Thursday 28 January 2016

The Grebes and the Primroses

Today has been a wonderful day.

This morning I spent a couple of hours walking around Sconce Hills Park with my camera, on a bright day with a clear blue sky reaching to the edge of the universe, the sun taking the edge off the cold west wind. Hazel catkins are out now, with a spot of early - and I mean early - blossom as well.

I walked the river, scanning the alders for siskin and redpolls AGAIN, saw none AGAIN, and crept along the soft bark path in the old oak wood to see what might be around. Sadly no treecreeper today, and the goldcrest I only heard rather than saw, but there were still plenty of things to photograph, as you shall see in the coming days.

In the afternoon, I went for a run that eventually turned into a walk after about 7km, my legs were a bit dead after yesterday's run. The sky had darkened, rain fell desultorily. But it was still worth it, as on London Road lake, I watched as a great crested grebe - in full summer regalia - dive beneath the service a few metres out and bring up a fish, possibly a small roach the length of my middle finger, and rather than swallow it itself, present it to one of the two stripey headed youngsters cruising the waters along with it.

Guess what? No camera again!

I ran the whole length of Clay Lane, a sea of mud dredging the strength out of my legs, and then through a rather sparse feeling Beacon Hill Park. Then, I was trundling down Beacon Hill, when I noticed that primroses had appeared on the grass verge, another early riser this spring. A few metres further on, another orange flower was out, but I couldn't recognise it.

Outside for more or less 5 hours today, so I've had a good one! Hope you did too.


All text and images Copyright CreamCrackeredNature 28.01.16

Devon Pasture in the sun

Alder catkins by the Devon

My favourite stump

Sun explodes through old oak wood

Hazel catkins

Clay Lane in the mud


Lesser celandine?


  1. Wow that is early for the celandine. We have leaves but no flowers yet. Little grebes are calling on the lakes here. How fab to be outdoors for so many hours.

  2. Lovely photos again.
    Yes, that is a lesser celandine. In our Hampshire garden they have been flowering since early December. Completely "out of synch" as they are usually an early spring flower ( February/March).

  3. It's a crazy winter. Circumstances conspired to keep me indoors most of yesterday which was frustrating but unavoidable.

  4. Great post and photos Simon. We've had primroses (the wild ones) flowering in our garden since December. Seems very early for lesser celandine I usually see the flowers in March. So much happening this winter so early.

  5. No Primroses or Celandines up here yet, at least I haven't seen anyway, but what with the almost non-existent winter I wouldn't be surprised to see a few even up here!

    Hopefully you will eventually manage to find a Siskin or Redpoll (or both!) before the end of the season :-)

  6. Thank you, I was a bit lost with that flower, until I remembered Celandine. Odd to see them up Beacon Hill road, and not down by the lakes where they are normally found

  7. Beautiful places, spring is coming.

  8. Beautiful places, spring is coming.