Hemlock Water Dropwort

hemlock water dropwort10.45 a.m., 48ºF, 9ºc, overcast, cool; Hemlock water dropwort grows on a silty, gravelly inside bend of the stream by the sawn-off bough of a crack willow. Its luxuriant, fresh-looking rosettes spring up along the banks and even in a few places from the stream bed itself. It’s not surprising that none of the leaves has been nibbled because every part of this plant is extremely toxic.

squirrel poleThe harsh chatter of magpies contrasts with the restful rhythmic babbling of the brook. That’s a cliche but babbling is the only way to describe it this morning.

wagtailA smart looking grey wagtail, a male, performs a mid-air pirouette when I disturb it and its mate flitting about over a gravelly section of the stream at the entrance to the wood.

A grey squirrel has been leaning over to reach our solid-looking ‘squirrel proof’ sunflower heart feeder. As it hangs upside down from the pole, it rotates the feeder with its front legs, always in a clockwise direction. Eventually this unscrews the feeder from its hook and the lid comes off as it crashes to the ground. I pick pigeonup what seed I can and replace the feeder. Blackbird, robin, goldfinch and pheasant appreciate the bonus of spilt seed but it’s the wood pigeon that steadily gets through it.

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    1. They’ve been back. I moved the feeders over to the washing line, out of reach, and you could see the thought processes going through the squirrel’s mind as it stood on its hind legs and looked at them all hanging there, then went back to the shepherd’s crook feeding poles, climbed one and gave the hooks a REALLY thorough inspection – just in case the sunflower heart feeders were still hiding there – finally it leapt from one pole to the other, about three feet, to check out the other pole.

  1. I love your posts Richard. Your sketches are perfect. They capture the essence of your subjects and although I have lived in Australia since I was six years old I feel very homesick for England.

    1. Thank you, it’s working well for me now being able to get out every day and, to get absorbed in my subject. I’ve been out so much this year that I find myself looking at the bare trees and thinking is it still spring time. But they’ll soon be bursting into leaf.

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