Sulham and Pangbourne AreaWalks in my local area just west of Reading. Autumn 2009
After a rather misleading forecast of only slowly lifting mist the bright sun prompted me to do a local walk, on well trodden paths. As I left the garden I was quite amazed to see a Hummingbird Hawkmoth feeding on a Viburnum bodnantense 'dawn' bush. The crocuses are still out but past their best.
Walking west through the houses I spotted what turned out to be the best blackthorn flowers I was to see.
The winter woods were good in the sunshine, but not an awful lot going on, not many flowers out either. I spotted only one small group of Lesser Celandines (Ranunculus ficaria), there will be plenty more to come.
Sulham Farm is a fine sight even in winter.
The hamlet of Sulham has a dozen or so old houses along one Lane, some of them thatched.
I then walked over the fields to Tidmarsh and then along the River Pang to Pangbourne. Here there is the unexpected sight of Highland cattle and a couple of pigs, this one enjoying the afternoon sunshine.
Here also was a good clump of snowdrops coming to the end of their season.
One tree had been taken over by cormorants, I saw four of them, threatening the health of the tree they perch on.
Great Crested Grebes (Podiceps cristatus) were staking out their territory on the Thames, and being quite noisy about it too.
My favourite house on this stretch of the Thames is over the river near Hardwick House.
I spotted one more wildflower, that I had not noticed on this stretch before, it is Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara).
Another welcome sign of Spring on the way are catkins, in this case alder catkins
Finally, a glimpse through the trees to my local stately home: Mapledurham House.