Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside

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Winter wander

I went out yesterday to see if I could find any flowers to photograph, but ended up spending ages in books and online, trying to identify lichens and mosses. I think these are right, as they are ones I’ve seen before (but if you spot mistakes, please let me know). I also have quite a few more unidentified, so more work to do.



Stars on larch branch, and sputniks

Another walk – and a twenty minute run (hurrah!) on a lovely sunshiny afternoon.  I took my camera, which was a bit of a hindrance while running, but it was good to keep a record of some of the natural wonders I saw. I loved the look of these rosettes of leaves growing directly out of a larch branch – and the lichen too.


Leaf rosettes growing directly out of a larch branch.

These are galls caused by a gall wasp, Diplolepis nervosa (according to Britain’s Plant Galls by Michael Chinery), and are called either Sputnik Galls or Spiked Pea Galls. Sputnik does it for me. Aren’t they gorgeous?

Sputnik galls

Sputnik Galls, caused by the gall wasp Diplonepis nervosa


Bird-knit nest

One of our neighbours found this in amongst their bamboo. It’s about 6 inches from top to bottom, feels about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and really very light, as though it had been knitted. Apparently a Long-tailed Tit’s nest, made with spiders’ webs, moss, lichen and feathers. A beautiful piece of work.

Long-tailed tit nest

Long-tailed tit nest