of pied wagtails on our roof.

Sunday, June 14 - Old Lodge Nature Reserve

The day was dry but rather overcast. I decided to head out to Sussex Wildlife Trust's Old Lodge Nature Reserve on Ashdown Forest. Even before I left the Uckfield bypass, I saw young rabbits feeding at the side of the road. Once I got to the reserve, I decided to concentrate on details because the light was too dull for landscape shots.

Lichen on birch trunk.
The first thing I spotted was lichens and mosses on a craggy old birch tree.  As I walked along the top edge of the reserve, I was fascinated by the colourful and rather weird pine flowers and amazed to find bluebells still out.

Pine flower.
I was glad to see a cluster of foxgloves had sprung up again on the old bank and even more pleased to see a bumble bee scrambling in and out of the flowers.

Buff-tailed bumble bee on foxgloves.
Pink and purple flushes here and there show that the heaths and heathers are already beginning to bloom.

Cross-leaved heath.

Bell heather.
On the path down to the dragonfly ponds I noticed many other plants including the tiny, startlingly beautiful flowers of a sedge.

Heath sedge, just a few inches high.
Along the way I met a couple. The man was clutching binoculars and was pleased because he has seen a greater spotted woodpecker and heard the calls of its mate. The woman wanted to know about the white tufts she could see from the path. I explained they are cotton grass and told them about the green woodpecker I had seen on the higher ground.

Cotton grass.
I think it is too early and certainly to dull for dragonflies but I did see a damselfly.

Damselfly - Common blue, I think.
I was far to slow to catch up with the many ochre coloured moths that I disturbed while walking but I did manage to photograph a brown china-mark moth, which is unusual in that its larvae are aquatic.
Brown china mark moth.
Across the path from the ponds, three ancient and magnificent beeches cast a deep shade.

Three huge, ancient beeches.
For me, the sight of these lovely and rather mysterious trees is always the high point of a visit to Old Lodge. After spending some time with them, I returned to the car, pausing to enjoy something on an altogether different scale.

Tormentil, heath bedstraw and bell heather.
Three colourful little flowers had mixed to give the effect of a tiny garden.

Our own garden

After being out on the forest, our own garden seems so much more confined but is full of colour and interest. After lunch, I grazed my way through our alpine strawberries. Then I watched some bees feeding from our own foxgloves and borage. The borage had at least three different sorts of bee. White-tailed and early bumbles as well as a leaf cutter.

Patchwork leafcutter bee.
Just after 10pm, to round things off, I saw bats swooping past my window.


  1. I really enjoyed your blog and excellent pictures. We are occasional visitors to East Sussex and think it is a lovely part of the world.

  2. Thank you. I feel very lucky to live here.