Horse Chestnuts - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Horse Chestnuts

There’s something of the Medieval torture instrument about conkers. There’s that casing which looks as if it should be attached to a …

Waxcaps - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Waxcaps

Waxcap fungi thrive on damp, ‘unimproved’ grassland, or rather grassland which hasn’t be ruined by artificial fertiliser or herbicides. A trip to …

Challacombe Farm - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Challacombe Farm

Challacombe Farm is on Dartmoor. It’s part of the 135,000 acres owned by the Duchy of Cornwall to the benefit of Charles …

Dusky Puffball - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Dusky Puffballs at Emsworthy Mire

There’s time for a quick trip to Emsworthy Mire on Dartmoor and I’m delighted with the Dusky Puffballs there. Their scientific name …

Challacombe Farm - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Challacombe Farm

Being delicious to humans has been one of the most successful evolutionary strategies of recent times. Farm animals now outweigh wild ones, …

Chestnuts - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Castanea

I’m walking through the woods when I see Chestnut leaves. There’s also a fresh empty burr. Where did the chestnuts go? Here …

Leccinum scabrum - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Brown Birch Boletes on Yarner Heath

While I’m searching for Parasitic Boletes I stumble across a Brown Birch Bolete. They’re lovely mushrooms. They have scaly stalks, small tubes …

Carrion Crow - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Carrion Carry On

There’s a Carrion Crown on the handrail of the small bridge across the canal. It’s a dark, iridescent blue against the dense …

Lycoperdon perlatum - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Devil’s Snuffbox

There are Puffballs in the woods. It’s that time of year. These look like the Common Puffball, Lycoperdon perlatum. They are covered …

Stover - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Beech, Alder and Chestnut

There are nuts and seeds and cones aplenty in the woods at this time of year. There are Beech nuts on the …

Grey Seal - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Have you seen a male Grey Seal?

The Grey Seals around Orkney are a classic combination of curious and wary. They are alternately fascinated by me and worried by …

Wheatear - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Wheatear

I’m flushing Wheaters with every walk and drive on Westray. There isn’t a path or a road which doesn’t have a wary …

Sanderling - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Sanderling #4

The Sanderlings of summer on Westray were a joy to get close to. Lying on the beach, keeping still, and watching them …

Sunset Westray - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Sunset over the waves

It’s sunset on Westray and I’ve abandoned the car on the grass and marched off to the sea. It’s magnificent in this …

Gannet - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Gannet on the water

I’m used to seeing Gannets flying at head height. Since their colonisation of Noup Head cliffs, their numbers have soared like a …

Rock Dove - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

You see a Pigeon

The weather in Orkney may be grey but it’s never dull. I’m waiting at Kirkwall harbour for the Westray ferry when I …

Barbed wire - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Barbed wire

There’s a letter pushed under my door. It says I may have power lines crossing my land and be eligible for compensation. …

Arctic Tern - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Attacked by Arctic Terns

I’m off for a walk on the Westray coast. Today I’m heading from Mae Sands to the Knowe o’ Skea. It’s not …

Einar - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Einar

My house is called Einar, just like the Viking Earl of Orkney mentioned in the Orkneyinga Saga. That’s because of a spelling …

Black Guillemot - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Black Guillemot

I’m on a day trip to the Mainland. That’s the mainland of Orkney. In the harbour at Scapa there’s a bird paddling …

Ringed Plover - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Ringed Plover

Ringed Plover are meant to breed on the coast. Human destruction of the environment means they now breed in gravel pits and …

Wrens - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Feeding the family

Being a baby bird means knowing when to keep your mouth open. Many have exaggerated gapes, decorated in bright colours to encourage …