Monday, January 22, 2018
A mid-January walk
The weather was warmer today with the sun shining and no rain. Heading down the garden I found that the spurge laurel (Daphne laureola) had opened some of its flowers. The bush appeared here of its own accord and the next nearest example I know of is about 500 metres away in a wood and the plant seems nowhere common in this part of East Sussex.
In Churchland Wood I photographed this single-stemmed hornbeam. These trees are nearly always coppiced, but there are two or three that have been left to grow naturally in the wood and I often wonder why. Maybe there was a use for larger pieces of the wood.
Further down the garden I found our bush of the winter flowering honeysuckle Lonicera x purpusii 'Winter Beauty' and was pleased to discover that the flowers were being attended by a couple of rather dark marmalade flies, Episyrphus balteatus. This very common hoverfly often appears here in the colder months and its presence on the honeysuckle again illustrates how important these winter flowering introductions can be to our native fauna. Lonicera x purpusii is a hybrid between two Chinese species and I wonder what Chinese insects may be attracted to their flowers.
Underneath the trees the green leaves of bluebells are rising through the leaves as a reminder that spring is not far away. Noise levels are increasing too with, today, several great tits calling loudly and a great spotted woodpecker drumming on an oak tree.