Coltsfoot, Greylag, Nest-eggs and Frogfest.

Last Saturday afternoon brought a social walk – three families, three adults, six children and one black Labrador. We walked from Leighton Moss, to Trowbarrow quarry and back via the golf-course – a repeat of a recent walk at our kids’ request. At Trowbarrow there was lots of Coltsfoot flowering.

The flowering stems appear before the leaves and each produces a single golden blossom as rich in colour as the yolk of a free-range hen egg.

Gabrielle Hatfield from Hatfield’s Herbal

I’ve never noticed before the striking red of the sepals around an unopened flower. The sequence continues, partly opened…

…notice the little starbursts around the centre. Then fully opened…

My friend S asked ‘Something interesting or dandelions?’ – and on a cursory glance they do look like dandelions even though on closer inspection they’re completely different. When I said that they were coltsfoot she asked: ‘Like the stuff you eat?’. I was wrong-footed by that one, but have since discovered that coltsfoot is indeed used to make a herbal rock, that the leaves were smoked as a replacement for tobacco during the war, and that coltsfoot has been used to treat respiratory ailments since the time of Pliny the Elder. (All this from ‘Hatfield’s Herbal’ which is a fascinating little reference book – well worth picking up)

On the way back to Leighton Moss I was glad to get an opportunity to photograph some greylag geese since I have been enjoying seeing them feeding in the fields on either side of the road as I drive to and from work.

There are often canada geese too, but that’s a photo opportunity which will have to wait a while longer.

  In the carelessly hidden and unattended nest which we spotted on our last visit to Leighton Moss the eggs still look fine.

There were a couple of mallards swimming about nearby – perhaps this is a mallard nest. I don’t imagine that they are particularly attentive parents.

Meanwhile from the boardwalks in the same area we had a grandstand view of a multitude of very busy frogs. Some lurking below the surface…

Some just hanging around…

Some swimming on the surface…

And some…..

….well, shall we say – full of the joys of spring? It’s perhaps not evident here, but the males are generally much smaller than the females…

Well that’s the end of the frogfest, for now at least. I hope that you have enjoyed it as much as I have been enjoying Darren’s frogfest over on Whitespider.

Coltsfoot, Greylag, Nest-eggs and Frogfest.

3 thoughts on “Coltsfoot, Greylag, Nest-eggs and Frogfest.

  1. […] …but at first we could see no other amphibian activity. In fact, we were about to head back to the car when a movement caught my eye and I spotted at first one frog, then three of four and eventually I think about thirty. They were across the far side of the pool and so not as easy to photograph as last year. […]

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