Saturday 24 December 2011

Winter pictures from the river bank

In summer, the countryside is full of colour and there is much to catch the photographer's eye. At the time of the Winter Solstice the days are so short and the weather so cold that it is easy to miss the subtle things that are going on in the natural world. Today our guest blogger is Tamsin, who learnt about Transition from the initiative in Nayland where she lives, and has been out with her camera along the river Stour that runs through the village JH.

The river in a dormant state. On the bank you can see piles of weeds and bulrushes, recently cleared from the river and left to decay on the banks. It's hard to believe that by summer this stretch of the river will be so full of plants that only a very narrow channel, just wide enough for a canoe, is left.

The leaves have fallen from the trees to return nutrients to the soil and growth all but stops

A teasel seed head. After the seeds have formed in autumn the plant starts to die, but the dried stems and seed heads will still be around all winter

Dead and decaying wood provides a home for a wide variety of saproxylic (deadwood-dependent) organisms including fungi, lichens, invertebrates, mosses and birds

A dead female stag beetle, found earlier in the year and normally kept on my mantlepiece. I've photographed it here on a log, where it would have spent it's larval stage (which may last up to five years) feeding in rotting tree stumps. Sadly, stag beetles are a threatened species, partly due to the loss of dead wood habitats Tamsin Preston

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