F#49: Frond

 

Someone emerged from hibernation too early! The deceptively mild weather earlier this week obviously tempted this little frond out from its winter sleep.

They don’t do so well in the snow, however- the usually shy insectivore was surprisingly eager to come inside to harass our spider population.

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F#40: Fernling

 

This weeks creature can be found in our shop!

A walk to the woods in the mud and rain might not be your idea of a perfect trip- but it’s necessary if you want to find one of these little specimens!

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The fernling: a creature that loves damp weather, and only likes to stretch its roots with a walk when there’s plenty of moisture about.

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This particular specimen wasn’t thrilled to be put in a jar- but due to their reclusiveness and expertise in hiding themselves away; the fernling is one of our least studied native woodland species.

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So, like it or not, he’ll be spending a couple of weeks in the SFI greenhouse, before I release him back to this spot.

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(This week’s creature report was written by Keeley Claremont, SFI botanist)

F#36: Phoot

Bird feeders watch out! The Phoot is about- and it’s stocking up for the winter!

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During October and November, the phoot consumes nearly three times its body weight DAILY, in preparation for its hibernation from December to march.

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It’s during this time of feasting that you can best hear the distinctive call that gives it its name: ffff-oot! ffff-oot!

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So consider putting extra on your bird table this year- to give the birds a chance.

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F#32: Woodsprites

(This creature is available for adoption on etsy!)

Woodsprites are there all year round, but it’s in the autumn that their population explodes. That’s when it’s time to gather them up from the overpopulated woods, and spread them out a bit.

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They may be curious and playful, but they aren’t the smartest creatures, and need a hand so that their habitats don’t get crowded out.

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Sprites are gentle nature spirits, and like to spend their time exploring, eating and sleeping. The live on a diet of tree bark, sap and nuts and berries.

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No two sprites look the same, with their own individual markings and features- though some of these do crop up more than others.

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Sprites make for affectionate companions, and will happily adjust to house and garden living.

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They like having new places to explore!

 

 

 

 

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F#31: The Eyes

We took a walk along the coast not far out of Revery to investgate a report of a beached kraken, only to find an empty beach- and something watching us.

Nobody can agree on what the eyes actually are. No one has ever caught one, or touched one- those who have tried have gone mad.

Several religions have claimed them as angels, spirits, prophets and omens. If you get close enough to one, you will hear it whisper- but no one can agree on what the eyes tell them, either. People have heard prophecies, dark secrets, horrifying truths and beautiful lies, the meaning of existence.

What we do know, is that the eyes like to hang out in liminal spaces: empty car parks, petrol stations, abandoned buildings, waiting rooms…

And they watch, and they whisper, and we don’t know why.

F#27: Silkwing

Sometimes called ‘cloud mouse’ or ‘false dragon’, the silkwing is delicate creature that is often romantically described as ‘travelling with the winds’.

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As autumn arrives, you’ll see silkwings far more often in the skies along the coast. They’ve flown in from the inland meadows where the spend the summer; riding the strong winds to wheel and gather in flocks of tens to hundreds strong. IMG_5657

Come early October, after a month of socializing and cementing strong flock relationships,  the silkwings migrate to winter in the southern hemisphere.

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Goodbye ’til next summer, cloud mouse.

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Archive23: The Knucker Hole Dragon

This summer may be full of weird cult activity and necromancer shennanigans, but the Seaflower Institute still has normal work to do.

Well, comparatively normal, I mean. Like, going to check up on an ancient dragon. That kind of normal.

The village of Lyminster in West Sussex is home to Knucker Hole, a supposedly bottomless blue pool. It was in this pool, the legend goes, that the Knucker lived; a fearsome dragon that tormented the local villages, until it was eventually slain- either by a knight in the traditional fashion, or a cunning baker via a poisoned pie.

Lyminster Church stained glass window depiction the slaying of the Knucker Hole monster


More likely, the dragon activity subsided due to the dragons hibernation cycle, which typically involves napping for a few hundred years.


Aerial view of the hole- thanks google!


We like to keep an eye on the Knucker, so every five years or so, someone goes to check its still alive- and this time it was me and Jesper’s turn. So, armed with dragon repellent and welly boots, we ventured to sussex.

The farmers whose livestock graze in the surrounding fields are certainly taking no chances- as Jesper found out when he accidentally touched the stock fencing.

The pool is pretty secure behind a high gate and barbed wire-topped fence. We were let in, and stood at the edge of the water like two clueless kids on the doorstep of an ancient monster.


One living dragon? Check. Lets not do that again.

F#25: Devilmite

I was eating breakfast when I heard it: a rustling in the pantry. Best case scenario: it was a foraging venomstriker; worst case scenario: I had mice.

Turns out, it wasn’t either of those: when I opened the cuboard; armed with a glass and a roll of newspaper, I found this little guy:

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This is a devilmite, so named for its horned appearance and tendency to steal food. (i.e. Begone, devilmite!)

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It was obviously used to people, and didn’t make a fuss when I took it outside- it even stuck around to suss me out, before scooting over the wall next door (A bakery, where it will probably decimate their stock. Oops.)

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