Wild @ Rivers - August/September 2017

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Diary Entry by Charmaine Cooper

Marjoram in flower

Herbs of Wild Basil and Marjoram are in full flower; their heady scent attracts several Butterflies to sip the sweet nectar. Pockets of these herbs are scattered in the orchard, meadow and scrub; their purple flowers are also sought by Bees and Hoverflies. The meadow’s flowers are fading and the most prominent wild flower now is the golden yellow flowers of the Sow Thistle with the occasional spike of Knapweed.


Butterflies are fewer this year; the rain and winds have not helped them but a few are still on the wing. A Speckled Wood Butterfly flutters through the scrub’s path before settling on a Blackberry bush to bask in the dappled sunlight filtering through the trees. Further into the scrub Gatekeeper Butterflies are resting on Hawthorn bushes enjoying the warmth of the sun on their bodies. The scrub is quiet, the birds are hiding and resting, the nesting period is over and they are now busy moulting their shabby feathers making them vulnerable to predators. A Shrew runs quickly across the path on the edge of the meadow briefly stopping in the grass before once again disappearing from view.


The orchard’s fruit trees are full of fruit, swelling slowly with the rain that seems to fall nearly every day, promising a bumper crop of apples. Footpaths weave through the trees and long grass allowing the enjoyment of the solitude the orchard offers in our busy lifestyles. Most of the wild flowers are finished; there is the occasional pink flower of the Red Clover amongst the drying seed heads of Knapweed and Scabious and once again a few yellow flowers of the Sow thistle. The birds are absent but there are signs that they have visited the orchard; the pecked fruit, broken snail shells and feathers all show life is going on but hidden from our view.

Spider Web

Deer slots indicate that Muntjac have passed through, their tiny hoof prints embedded in the dry mud on the footpath. Cobwebs adorn the trees on a particularly wet and damp morning, allowing the intricate design of the web to be studied. These cobwebs are usually invisible to the eye and catch on clothing as we pass through the vegetation or strands drift across our faces. Hawthorn bushes in the scrub are adorned with red berries and will provide a source of food for the wild birds during the coming autumn months.

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