Category Suburban nature

29th November – marsh harrier hulking in spindly tree…

Opalescent light across the estuary at Rainham marshes as the fog lifts. My good friend Sophie’s a welcome change from lone excursions; we chat & look, flipping from plants to birds & back. In a spindly tree, a marsh harrier hulks, then lifts on oblong wings. A second tracks the line of pylons. High above, […]

22nd November 2020 – a confusion of fumitories

Today I’ve treated myself to a visit to Kew Gardens and I’m exploring the plants and a variety of weeds round the evolution garden despite the unremitting drizzle. The delicate pale pink and crimson flower spike of a fumitory catches my eye in a corner of rough grass and I inwardly groan. The difficulties of […]

15th November – sun-brushed reeds on Rainham marshes

Breathe deeply, all quiet, big open space, sun-brushed reeds. Well almost quiet, if I ignore the high speed trains belting past and the clanging of a bulldozer echoing across the estuary. The volunteer on the gate of Rainham marshes reserve was apologetic about the one way system in operation but it means I barely see […]

8th November 2020 – not just any red berries

It’s almost impossible to ignore trees at this time of year, not that you’d want to I imagine. But as well as enjoying the autumn colour, I’m taking time to notice the unfamiliar trees in the estate where I live and in our local park. I’ve walked past this one just behind our house almost […]

Guest blog for the London Wildlife Trust…

Always happy to write for the Wild London blog, on this occasion about my trip to Chapel Bank reserve in Croydon and finding a Carline Thistle.

1st November 2020 – the sedges aren’t bothered

Maybe I’m obsessing a bit about sedges and rushes at the moment but I risk a trip in half-term to the London Wetland Centre to see what else I can find. I have to fight my way through families to escape into the quieter Wildside where I find what I think are the last few […]

25th October 2020 – Sun and Spiked Sedge

I’m itching for a botanical adventure this morning and set off for Bushy Park in far distant west London. My mission is simple; to soak up some sun and look for rushes and sedges. Like Richmond Park, Bushy Park is home to free-roaming deer, but as soon as I’m through the entrance I sense they […]

11th October 2020 – Rutting deer and fruiting rushes

I’m hiding behind an ancient oak tree. It’s all gone very quiet. Then I hear a low grunt and when I peek round, five metres away on the other side of the trunk a red deer stag is carefully lowering himself into the bracken. He sits gasping for breath in the October sun. A few […]

4th October 2020 – a very suburban affair

The leaves haven’t really changed yet but this avenue of poplars is lit gold in the midday sun. A tram flashes past on the park boundary head of me, which triggers a feeling that I’m truanting. Clutching onto summer, my current policy is to stop working whenever the sun comes out and to get outside […]

20th September 2020 – a ferny thing happened

There are few plants in flower in the woods this morning apart from Ivy. I find some Wood Sedge alongside the rail bed which still have fruits so spend a bit of time getting some clearer photos than I’ve managed earlier in the year. I wander down the railway track to the old tunnel mouth […]