Wednesday, 23 May 2018

June 2018 -- a meadow pipit and some wood anemones

Meadow Pipit

Our new church clock was installed in memory of the late John Brooks and Doreen was saying that one of their first outings together was a walk up Lark Hill at Delph. Not having visited this local beauty spot before, I took a walk there in some very welcome late afternoon sunshine. The very stony track leads through cultivated grassland and I soon noticed a pair of long dark-coloured ears sticking up above the vegetation. They belonged to a Hare which emerged to run across the field. They are elegant and given their substantial size could provide a good meal if necessary.
     Farther up the path, a Lapwing appeared directly overhead, calling constantly and looping round in series of circles, soon to be joined by a second bird. This means of leading a potential predator away from the nest provided an opportunity to observe the birds from all angles. Soon one of them landed a few yards away, the dark head crest and metallic green plumage giving it an air of some nobility.
     Alchemical mollis is a useful if very invasive garden plant which looks good after a shower of rain because water droplets remain held on the leaves like bright beads of mercury. There is a wild form, Alchemilla vulgaris, compact and a rich shade of green, which has the same moisture holding ability, and is a common plant at Lark Hill. I was interested to read that in ancient times Alchemilla vulgaris was held to have magical powers, being described thus in a sixteenth century herbal:– ‘In the night it closeth itself together lyke a purse and in the morning it is found full of dewe.’
     The weather was perfect as I reached the summit to look down onto Diggle. The sky was a clear blue, the low elmberry bushes were in full flower and a Meadow Pipit perched obligingly on a weathered post. The only grumpiness-inducing moment occurred when an off-road motor cyclist came roaring up the track.
     Walking past Denshaw church yard last month I could see some bright white flowers among the grass. They were Wood Anemones, a plant I have known since childhood. We lived near to some neglected woodland where in springtime Wood Anemones gleamed in the shade. I keep a blue-flowered variety going and while not an ideal garden plant (it disappears below ground after flowering). It certainly is beautiful when in flower.

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