Friday, 13 January 2012

And then....

Don't count your chickens (although I do every day).

After a few wonderful days, the high pressure arrived, bringing an associated frost. (question: why do high weather systems only arrive in winter {bringing frost} and never in summer {bringing warm sunny days})?

It was only a very slight frost, so I dashed out and got a few shots. 

This one shows leaves of Creeping Buttercup:

Frosted Buttercup leaves

This is the (much maligned) Common Ragwort:

Frosted Ragwort

And a single Daisy was still boldly pushing out its petals:
Frosted Daisy

It's worth noting that frost emphasises the structural areas of leaves, giving an aid to identification if it is required.

Etymological note: Daisy was originally known as "day's eye"'s one of the flowers that opens most early in the day. 

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Dry and warm

A high pressure weather system has been lurking to the south of Ireland for a few days, bringing some dry and warm weather. This morning was bright and warm, so I dashed off to a likely spot to see what I could find. An inspection of the stream bank revealed hundreds of Lesser Celandines in bud, and a single flower which is - to all intents and purposes - open:

Lesser Celandine
And right beside it, a single specimen of Creeping Buttercup in flower:

Creeping Buttercup

A nearby boggy area revealed Ivy-leaved Water Crowfoot in bud:
Ivy-leaved Water Crowfoot in bud
And Brooklime making strong green growth:

Further along the hedgerow I found a couple of specimens of Tubaria furfuracea, which is a Hawthorn associate:

Tubaria furfuracea
And Gorse in flower:


Whilst examining a wall for mosses (more of those later) I spotted a few Snowdrops with open flowers:

Well done to anybody spotting the small fly on the flower sheath!

Mosses are truly beautiful in all their parts, especially when they have sunlight to brighten them up. Yes, they are very small, but if you 'get down to their size', both physically and metaphorically, you will find beauty that is almost beyond belief.

This shot shows three specimens of Tortula muralis:

Tortula muralis
Here's a close-up of the maturing spore capsules:

Capsules of Tortula muralis
I'm convinced those setae (the 'stalks' of the capsules) are light pipes that transfer light directly down into the dark parts of the mosses.

Grimmia pulvinata has globular capsules that never emerge much beyond the leaf tips:

Grimmia pulvinata, showing hidden capsules

Bryum capillare has 'nodding head' capsules on long setae:
Bryum capillare capsules
Is this really early January, or did I miss a couple of months?