Friday, 3 July 2015

Inverts and Wildflowers on Portland and Berry Head

As promised here's a blog post not entirely about plants. Earlier this week I went to Portland with Dave and Hazel to look for Silver-studded Blues. We get these much closer to home on the East Devon Commons but the ones on Portland are thought by some to be a different race. We were going to have a look to see if they looked any different to us. The answer to that is yes, they seemed to be a bit smaller and appeared to be a slightly different blue, more like the colour of a Common Blue in some specimens. But having said that, who really knows? There always seems to be quite a lot of colour/size variation in any population of them. We were hoping to see Lulworth Skippers too but only saw one or two and I wasn't able to get a photo of any. Perhaps there will be a few more later in the season, then again maybe not because I have read today that the population in West Dorset is down by 70% this year. I was also keen to do a bit of botanising and came away having seen three new flowers, two of which we wouldn't have seen if we hadn't bumped into Portland aficionado Ken Dolbear. He also showed us the rare Down Bug which feeds exclusively on a scarce plant called Bastard Toadflax which looks way nicer than its name would suggest.

Small Blue

Small Blue
 Egg-laying on Kidney Vetch Flower head

Silver-studded Blue

Large Skipper

Marbled White

Fairy FlaxLinum catharticum

 Grass Vetchling - Lathyrus nissolia

 A stunning group of Pyramidal Orchids - Anacamptis pyramidalis

Yellow-wort - Blackstonia perfoliata

The three new plants for me were:

Yellow Vetchling - Lathyrus aphaca

Yellow Vetch - Vicia lutea

Bastard Toadflax - Thesium humifusum

Down Shieldbug Canthophorus impressus

Yesterday myself and a fellow wildflower enthusiast spent four hours on our hands and knees on Berry Head. You may well ask! Well, we were looking for the rare and very tiny plant, Small Hare's Ear - Bupleurum baldense. We didn't see any. It may have 'gone over' or we could easily have been looking in the wrong place, seeing as the detailed information we were working from was over twenty years old! A tad optimistic to say the least!! We did ask two wardens neither of whom had even heard of it or for that matter white rock rose. Glad to know they have such an in depth knowledge of the site they are wardening! Perhaps I'll try again next year...then again.... 
There were some very fine Dropwort flowers, which are always a delight to behold and we also found an interesting day flying micro- moth which we identified as the 'very local'  Sulphur Pearl - Sitochroa palealis.

 Dropwort - Filipendula vulgaris

Sulphur Pearl - Sitochroa palealis.


Steve Gale said...

Karen, I can give you info for the rarer Berry Head plants

Karen Woolley said...

I'd appreciate that Steve Can you E-mail me please? Address in contact details.

David Bryant said...

Beautiful images, Karen!