Friday, 12 February 2010

Peppercombe - Hanging around waiting for Spring

Peppercombe 10th February. Fair-weather, at last, so a chance to catch up on life in the Peppercombe Valley. Birds chirping and twittering, spot a tiny coal tit in the trees. As I reach the bridge a pheasant crosses the trail then takes off squawking and flapping noisily taking cover in the trees. Cut off from his mate now, who is on the other side of the track, they continue to call back and forth to each other. I also spotted cute little wren, two robins and two great tits. It would be so nice to recognise the birds from the sound of their tweets. Spring seems to be coming much later than 2009 and the catkins are sparse mainly because the trees/hedges have been cut back. Early risers include snowdrops, the flowers not fully open, in their usual spot, one lesser celandine flowering in a sheltered sunny hideout by the fork. There are, however, plenty of interesting lichens/moss and fungi including the colourful red Pixie cup. In 2009 there were several of them peeking out of the undergrowth on the high banks. I spot the first flowering primroses on the high bank by the Bungalow, just three clumps so far. It's a good clear day, at last, sunny with blue skies. From the top of the coastpath steps Clovelly is lit up and Lundy so clear I could see the fields on the top of the island. There was a yacht in the Bay, a tiny speck offshore. The ancient trees seem to be depleted year by year after winter storms but the broken branches lie where they fall and become home to the many woodland plants, mosses/liverworts and rusty lichens.