Thursday, 4 May 2017

Butterfly Yearlisting

This year as well as a 'little bit of botanising' I'm hoping to see and photograph all the British butterfly species, which will include three lifers, possibly more if I'm lucky enough to see any rare migrants. You never know! Andy's an old hand at it having seen all the species for several years in a row, so I'm in the best company. We've got off to a flying start too with 25 species 'in the bag' by the end of April. Here's a list of them with dates and locations.

1. Comma                                15th March Brockenhurst New Forest

2. Peacock                                15th March Beaulieu New Forest

3. Red Admiral                         15th March Wareham Foreset Dorset

4. Small Tortoisehell                15th March Wareham Forest Dorset

5. Small White                         25th March Dunscombe East Devon

6. Brimstone                             26th March Harpford Common East Devon

7. Green Veined White             28th March Wretton Cut Off Norfolk

8. Speckled Wood                     2nd April Ballard Down Dorset

9. Holly Blue                            2nd April Ballard Down Dorset

10. Small Copper                      2nd April Ballard Down Dorset

11. Orange Tip                          2nd April Ballard Dowm Dorset

12. Green Hairstreak                 11th April Ballard Down Dorset

13. Grizzled Skipper                 11th April Cotley Hill Wiltshire

14. Painted Lady                       11th April Cotley Hill Wiltshire

15. Wall Brown                         18th April Kynance Cove Cornwall

16. Clouded Yellow                   19th April Seaton Cornwall

17. Pearl-bordered Fritillary      19th April Ramshorn Down Devon

18. Large White                         19th April Ramshorn Down Devon

19. Small Blue                            22nd April Bottomcombe Portland Dorset

20. Duke of Burgundy                23rd April Noar Hill Hampshire

21. Dingy Skipper                       23rd April Noar Hill Hampshire

22. Wood White                          26th April Branscombe East Devon

23. Common Blue                       26th April Branscombe East Devon

24. Small Heath                           29th April Wretton Cut Off Norfolk

25. Brown Argus                         29th April Wretton Cut Off Norfolk

I haven't photographed all of them, but here's a few that I have got so far.

 Clouded Yellow

Dingy Skipper 

Duke of Burgundy

Small Blue

 Green-veined White

Grizzled Skipper

Orange Tip

Small Copper

Small White

 Speckled Wood

Wood White

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Spring Botanising

I've been so busy out botanising and looking for butterflies that I haven't had time to blog about it. Trouble is the weather's been so good and it's a shame to waste it by sitting at home on the computer. So this will be a bit of a catch up post featuring all the botanising we've been doing so far this year. Next there will be one on butterflies, hopefully tomorrow.

East Anglia

At the end of March we spent a couple of days in Norfolk and Suffolk, mainly looking for early Breckland specialties.

 Wild Grape Hyacinth.
 These are smaller and darker than the garden variety and are surprisingly easy to miss in the long grass. As they are such a dark colour they do look a bit more like grapes than the bright blue garden form. It was foggy and wet when I took the first picture below but we returned to see them again a bit later when the sun came out (second photo). I think they look just as good in both!

Grape Hyacinth - Muscari neglectum

I thought this branch looked like a weasel. It does, doesn't it? Or is it just me?! 

Oregon Grape - Mahonia aquifolium 
Naturalised and doing rather too well in the Brecks.

Cypress Spurge - Euphorbia cyparissias

White Comfrey - Symphytum orientale

Breckland Speedwell - Veronica praecox 

Fingered Speedwell - Veronica triphyllos

Yellow Star of Bethlehem - Gagea lutea


Early in April we spent the day in the Cotswolds and visited North Meadow in Cricklade, Wiltshire on the way there to see the spectacular display of fritillaries.

We visited Barnsley Warren to see the Pasqueflowers at there best as we were a bit early last year. 

  Pasque Flower - Pulsatilla vulgaris

Cotswold Pennycress - Thlaspi perfoliatum 

We re-visited the site where we saw this plant last year, hoping that the better weather this spring would mean there would be more plants and they may be bigger too. They weren't, we only found five tiny plants in the same spot as last year.

Snake's Head Fritillary - Fritillaria meleagris


Last week we spent a couple of days in Cornwall mostly on The Lizard where we caught up with of few of its early spring specialties.

Purple Ramping-fumitory - Fumaria purpurea
 This one not on the Lizard but worth making a detour for on the way.

Flattened on the kerbs and verges around the village green car park and looking a bit worse for wear were many plants of the rare casual Pink Shepherd's Purse.

Pink Shepherd's Purse - Capsella rubella

 Common Scurvygrass - Cochlearia officinalis

The very aptly named Hairy Greenweed.
Even the flowers are hairy!

Hairy Greenweed - Genista pilosa

Spring Sandwort - Minuartia verna

The Spring Squill can only be described as rampant! 

Spring Squill - Scilla verna

We thought we might have trouble finding Western Clover but it was quite easy to see in certain spots 

Western Clover - Trifolium occidentale  

Western Clover and Spring Squill 

Three-lobed Water-crowfoot - Ranunculus tripartitus  

Garston Wood, Dorset 

A beautiful  almost white Bluebell suffused with pale blue.

A clump of extraordinarily deep pink Wood Anemones.

Goldilocks Buttercup - Ranunculus auricomus


Solomon's Seal - Polygonatum multiflorum 

Blashford Lakes Hampshire 

We popped in here on the way home from Noar Hill on Sunday especially to look for this diminutive plant. We'd seen it before on the Somerset coast but not in flower. There were hundreds of plants at this location and many were in flower. Getting a photo wasn't at all easy!

Sea Stork's-bill Erodium maritimum

Finally, somewhere in North Dorset, a stunning little orchid which was discovered last year. It is believed to most probably be a hybrid of Fly Orchid and Woodcock Orchid. Though how it came to be in Dorset is a mystery as Woodcock Orchid doesn't occur in the UK. Looks quite like the Bee x Fly Orchid but is much smaller with flowers a similar size to Fly Orchid.

 Putative Ophrys x nelsonii (O.scolpax x O.insectifera)