I’ve known that there were foxes in the small patch of scrubland behind the house almost since I moved in seven and a half years ago, but this morning is the first time I’ve seen them.

When I opened my bedroom curtains this morning, my attention was drawn by the yipping of an exceedingly amorous couple in next-door’s garden. Lousy photos, at a distance through a steamed-up window (there’s a heavy frost this morning), but very nice to see.

amorous foxes 1


amorous foxes 2

toadstool time

A glorious afternoon, over at my Mum’s in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. I managed a reasonable stroll round the Common, though rather slowly (changes in heart meds have left me breathless). Fly agaric seems to be either very scarce or very late: I’d normally expect to see a couple of dozen at this time of year, but could only find two! admittedly, fairly large ones, about 8 inches in diameter.

fly agaric toadstool

garden bits

Autumn is well and truly here, and the last couple of sunny afternoons have been great for starting to collect seeds in the garden. They’re now spending a day or two finishing drying out indoors before being stored.

I cut down the dying grass in the “wildflower patch” a couple of days ago, deliberately leaving long stubble for wildlife to hide in. As I was putting in a couple of teazle plants (to flower next year) there was a sudden movement …

seeds drying on small sheets of paper


frog, in grass stubble of wildflower bank by pond

trip to Green Mount

I had a trip over to see Mum, and got back late on Monday. For some reason I was completely wired, and didn’t manage to go to bed on Monday night at all, so Tuesday was rather a write-off!

Mum was in great form, managing to get up by 1430, going for a walk round the back garden to pick some Crocosmia for a vase, and generally active. She managed to have supper at the kitchen table Ok, as well, going back upstairs about 1945.

Anyway, here are a few pics. My usual hirple on the Common sadly showed the invasive and unpleasant Himalayan balsam in full bloom. There’s also the rather nice Small Yellow balsam in the damp shady area by the refurbished newt-ponds. And it’s the time of year for the beloved Harebells, and the scarlet of Lords&Ladies. In Mum’s garden, the paeony seed-heads are at their most spectacular.

Himalayan balsam


Yellow (small-leaved) balsam




Lords and Ladies


open triangular paeony seedhead with scarlet seeds


garden bits

A day of brilliant sunshine interspersed with showers, downpours.and thunderstorms has played hob with my back, and walking is hard work. I did manage a trip up the garden to pick runner beans for supper, and this caught my eye on the way back. Phone photo, as I didn’t have a camera on me!

bumble bee on globe thistle

moving on …

Clearly, the solitary bees are not content with making nests in the cracks in the concrete path (which has prevented me making much-needed repairs: I bought the patching mortar months ago!). They’ve now moved onto the lawn, so I have to watch where I walk with bare feet.

I think they’re “Tawny Mining Bees”, though it’s getting late in the season for them.

mound of excavated earth, with entrance hole to nest

wild things

A short walk on the Common yesterday. Very few orchids in the usual places, but large groups have appeared a couple of hundred yards away where they were previously unknown, which is encouraging. I only took my shirtpocket camera, and regretted it: it’s great for static objects like flowers, but no good for erratic subjects like damselsflies and red kites!

I’m poor at damselfly identification – it looks to me like a female Beautiful Demoiselle, but they’re supposed to like rapid streams and the only nearby water is still seasonal ponds …

damselfly at rest


didtantred kite