Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Poppy Stopping Moments.

   Wild poppies turn ordinary fields into beautiful landscapes.Driving past this one on Bempton Lane,near Bempton village in East Yorkshire,made me stop several times to take photos.

Large crinkled,tissue-paper-like flowers looked to have four vivid red petals on closer inspection.

The poppy flower is held aloft by strong, curved hairy stems. The hairs are to deter predators. I have also learnt that the hairy stems taste strange to predators!

This next photo was taken in the evening. Closed petals looked as if they were in prayer.

The three stages in a common poppy flower are:   Bud    Flower    Capsule      

My favourite poppy images are always the ones where the central rings of black stamens start to produce their pollen.

After a few days the pollen has started to fall on the petals as insects have carried it away.

The poppy pods that grow after the bright flower petals fall off look like little faces that have sprouted a flat top hair cut.

The last time I drove past the poppy field I couldn't resist one last photo. It was just in time, as two days later the farmer had cropped the field.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Wandering teenagers.

   July is the month when many of this year's hatchlings make their first strides (and flaps) into the wider world. I was able to catch up with two juveniles in our garden this week.

   The longer feeder is always a favourite of the Great Spotted Woodpecker during the year.

   So I was thrilled when the two juveniles also arrived on the scene. One was very well behaved staying safely in the trees above the hedge. The adult went to and fro feeding it.

   The other juvenile had a desire to explore, coming out onto the top of the hedge, perching on tree stumps protruding from the hedge and hopping onto the bird house roof. The adult carried on busily feeding both juveniles.

   Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpeckers are similar to adults but have two main features which, should age them immediately. Firstly the crimson on their under tail is a weaker pinker colour than an adult. Secondly and unmistakably, the crown is red, not black as it would be with an adult.

    As the parent initially helps with the feeding a good comparison of colours can be made. The male adult has a small red spot at the nape of his neck. This is absent in this female. Both male and female help with the feeding.

    The next day one of the juveniles had completely mastered selecting food from the feeder by itself.

    It stayed at least 5 minutes before it was off making a break for freedom.