Diary Notes 2004
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450th plant added today (Spergularia rupicola) and there are probably 10 or so more which could be added. I actually have photos of about 30 more but some are so awful that even Photoshop won't rescue them. I have been experimenting with thumbnail indexes but I will keep the word-only ones as well because of the loading problems for people with slow connections.
There aren't too many plants I can add to the site from the library of photos now but it should get close to 450 (435 at present) before I run out. I am currently reviewing each page as many of them aren't consistent with modern Web standards having been built using the wretched Front Page 2003.
To my great delight I found some old 35mm slides of flowers which I had taken in 1978 when we lived in Cambridgeshire. Scanning them at home hasn't resulted in very good pictures but I will see if professional digitisation can do any better. There are one or two of flowers which I do not have in my collection so although it isn't a very good photo, I have put Primula elatior on the site.
The total number of plant photos now exceeds 400 with a few reasonable ones still left to add. I was trying to think of a Winter plant which I should add to the site and it should have been obvious as we approach Christmas. I had no photo of Mistletoe (Viscum album). Found a tree not far from here in North Wales which was full of Viscum album but all out of reach. However by stretching up high and taking about ten shots I managed to get one which wasn't too bad and is now on site.
I've added a scenery index to the home page so that I can put some of the photos of places or of large groups of flowers which don't fit into the rest of the site. This is a sort of miscellaneous photos section. Finished the November additions and I count 104 additions made from my photo library. I'll probably run out before winter's over but not yet. 370 plus photos of plants on site now.
Not added too many flowers photos recently but as you, dear reader may have noticed, my photos aren't a patch on those on sites whose photographers are (a) experienced and (b) have a decent camera. Before the next major flowering season starts in February with Eranthis hyemalis (Winter Aconite), Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrop) and Gagea bohemica (Early Star of Bethlehem) must get a better camera. My faithful 3.1 Megapixel Olympus won't focus closer than 20 cm and I lose too much definition when cropping for little flowers.
So what camera to get?
I'm thinking of the Nikon 8800 with its anti-vibration system or the Nikon D70 SLR although dust on the CCD when you change lenses is a worry.
Anybody out there with any experience/knowledge?? Contact me at PeterJL@foxfield.plus.com
Added quite a few more plants to pass the 350 mark for the site. Improved the picture for Cryptogramma crispa. Plans laid for visits to The Burren in Ireland next May and possibly a one-day trip (cheap flight) to Guernsey to see the Spring Flowers.
Added quite a few more plants in these last few days so the total is now 330 plants.
I now have a DVD of Clive Stace's interactive flora of the British Isles. What an ambitious work this is. Not only are there descriptions of approx 3,500 plants including introduced species and garden escapes but there are photos of most as well. Many of the photos are obviously scanned and aren't anywhere near as good as the output from even a moderate digital camera but some are OK and it is very useful to have colour pictures of difficult groups like Euphrasia and Cotoneasters. It is excellent to have such a reference work to hand on the computer while I'm adding plants to the site.
The other slight disappointments are that he still doesn't give flowering periods for most plants, has omitted the rarity status which is in both editions of his book and for me, there are too many photos of British Plants which were not taken in he British Isles.
Very occasionally I do that too of course but it feels like cheating.
Only added a few plants lately as I've been revising the individual plant pages.
Finished revising all the indexes now and added a newly photographed plant today. Petasites fragrans is one of the very few genuinely winter flowering plants as opposed to plants continuing to flower having started in the summer months. The one seen here in Cheshire are quite early as it usually flowers in December.
Added five common grasses today to make the total British Isles collection pass the 300 mark.
Added eleven new photos today the most added in one day for some time.
Added a few more plants including a very sumptuous looking Geranium Rubscens (Greater Herb Robert) and discovered that www.ukwildflowers.com is now listed in Google, Excite, Yahoo, and Ask Jeeves at long last.
More messing with formatting the pages. You won't see much of a result but many of the pages are being reformatted so they work with a larger range of browsers and conform better to Web standards. Added a photo of Lagurus ovatus (Hare's-tail grass).
Messed about with index formatting with the expert help of my son John. The main indexes look much better now and you can navigate around them by letter.
Added Saponaria officinalis (Soapwort), Saxifraga tridactylites (Rue-leaved Saxifrage) and Saxifraga granulata (Meadow Saxifrage). That completes the photos of saxifrages which I have until next season.
Added Impatiens glandulifera (Indian Balsam), Viola arvensis (Field pansy) and the fungus Lycperdon perlatum (Common Puffball) today and continued my last week hunt for the WFS - 121 plants seen in flower so far this last week of October.
