Mixed Up Seasons?  Good News and Thanks!

Saturday, August 8th 2015

We assume that during the summer flowers are in full bloom and that autumn is the time for fruits, seeds and fungi.  A recent blog has already shown Hawthorn, Rowan and Raspberry in fruit.

Walking around the reserve, there is a mixture of new flowers just blooming, some setting seeds, fruit and fungi.

This Shaggy Inkcap was growing by the path.  It has been eaten, probably by slugs.  By tomorrow it will look totally different, dripping black liquid from its reduced cap.

Shaggy Ink Cap

These Crab Apples are not favoured by many animals and are often still on the ground well into winter.  We were told during the Festival of Nature that this tree, at the head of the Scrapes, is a true wild Crab Apple and not a cultivar.

Wild Crab Apple

Teasels are just beginning to show their tiny purple petals around part of the flower head.  The flower is never totally purple, always just part of it.  This plant provides food for bees now and into autumn seeds for Goldfinches.

Teasel

Pepper Saxifrage is spreading around the reserve.  It was named by Nicholas Culpeper in the 17th century, who thought that the roots had a hot aromatic taste and smell and that the flowers were good  for breaking up stony deposits in the body, like other saxifrage flowers.  Hence its name!  It is not a saxifrage, it is not peppery but belongs to the Apiaceae family.  (Umbelliferae before its name was changed!)  It is in full flower but some plants are producing seeds.

Pepper Saxifrage flowers

Pepper Saxifrage seeds.

Seeds of Pepper Saxifrage

So the seasons are not mixed up, just the cycle of life proceeding as it always does.

Some volunteers attended a course this morning about Pillwort, a fern, growing on the wetland, which has been mentioned on the blog in June this year.  This rare aquatic fern likes to grow on the edges of ponds, where there is mud and it enjoys cattle walking over it.  It does not like competition from other plants. 

Our wetland is a very special and fantastic habitat.  All the hard work of strimming, thistle pulling and cattle grazing is ensuring that it remains in excellent condition.

wetland

Our Treasurer has spent much of today counting coins from the Festival of Nature weekend.  A huge thank you to him for balancing the books!

The cafeteria raised £612.59, the raffle made over £400, whilst the entry tickets made £440.70.  This could only have been achieved by the hard work of the volunteers, a very special band of people with a multitude of skills.  Before the weekend paths were strimmed, overgrown plants were cut back, raffle prizes were sought, raffle tickets sold, displays organised, food collected, to name but a few of the tasks carried out.  During the weekend baking was done, children pond dipped and hunted for mini beasts,  dragonflies, damselflies, moths and butterflies were all recorded, not forgetting birds and fungi.  Visiting naturalists supported us throughout as did the bee keepers. Volunteers greeted visitors and made them feel welcome and showed them around ensuring everyone had a good time.

A huge thank you to everyone who helped prepare - and to the visitors.


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