The wet mild climate we have in Cornwall means fern heaven.
I have a fascination with these ancient non flowering spore bearing plants.
The feather like fractal qualities of their fronds & the way they react to light in a different way to other plants draws me.
Light & Shade.
Heaven & Earth.
Above & below.
Wild nature & contrived.
A study of a mud sculpture at Heligan Gardens & an image from Wistman's Wood Dartmoor.
Dartmoor is rich in pre-Christian history & Wistman's wood full of myth, mystery, magic & legend. Wistman's wood. legendary dartmoor.
The weather has sculpted these old oak trees into wonderful natural statues overgrown with moss, lichens & bilberry.
I was drawn to the similarities & differences between these two images & thought I'd put them together.
Following my last post about Wheatears & the asbence of other birds I thought I'd dig out some old photos from a few years ago when these birds where much more common at Carn Grey.
First the stonechat male.
A female with a beak full of grubs to feed her young.
A breeding pair.
& a male Stonechat sharing the same bush with a Male Yellowhammer.
Male Yellowhammer singing his iconic song.
A slightly more muted hen.
A bird most don't even notice the Linnet is another to find on the heathland.
& the hen.
A meadow pipit.
This one was photographed on Menabilly beach in the winter.
Insectivorous birds like Pipits & Wagtails migrate to the coast in the winter where food is easier to find.
Just a sample of the birdlife found on my local moor.
There are other species present, some rare some not so.
Whitethroats & other little warblers & the very rare nightjar has been seen flying in the area.
So please next time you take a walk on the barren heath please remember it's not as barren as it may seem.
A walk last night on the heath around my roots looking for Yellowhammers & Stonechats was unsuccessful.
It's worrying that these two species that where common a few years ago appear to be absent.
It's also personally a disappointment.
There is little more beautiful than a cock Yellowhammer in full sun singing his "A little bit of bread & no cheese please." & the sound of the stonechat, just like its name, the sound of two flints being hit together is a sound I've grown up with & I miss it.
I was looking forward to capturing some good images to share.
Hopefully this is a blip & they will return another year.
A lot of the heathland birds like stonechats, yellowhammers, skylarks & meadowpipits nest on or near the ground.
This makes them very vulnerable to predation & disturbance so if you are walking in these areas please watch where you put your feet & those of your hounds too.
It's an even bigger dissapointment to not see the cuckoo at Carn Grey.
I think this is the first year I've not heard one or seen them sitting on the wires above the heath.
One nice interaction was the discovery of a pair of Wheatears.
Not a rare bird, but not common locally.
The name has nothing to do with Wheat. They are very much a moorland bird & not agricultural
It's actually translates from old English as white ass. Under its tail it has a very white rump.
The male showed first & it is probably my imagination but I think he was deliberately leading me away from his mate.
He kept flitting away a few feet then looking back at me to check where I was.
Bold bright male plumage has more use than just impressing the girls.
It also acts as a lure to draw predators from the more muted sitting hen.
It wasn't until I was walking back that I spotted the hen.
Lets hope they are successful & there will be more in the future.
I'm a little bit of an ignoramus when it comes to pagan rites & ritual.
But when it comes to belief systems ones closer to nature are certainly closer to my own than the monotheistic ones that seem to cause the majority of the conflicts in the world.
So if you read this from a place of pagan knowledge please excuse my ignorance & feel free to correct me.
Something that struck me is the world is constantly in flux & change, be it seasonal, geological, natural or political.
So a belief system that has more understanding of such change & embraces it is better than ones that try to control everything & everyone.
That is impossible. It's doomed to fail.
The fact pre Christian pagan ritual still exists despite the efforts of many. & the way Christianity has fixed its own ceremonies close to the timings of pagan ones. Also that most of those pagan ritual has been handed down orally, not cast in stone or on scrolls adds to its strength in my humble opinion.
I was invited by a facebook friend to share the Beltane celebrations at Avebury in Wiltshire.
The beginning of summer.
The nights before where cold & frosty & it's certainly more like summer now a few days later.
Avebury is a quirky place. The largest neolithic stone circle in Europe with a huge ditch dug around it with a beautiful old village & a busy road running through the middle .
The mix of believers, posh wealthy locals, & coachloads of tourists from all over the world made interesting viewing. I wish I could overcome my own self conciousness that stops me from pointing my camera at others.
Wiltshire is a big open county with rolling hills & big skies. Very different to my homeland & I was photographing the weather as much as I was the landscape.
Something that struck me was when away from traffic noise was the sound of skylarks.
I didn't expect to hear them in a agricultural landscape that is predominately industrial & chemical cereal lands.
It came as a pleasant surprise.
Onto the photos.
Close to Avebury is Silbury hill.
Ancient & man made & archaeologically fascinating.
My own ongoing project with my local skytip drew me to it.
A beautiful weekend despite two very badly behaved terriers that wanted to fight every other dog & each other.
Thank you Paula & Clare for sharing it with me.
As always to view the images full size double click on the thumbs & left click view image.
Although we are three weeks in this is my first post of the year so my first opportunity to make such a greeting here on my blog.
It's the 20th of January & on this day in 1925 my father was born.
Sadly he left us two years ago, but I think it's right to post some pictures from his beloved homeland.
Views I'm sure he enjoyed as much as I do, although he never owned a camera or wanted to record moments in the way his son does.
First a photo of the man, although at the time, wasn't much more than youth.
My favourite photo of all time, taken when he was in his late teens, near the end or soon after the end of WW2.
Standing in his Sunday best with his horse Star, leading the carnival queen & her attendants in the local carnival.
I'm wondering how many hours my Father & Grandmother took to get Star looking so smart.
Polishing leather & brass, plaiting mane & tail. I hope the young ladies on the cart where suitably impressed.
To some of the views I know he loved.
All taken from Carn Grey where my Father was born & lived & farmed for the first fifty or so years.
Looking East towards Bodmin moor Helman tor with Rough tor & Brown Willy.
With Knightor house in the foreground.
Gentlemans farm above Par beach with Polruan in the background, not like our little hill farm with its low hedges made from stone pulled from the small fields & more rusty galvanise than fine stone walls.
But he loved his land regardless & I don't think he envied those that had better.
The Gribben. & St Austell Bay.
William Joseph Mitchell 20/01/1925 to 27/01/2014 a life celebrated in the places he loved.