Continued last week hunt from yesterday where we found 11 plants in flower at Wanlockhead the highest village in Scotland. Today with Heather's help I found 85 plants in flower on the Great Orme in North Wales and have added new photos showing both fruit sand flowers of Arbutus unedo (Strawberry tree) and Lapsana communis ssp intemedia (introduced perennial Nipplewort).
Finished adding butterflies (20 photos).
Added quite a few more butterfly photos today - only a couple left now.
Added a few more holiday snaps of orchids - I'd forgotten how many good plants we saw in our Spring jaunt to Cyprus.
Added Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare) today but spent much time setting up a secure wireless Internet network so we can all surf at once at home. Added the grasses index at last - not that I've got many photos on the site. Also I've decided to add an index of the few foreign plants which I've not only photographed but positively identified. Only about 50% of what I see abroad can I name but this year's holiday in Northern Cyprus was made easier by a visit to a herbarium
Too busy with other stuff to add much to the site but Cirsium arvense (Creeping Thistle) is now on.
Added Veronica scutellata (Marsh Speedwell) today which was the best find in Ireland but unfortunately isn't a good photo. Went for a walk in the Clwydian Hills today and took a few photos of late flowering plants including Carduus nutans (Nodding Thistle).
Preparing for a trip to Ireland so only one butterfly added today and nothing for the next two days.
Spent most of the day fetching a new car from Sheffield - the old one has done 253,000 miles worth of botanical and football trips and is still running. Added more butterfly photos to the site.
Weather rotten - added more butterflies.
The day started badly after heavy rain overnight and the prospect of more according to the forecast. They got it wrong and the late morning, all afternoon and evening turned out sunny. Tramped across Frodsham marshes today not having visited them for about ten years, and picked up various weeds plus a Large White butterfly posing conveniently on a Cirsium vulgare.
I had put an old plastic aquarium over a newly born Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric) to protect it from the birds but this morning there were holes in the cap just the same - I'm blaming the birds when it must be insects doing the boring and chewing of these fungi. Found two more species in the garden and I think I've identified one although Fungus identifications are a bit dodgy without a microscope to look at the spores. Added a few more plants to the wildflower section and one fungus.
Having sorted my photos of butterflies out today, I have started adding their photos to the site.
Went down south to watch Man City play Southampton (my winter hobby) and fortunately found ten or so flowering plants near my parking place. The photos of quite a few of these turned out OK even though they were taken in the rain. Just as well - the football was awful. Solanum dulcamara added to the site found on the banks of the River Itchen.
Spent some time hunting a decent field guide to fungi to try to identify the three I haven't identified which grow in our garden. Added two violets (V. odorata & V. tricolor ssp curtisii) to the site. Off to Southampton first thing tomorrow - hope to find some southern hangers-on near the River Itchen.
After quite a bit of wet weather I thought it would be a good idea to have a look for fungi in our garden which has an area of about one acre. There were seven species of which I could identify four and have put photos on the site.
29th September 2004
Dull but not raining so far, so I'll try the Wirral Peninsula today. Carlina vulgaris (Carline thistle) added to the site. Rain begins just as I leave.
The weather eventually dried out at Wirral and I added a dozen or so plant photos to the in-tray making 232 plants on the site with 199 waiting to be added. Specifically I went to find Equisetum x Trachyodon (Mackay's Horsetail) which grows here but I couldn't distinguish the plants I found from E. fluviatile (Water Horsetail). I found some superb fungi here - I think they were Lepiota procera (Parasol Mushrooms). If you go plant hunting you're bound to see fungi, mosses, liverworts, butterflies, birds and even small animals sometimes. I'm going to put any reasonable photos on the web too.
28th September 2004
A dull day this morning - hopeless for photography so I've put yet another plant (Galinsoga parviflora) on the site from our incredibly productive trip to Guernsey in June and there's still 20 photos left to add. Raining in the afternoon so I added Oenothera stricta, (Fragrant Evening-primrose) most photographs of which didn't turn out well because of the wind. Also I've added a photo of one of the tiniest and most delicate of the "pea plants" - Ornithopus perpusillus (Bird's-foot). The small photo shown is as large as I could get with my camera and magnifying lens attached.
27th September 2004
There are currently 227 plants on the site with 185 photos still to be added. I will try to add at least one per day during the Autumn and Winter. The Autumn is here now in the UK and although the weather is mild, there are few really special plants to find. During the Autumn and Winter I will take photos of common weeds and add a Weeds index. Strangely, winter isn't a bad time for many common weeds although few grasses are in flower. The biggest problem is that with poor light, the depth of field is small and too many photos have to be discarded.
Today I found an excellent Malva moschata (already on the site) which didn't seem to realise that summer is over.