June 2011

I was determined to rise early on this last Bank holiday of May to bring you one of the most unusual sights to be seen on the Roseland for quite some time. But we all know the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and by the time I had got out of the house the object of my search has disappeared- vanished, evaporated before our very eyes into the very stuff of clouds. I speak of – puddles. I am sure Madame Bush over on the Gardening page (NO, don’t go looking just yet!) will be covering gardening in a drought. And even though Southwest Water have confidently predicted that there will be no need for water restrictions this year (They have consulted their piece of sea weed on the smoking shelter out by the car park), I am sure we are all aware of just how dry it has been this spring.

We are enthusiastic gardeners and have been well aware of the click and whir of the water meter as we try to keep precious plants alive. All our water butts have been empty for a couple of weeks now and most of our new season’s vegetables have come to an untimely stop. Nevertheless, nature still flourishes, the seasons change and each season’s flowers bloom in their turn.

Flora and Fauna are busy repopulating the world with their offspring; there are babyrabbits everywhere (much to our neighbours chagrin!), nest boxes are having a lively time, ours are occupied by blue tits and great tits even though we specified that only sparrows need apply! On the creek, some of our waders have already appeared back from family duties up north. Egrets and small numbers of red / greenshank can be seen strutting their stuff but for the main, the empty creek lies still, awaiting the turn of the tide and the return of our resident wader populations. Even so, it is still a magical place with crabs scuttling for cover and all sorts of sea weed in full growth and vigour.

One of the most magical aspects of living on the Roseland (to me anyway) is having the time to stop and look, really look. When those not as lucky as we precious few come down on holiday, there are beaches to sit on, breath to catch, wonderful local delicacies to sample – liquid and solid, and all manner of diversions that conspire to prevent us from just looking, really looking, say in a rockpool.

When we have children with us we have the excuse to go rockpooling, but have to spend so much energy on making sure no one falls in, over or off that we become distracted from the real work of studying a rockpool. Then the children grow and tire for a while of childish pursuits but lucky is the person who gets beyond such prejudices whilst still able to squat on their haunches over the edge of one of these bejeweled microcosms or to run the edge of stick through weed to chase out shrimps, blennies and bullheads.

I have a lot of travelling to do over the coming months and when not travelling I am going to focus on looking rather than writing so this is my last monthly Nature Notes for a little while. If anything comes along that I really must share with you I will send our Web Master something to publish, but until the autumn I don’t want to distract anyone from being out in the wonder that surrounds us. Get out there and have a look for yourselves!

Ian Bennett

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