Monday, May 5, 2014


Yesterday LS and I mooched around Blakes Wood, in company with cuckoos, woodpeckers and bluebells.
The bluebells have gone 'over', the sun is too warm for them, but they still line the paths and form thick bands  of extraordinary hues under the trees.  LS, he is just a little jealous of my new camera, has brought his tripod and I stand for long periods of time as he videos this pretty vista, so soon over.  Not that I am unhappy soaking in the mood of the trees, listening to the bird song.  We watched Robert McFarlane last night on TV he has made a programme about 'Wild Essex', and he also wandered through a bluebell wood near to the town of Billericay, describing them from a Gerald Manley Hopkin's poem  about this wild plant of our country.
A paradigm of art —
this grace of blue
conjured out of the moil
of roots and rotting leaves and mite-stirred soil.

The cuckoos, were a happy surprise, we have heard them before but not last year.  Two flew over, I even captured their clear call on a video, so it is a welcome back for these intruders of other nests, the black and white woodpeckers with a flash of red on their under bellies were also nesting and got rather agitated by our presence. Blakes Wood is a popular place for people to visit and though we saw many people going too and fro at the entrance, once in the woods and it became quieter.
McFarlane argues that wildness goes on in these  scrub lands of dereliction that mars so much of Essex's landscape.  This is true where water meets land,  such as the  Dengie marshes, which is dominated by the ugly form of a nuclear station  but is also host to many migrant birds, as they skim the air in great clouds of acrobatic grace.

Interlaced stitchwort

Yellow Archangel

Coppicing of the sweet chestnut

Wood spurge 

Canopy where the woodpeckers live

McFarlane books


  1. That programme on Essex was fascinating wasn't it Thelma?
    Lucky you to hear cuckoos - there has not been one heard here for a few years now, although we did hear a skylark the other day, for the first time for many years.
    Marvellous bluebells - plenty of those round here but not out yet.

    1. Yes he is very good, I follow his progress through life. McFarlane has two books to his credit, probably more, here is a blog on the Broomway...
      Sad that you don't see cuckoos up North, though I know they are becoming scarce. There are skylarks here already nesting and there were plenty on the Cornish moors.

  2. So lovely to see the bluebells like that. They aren't QUITE there yet here.

  3. That is strange because you are so much further south, but then we found Bodmin Moor quite cold, all those 'mizzles'...