Monday, 29 December 2014


There is only so much that can be written about water voles, otter poo and the occasional fungus, hence only 15 posts in the past year and the last one was over 2 months ago, so maybe the blog has run it's course.
If it has then perhaps one final post should include some of the subjects which, for whatever reason, never made into the blog:

Frog Orchids:
It's easy to think of orchids being exotic plants found in even more exotic places, yet 36 species of orchid can be found in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and most of them like the Bee Orchid, Lady Orchid and Monkey Orchid are impressive and exotic looking themselves.
Yet there are some which are hard to spot, even when stood next to them and this certainly applies to the Frog Orchid:

And it took a walk lead by orchid expert Peter Creed to Wendlebury Meadows in June 2013 to see them:

The Sloth of Berkshire:
Just Off the A34 on the way to Newbury, is the Living Rainforest (,a collection of glass houses which is home to over 700 species of plant, animal and insect and has been a popular destination when we lived in Reading and still is now we live in Abingdon.

A lot of the animals are rescued from inhumane conditions or have been found when wildlife traffickers have been caught, including this crocodile:
But the star of the rainforest is the sloth, which is surprisingly hard to find, unless it's at feeding time when it does actually move, even if it is somewhat slowly.

Dead Mans Fingers - in the garden!!
A popular subject of this blog has been fungus and several places have featured, including Wytham Woods, Burnham Beeches
But possibly the most impressive was found in our back garden:

Dead Mans Fingers isn't a rare fungus and is often found in woodland, but for one year only in 2011 it's fruiting bodies were evident next to a dead tree stump in our garden.

Barn Owl: 
Along the Ock it's common to see birds of prey - Red Kites are almost guaranteed, as is the kestrel hunting above the meadows and buzzards also nest nearby.
But there is one bird that has been elusive and that are owls, yet in November 2010 a Barn Owl was seen hunting along the Ock - maybe after water voles.
Maybe it's the lack of suitable nest sites, but I haven't seen one since:

Since starting this blog in 2009, I have met many fantastic wildlife enthusiasts in person and on-line and writing this blog has allowed me to see things I never thought I would - hares, an extremely rare Great White Egret and perhaps best of all -  an otter and her two cubs.  Perhaps proving that an nondescript small river can hold some amazing secrets, if we look hard enough.

Maybe this blog will be resurrected if the blogging muse returns.  

Until then, I would like to thank every one who left one of the 521 comments on the 328 posts.


  1. Hello. I hope you find your muse again. I am very grateful for the post on bee identification. Also very interested in the local orchids, having just read Jocelyn Brooke's book on the Military Orchid. All the best for 2015. Thanks again. Becky

  2. Hi Becky,

    I'm pleased you've found the blog useful.

    If you're interested in local orchids I would recommend the following booklet by Peter Creed:

    And if manage to see a lizard or ghost orchid, I may blog about it.


  3. We've enjoyed your blog and lovely photos for several years.It's inspired us to go out and seek water voles on the Ock too, allbeit getting only a few fleeting glimpses.
    Thanks Beryl

  4. Always enjoyed your posts...thanks for all the wonderful info you have shared over the years.


  5. Hi Martin,
    It's hard to believe that this blog has been running for nearly 6 years and thank you very much for all your comments during this period, the blog has nearly dried up several times and thanks to comments from people like you that has kept it going for so long.


  6. Hi Beryl,
    Thank you very much for your comment and I'm pleased that the blog has inspired you to get out and explore the Ock and I'm impressed you've seen a water vole - it tool me several years to see my first.
    Hopefully the weather will get warmer soon and the river levels will fall and the water voles will reappear.

  7. Thank you very much for your posts, they have been much appreciated. Like Beryl, they inspired us to explore the further reaches of the Ock. We live in north Abg and tend to walk off in the other direction :)

    Best wishes, David