Oscar Dewhurst – Canada Goose

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) swimming across a misty pond. Richmond Park, London

Oscar writes: this was taken earlier in the summer in Richmond Park, when there was a thick layer of mist over the pen ponds. There hadn’t been much deer activity, so I had a look on the ponds for any birds I could photograph before the mist burnt off, and luckily the flock of Canada Geese that roosts overnight hadn’t yet left. As the sun came up over the trees it lit up this lone bird that was swimming through the calm water.

Nikon D800, Nikon 400mm f/2.8 VR lens


Wild food (24) – Wood Sorrel by Ian Carter

This small, delicate plant is easy to overlook with its diminutive stature and uniform pale-green colour, but once you start looking out for it you will start to notice it everywhere. The trifoliate, heart-shaped leaves can be found throughout the year in a wide range of habitats, though it is less common (and less palatable – a bit tougher) during the winter months. Occasionally they carpet small areas of ancient woodland and when they produce their delicately-lined white flowers – often around Easter – they make an impressive sight.

Closely-related plants in North America are known as ‘sour grass’ and that gives a clue to the taste. The small leaves have a surprisingly strong, sharp tang to them, not unlike lemons though not so overpowering – more likely to induce a slight wince than a screwed-up face.
I’ve never been more adventurous than to graze on the leaves during a walk but you could use them in salads to spice them up a bit, or even try adding them to more savoury dishes to enhance the flavour. The leaves are high in vitamin C but, as suggested by the generic name ‘Oxalis’, they also contain oxalic acid so it is best not to overindulge.


Tim Melling – A Butterfly Mystery

Tim writes: Clouded Yellows (Colias crocea) have a small proportion of females that have a white ground colour instead of yellow, and this form is known as helice. This is one such female but there is a problem, as this isn’t a Clouded Yellow. This is an African Clouded Yellow (Colias electo) photographed in Ethiopia where Clouded Yellow does not occur. But this is a white female form, and all the other female African Clouded Yellows I saw were typical yellow-coloured. If this was a Clouded Yellow the form would be helice, but as this is an African Clouded Yellow it must have a different name. But I cannot find any reference to it on the internet. Can anyone help?

Taken with Nikon D500 and Nikkor 300mm f4 lens with a 1.4x converter at f5.6 ISO 100 1/1250s


The photograph below shows a courting pair of African Clouded Yellows, with the typical yellow-coloured female on the left.  The female differs from the male in having spots in the wing border.

This was taken with a Nikon D500 with a 300mm f4 lens at f5.6 and a 1.4x converter 1/5000 at ISO 1600


An Unreliable History of Birdwatching (40) by Paul Thomas


Saturday cartoon by Ralph Underhill