The Unexpected

Thursday, August 1st 2013

The last day of the month saw the flower walk being carried out.  The Scrapes was the starting  point and not far along the boardwalk a flower had to be checked.

Checking the ID of a flower

Flowers are still bursting their buds and Fleabane, Gipsywort and Hemp Agrimony were added to the list today.  A total of 48 different species of flower was found in the Scrapes area.  The walk continued to the Obstacle Course path where Red Bartsia was growing.  Many flower heads of Ragwort were seen, several sporting their black and yellow companions - the Cinnabar Moth caterpillar.  Bees were also feeding from these flowers and this one, rather large, did not take kindly to the camera so close, so a middle leg warning!

Bee on Ragwort 

Last year Weld and Wild Parsnip grew in this area but close inspection revealed not a single flower head.  Too early?  By the Bullet Catcher pond yet more discussion over Hogweed and Angelica took place.  This is the only area on the reserve where Hogweed can be found.  

Walking through the tall undergrowth a butterfly was spotted - Small Tortoiseshell.  Then it flew back again and  landed, so a closer look was possible.  No, not a tortoiseshell but a Painted Lady.  Enthusiasm had to be curbed until a positive ID was confirmed, over a cup of tea, back at the Field Centre. 

Painted Lady

Yet more unexpected sightings included Pepper Saxifrage growing along the access road, a Dryad's Saddle which is still growing and a very large queen White Tailed Bumble Bee.  And finally the Cotton Grass in the Scrapes is over, so had not made it onto today's list.  However on the wetland it was still in flower.

Cotton Grass on the wetland

Thank you to all the volunteers who carried out a variety of tasks today including the flower walk, identifying over 30 species of moth, raked some of the meadows and oiled the mist net poles (the bird ringers will be very grateful for this).

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