Thursday 16 April 2015

Stonehill Down and Creech Wood, Dorset.

As mentioned on my last blog post, on Sunday I visited a site in Dorset looking for Toothwort and that site was Stonehill Down, a Dorset Wildlife Trust reserve near Corfe Castle. The path up to the down goes through a small coppiced woodland, known as Creech Wood. What a fabulous woodland it is, the woodland floor was carpeted with Ramsons (not yet in flower unfortunately) and Dog's Mercury, with other woodland flowers also occurring in profusion.

The view from the top of the down looking north east towards Poole Harbour was spectacular.

Creech Wood.
 A lovely example of an ancient coppice.


The plant I went to see, Toothwort.
 A bizarre looking plant lacking any chlorophyll, giving it a pale and ghostly appearance, it is sometimes known as 'corpse flower'. It is parasitic on the roots of several trees and shrubs most commonly hazel.

It comes in various shades of cream, pink and purple, some very pale like this one.

..And this one. 

A nice back-lit one.
Some are quite a bit more colourful too. 

Toothwort - Lathraea squamaria

Wood Anemone - Anemone nemorosa

Early Dog-violet - Viola reichenbachiana

Moschatel - Adoxa moschatellina
Sometimes called 'Town Hall Clock' due to its unusual four sided flowers with another flower on the top, it's also sometimes called 'five-faced bishop' apparently.

I think they've seen me!

I was out on Salcombe Hill again this morning. It was pretty quiet on the whole but I saw another two Wheatears in the usual field. Heard my first Common Whitethroat and saw a Red Kite fly over Sidmouth to the west. There were a few Swallows flying in off too.

A very 'peachy' male Wheatear.

Distant Red Kite 

This Swallow was singing his head off. Celebrating his arrival I like to imagine!

This stopped me in my tracks for a few moments until I got my bins onto it...

... 'Phantom of the opera' Blackbird!


Wilma said...

Love the spring flowers here and in the previous post. And also the swallow photo. That blackbird was quite a puzzle.

Ian Andrews said...

Lovely pics as usual; particularly like the "Town Hall Clock"