The morning was quite bright and rain was not forcast to the afternoon so I decided to pay a visit to my regular haunt, Coombes Dale.
On the way it was pleasant to see all the dafodils in flower on the verges and Prunus trees flowering in peoples front gardens (most being the flowering almond and plums I suspect as the cherries are not yet due) and quite a few early rhododendrons.
I had not gone far up the entrance lane to the dale when I had need of my SLR camera only to find the battery was flat, teach me to keep it charged up in future! I went back to the car and dropped it off with the macro lens so I would at least benefit from the lighter load in my backpack. Now I would see just how the Sony (HX400v) bridge coped (which hitherto had not overly impressed me). In order to get the macro shots I fitted the Raynox 250 to the lens via a step up filter (plumbers might think of this as a 43mm male to 55mm female 'iron' in this case plastic). This is much better than the clip on thing that comes with the Raynox. It works by letting you get close up to the subject with the zoom right out the longer the telephoto the more the magnification and unfortuneately the nearer to impossible to get a steady handheld shot! That said I was not overly dissappointed with these shots it produced on a windy day handheld with shaking freezing cold hands! To compensate I put it into shutter priority mode and set it sky high at least 1600th of second or higher if I could afford it but later I found I needed to switch to manual mode to have full control over exposure. I also set the ISO high 1600 some at 3200.
Left: Another shot of the same Ash showing the girdle scars and the almost circular leaf scars. Buds are opposite each other on Ash.
Right: interesting effect when you have not extended the zoom, you see the rim of the Raynox lens as a porthole effect. This was looking at how far on the Elder was. Well into leaf, its always one of the earliest here.
Left: now zooming out for a closer shot showing the bud scales and leaf scars (and lenticels in the bark).
Below the Hazel pink female stigmas. On this tree the (male) catkins were dry and brown and presumably finished pollen shedding and now the female flowers were in abundance emerging from nearly every bud on some twigs sometimes in groups of two or three. You also see other trees where the catkins are still at their best or small and not yet open. Its likely this helps to prevent self fertilization as I found it hard to spot any female flowers on trees when the catkins were in flower.
Right: dried male catkins and fresh female flowers at the top.
Right: Spiky fruits remaining on a what I suspect to be Lesser Burdock.
Right: Bud of Horse Chestnut with its big leaf scar like the claw of a huge bird of prey! The big waxy bud scales will remain folded back when the leaves emerge later.
Below the water made the tree glisten quite beautifully but this was hard to capture on camera.
Right: Pretty sure that this is Jews Ear fungus Auricularia auricula-judae
Right: No idea what this fungi is yet. It was growing vertically on old ash tree bark.
Plant growing on vertical limestone outcrop that I discovered last year on flowering to be Meadow Saxifrage. It soon dried up and withered in the summer and I thought that was the last of it, a chance bird sown occurance in a very unsual location for it but here it is again, the same plant. Could it be that this is an 'alpine' mutation?