Wild @ Rivers - July 2014

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Diary Entry by Charmaine Cooper

Burnett Moth

Across the orchard’s meadow butterflies can be seen fluttering and foraging. A Gatekeeper Butterfly settles on a Wild Marjoram plant and begins to sip nectar from the tiny tube shaped pink flowers that cluster together to form the large pink flower-head that typifies the plant. Several of the day flying Six-spot Burnet moths with their vivid red markings and black spots settle to feed on the same plant. Along the Meadow’s footpath a startled Green Woodpecker flies up flashing its colourful green and yellow plumage as it seeks cover in the scrub. The footpath and meadow are scattered with the pink flowers of the Common Centaury.

Before the heat of the day becomes intense a Fox takes an early morning stroll, crossing the footpath into the nursery scrub. Deeper into the dense foliage a Muntjac Deer is disturbed from its shelter; it quickly leaps up and is gone with barely a sound, only a soft rustle as it disturbs the grass.

Great Pied Hoverfly

In the orchard the volunteers work on the grass under the fruit trees as a Green Woodpecker searches on the footpath for ants. With a yelp it flies off into the nearby field. Beneath the fruit trees the green berries of the Lords-and-Ladies plant are developing, later to become scarlet red as they ripen.

After heavy rain and thunder have cleared away the Ringlet Butterflies are up and flying, enjoying the return of the hot sunshine. Gatekeeper Butterflies are mating in the meadow while Peacock and Small Skipper butterflies feed on the nectar rich Marjoram. Along the tree line birds are screeching and a Sparrowhawk appears above the meadow pursued by Crows and a Gull. Clutching something in its talons the Sparrowhawk twists and swoops away from its pursuers into a tree and vanishes from sight.

Ichneumon Wasp

In the orchard the Red Clover is visited by Bees and Six-spot Burnet moths. The lilac flower heads of the Field Scabious attract the attention of the Red Admiral Butterfly where it feeds for several minutes before flying off; later on in the season as the fruit ripens and falls this species of butterfly will enjoy eating the rotting fruit. Resting on a Blackberry leaf in the orchard’s hedgerow is a Great Pied Hoverfly. An Ichneumon Wasp suddenly darts across the foliage, settles briefly and is gone. Bumble Bees are buzzing amongst the wild flowers and the chirruping of Grasshoppers fills the air.

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