Saturday, 28 May 2016


View of Todd's Pit from Visitor Centre
Todd's Pit - 15 September 2015

I have now documented Milton Country Park for just over a year. I started taking pictures of golden reeds in wintry sunshine in February 2015, and ended photographing frost etched vegetation in March 2016. After thirty nine posts, and over 200 images, it is time to look back over the last fourteen months.

This review of the year is organised in four sections which are roughly based on the perception of the seasons. One thing that this project has taught me is that the natural world does not neatly parcel itself up according to man-made divisions. These sections have fuzzy boundaries and their time frames overlap each other. For instance, I have included fruit in the autumn section even though a lot of it was ripe in August, when there was still a lot of summer flowers around.

I have split this review into two parts: in this post, spring and summer; in my next post, autumn and winter.


Cherry Plum Blossom
Cherry Plum Blossom - 23 March 2015

The main feature of spring was the successive waves of white tree blossom which engulfed the park. It started with the cherry plum and blackthorn, followed by apple, hawthorn, and elderflower. Herbaceous plants also contributed to the whitening of the park.  In particular, cow parsley at the northern end of the park; and jack-by-the-hedge and  comfrey in and around the woods at the southern extremity.  This is a time of rapid change.  None of the tree blossom lasted more than a week or two; and, at the same time, as the leaves came out on the trees, the park was transformed from brown to green in a matter of weeks.

Hawthorn bush in front of massed hawthorn blossom
Hawthorn Blossom - 20 May 2015


Yellow Irises - 26 May 2015

Summer is the time for summer flowers. It started with the yellow irises blossoming around the margins of the water and ended with the blooming of bulrushes and the reeds. At the start of the summer, rosebay willow herb made a prominent display on the banks of the 13th Public Drain alongside Remembrance Meadow. Later, as the yellow irises faded, their place at the water's edge was taken by purple loosestrife.  Other noticeable flowers included ragwort around the children's play area, the large white flowers of convolulus, and the purple water mint.  But there were also some big surprises, including a patch of poppies on the access road, and a single white orchid.

Rosebay Willow Herb - 30 June 2015
Next: Review 2

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Past Glories

It is now thirteen months since I started this blog, and have now published photographs of Milton Country Park throughout one full year. Before the start of this project, I had occasionally taken photographs in the park, but not on any systematic basis. I thought it would be a good idea to look back at some of these previous images and what had caught my eye.

Snow and Ice

Gulls standing on frozen pit with rime covered trees
Dickerson's Pit - 7 December 2010

The most notable feature of the year just gone was the complete lack of snow and ice. Such weather transforms the landscape and sends everyone, including myself, searching for their cameras to capture often magical scenes. This first image was taken in December 2010. A beautiful frosty scene with the ducks and gulls confined to a small area of clear water against a backdrop of trees glistening white with rime. A real contrast to the virtually identical picture from this winter which I published in my last post.

Ice covered with snow surrounded by golden reeds and bulrushes
Dickerson's Pit - 25 December 2010

A few days later and the snow came. This is the closest I have ever come to experiencing a white Christmas. On the day itself, the remains of previous snow falls are still lying on top of the ice surrounded by the flaming orange of reeds and willow bushes catching the winter sun.

After this last warm wet winter it is hard to imagine such scenes, and wonder if, with global warming, we shall see ever them again.


Toadstools and ivy growing at base of log
By Hall's Pond - 10 November 2011

A number of other things turned up in these old pictures that either were not there in the past twelve months or I simply missed them. One such absentee was fungi. In July 2011, I found these toadstools growing at the base of one of the many fallen logs in the park. I am reasonably certain that these were not there this last year as I am interested in the plant communities that grow in these place, and was always on the look out for the opportunity for capturing intimate landscapes of the flora.

Hall's Pond - 9 January 2007

Previously, in 2007, I had captured this fine specimen on the willow trees by Hall's Pond. In this case, I cannot be anything like so certain that I simply did not see them.

Loosestrife - Purple and Yellow


Stand of purple loosestrife catching the light
Hall's Pond - 31 July 2007


Plants come and go. Some of the variations in flora are simple annual fluctuations reflecting to the differences in weather between one year and the next. Other changes are more permanent, as one species becomes dominant and edges out other plants in the immediate area. This is probably the case with this stand of purple loosestrife on the east bank of Hall's Pond. There is still a lot of loosestrife in the park, and still some around Hall's Pond, but this particular clump has been overgrown with reeds.

Yellow loosestrife growing among reeds
Dickerson's Pit - 24 July 2007
In another area, purple loosetrife has edged out the yellow loosestrife that what growing there in 2006. I was never entirely happy with this picture, but will have to be satisfied as the yellow loosestrife appears to have gone for ever, replaced by its purple cousin and meadow sweet.

Next: Review