Golden Saxifrage

golden saxifrage3.10 p.m., 45°F, 7ºC; A little black fly visits the tiny flowers dotted with yellow stamens of the golden saxifrage, growing on the bank of the beck in the wood. In Plant and Planet, Anthony Huxley writes that golden saxifrage is also pollinated by springtails. Springtails feed amongst the leaf litter and need humid conditions.

Coxley beckIt’s not obvious from my drawing, but, when I went back and checked, I found that this is the opposite-leaved golden saxifrage (there’s also an alternate-leaved species), Chrysoslenium oppositifolium, a common native plant of wet, acid soils in habitats such as woodland flushes, springs and stream sides.

The golden saxifrage is dotted along the waters edge like dapples of sunlight in this rare un-trampled corner of the wood, alongside bramble, nettle, lesser celandine and bluebell (not yet in flower) which spread further onto the banking amongst holly, hazel and hawthorn.wood pigeon

Blackbird and robin are singing, a pair of wrens perch on a log and flit off into the undergrowth. There’s a clatter of wings in the top of an ivy-covered alder as one wood pigeon harasses another.

Motorway Corridor

motorway embankmentgullOn our morning errands, we take a break at Starbuck’s, Calder Park, next to junction 39 of the M1 motorway. We’re on the verge of spring but in the view from our table the only area of green is winter wheat on the far side of the Calder valley at Lupset.

pegeonBlack-headed gulls, now with neat chocolate brown masks, flap and glide in random search mode above the car park. A town pigeon zooms off on more urgent business.