Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)
In early spring leafless purple stems bearing scale-leaves appear from the heavy clay or gravel ground by the rivers and on wastelands. In a matter of a couple sunny days they stretch up in length and the tip buds open up in yellow flowers resembling dandelions or daisies. The leaves appear in late spring.
If you kneel down and smell the flower, you will immediately feel its herbal fragrance. By no coincidence coltsfoot has once been used in unconventional medicine as a popular remedy for cough.
The very name tussilago from Latin tussis, meaning cough, and ago to act, speaks for itself. Whole flowerstems were cut up and put in honey to produce a syrup for cough, cold and other diseases.
The plant usually grows in large colonies on heavy, greasy and moist clay soils by the rivers and on wastelands in Europe and in north-west Asia. It is believed to be a pioneer plant which with its roots and rhizomes prepares the soil for the introduction of new plants.
Birds - one of the most awaited harbringers of spring. Bird watchers are all with their heads in the clouds. They are on the look for geese, storks, cranes or swallows to name just some of the more representative winged spring guests. As winters in Poland tend to become lighter and warmer every year, the showy cranes and emblematic storks often decide to stay in the country. I have my personal harbringer of spring which shows up in my garden every spring. The black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius). This red-hooded black bird the size of a rook is the biggest of woodpeckers living in Poland. As most of the woodpeckers it feeds on insects and their larvae by penetrating the bark and making holes in the trunks of both dead and living trees. Sometimes it makes a lot of noise by hammering into trees with its hard beak which is also part of the process of marking its territory. The bird can cling to and walk up the trunk thanks to its large clawed toes and stiff tail feathers which act like a prop. The male has a large red cap on its head ranging from the front to the back of the head while the female can be recognized by a much smaller red spot on the back.
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Male black woodpecker feeding on a dead birch tree
Female woodpecker feeding on a blooming maple tree
POLAND FOR BEGINNERS
Hi! My name is Victoria. Welcome to my personal travel photoblog about Poland created especially for you, my foreign friends, who are curious about Poland!
English philologist and film editor by education. Translator by occupation. A lover of my motherland Poland and globetrotter with journalist ambitions. Passionate about photography. I love traveling, active way of spending time and contact with nature. Experience and explore - that is what drives me! I am on the look for happy islands.