Wild @ Rivers - June 2017

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Diary Entry by Charmaine Cooper


Comma Butterfly

After storms of wind and rain June fulfills its promise of heat and sunshine. The day begins to warm and Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and Ringlet Butterflies are on the wing enjoying the sunshine despite the breeze. Young Rabbits frolic in the orchard’s meadow while the adults keep a watchful eye for danger. Suddenly alerted, the Rabbits scatter and disappear into the orchard scrub. In the scrub Ox-eye daisies and Bee Orchids are flowering with a few Pyramidal Orchids along the footpaths. The Wild Strawberries in the scrub have fruited and their delicate small red fruits are tempting for the wildlife; for such a small fruit their flavour is distinctively strong.


Soldier Beetles

Meadow Brown Butterflies flutter over the tall grasses in the orchard while Magpies forage beneath the trees. Various Bees are feeding on the saucer shaped heads of the Cow Parsley alongside orange Soldier Beetles. On the banks of the ditch and within the scrub Black Horehound is flourishing, a plant with one distinctive feature; its pungent smell when crushed.


Meadow Flowers

The meadow is particularly beautiful at this time of year; there are so many Pyramidal Orchids flowering, their slender spikes of pink flowers varying in shades from pale to bright pink. Looking across the meadow the view is a sea of green interspersed with golden yellow from the Bird’s-foot Trefoil and the white flowers of the Ox-eye Daisies but there are other wildflowers hidden amongst their beauty. Closer to the earth these hidden gems are revealed; the striking Bee Orchid plant, its flower masquerading as a bee on a long stem, Black Medick with its tiny yellow flowers and its trefoil leaves jostling with the gold cup shaped flowers of the Buttercup. Growing among the Pyramidal Orchids is the tightly packed purple flower-heads of the Selfheal plant. Common Broomrape, White Clover and the pink and white trumpet shaped flower of the Field Bindweed can be found.


Large Skipper

A wildflower often overlooked is the Ribbed Plantain with its dark flower tipped spike and tiny white sepals. Within the meadow’s grass Yellow Rattle has bloomed and has begun to form its distinctive seed pods that later on in the summer will dry and rattle when shaken. The tall yellow spikes of the Melilot plant grows along the edge of the meadow where the Large Skipper Butterfly rest briefly before dashing off to settle on a leaf. Red Clover, both in the meadow and orchard, is visited by hungry Bees seeking the sweet nectar. Deep within the grass the sounds of Grasshoppers and Crickets complete the beautiful sights and sound of summer and floating softly over all this are numerous Marbled White Butterflies. It has been the best season ever for this beautiful black and white butterfly. It seeks its favourite food plant of Knapweed which is beginning to open and display its purple flower-heads but it is not a fussy Butterfly and will be attracted to any purple flower. Its larvae will feed on a variety of grasses particularly Fescue and the adult is attracted by the tall grasses that the meadow and orchard offer.


Bee Orchid

Meadow Flowers

Broomrape

Pyramidal Orchids

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