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Silent Valley

Sunday 16th September 2001, Austria

black squirrelA BLACK SQUIRREL, lighter in build than our introduced Grey, hops across the road and starts to climb a birch.

cyclamen Cyclamen (right) is in flower in shady woodlands.

In the marshy area at the far end of the lake near the naturists' beach (no sign of any nudists on this cool rainy day) Grass of Parnassus grows amongst the bellflower and tall scabious.

We stop for goulash soup at the Jausenstation Berger, a country pub at the hamlet of Eggmülhe then follow the clear, fast-flowing stream up past the watermill into Stille Tal, the 'silent valley'.

Herb Paris grows on a woodland edge bank. Each plant has a single blue-violet fruit that looks a bit like a cape gooseberry, with it's folded back sepals. Four oval leaves grow from a single stem.

bellflower?They are growing amongst a plant that looks, to me, like a smaller version of our garden plant, Solomon's Seal, but it has blue-purple flowers growing in twos along it's curving stem. My sketch is incorrect; the leaves had parallel veins (see below).

wren Wrens are busy in the undergrowth. One sits on a pile of brashings; wrens love a wood pile. A Jay lands on a patch of rough grass. During the holiday we see more nutcrackers than page

Swallow-leaved Gentian

Copyright PlantExplorers.comVal Campion, of, tells me that 'the elegant plant with blue gentian-like flowers looks to me like Schwalbenwurz Enzian, (Gentiana asclepiadea) usually known as Swallow leaved Gentian in English, though of course it is not native to this country.' She came across this page in my diary 'whilst browsing for information on the Black Squirrel, of which we have several in our garden here in Hitchin, Herts.'

The photograph of this species, also known as Willow Gentian, is from, The Van Dusen Seed Collectors' Store.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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