Friday, 22 January 2016

A Day in Oxfordshire

Back in July we spent a day searching for wildflowers in Oxfordshire. Sorry for lack of words in these recent posts but I just don't have time to write much as I'm trying to get all my backlog of photos up before the new season really gets underway. So here's a few highlights from the Oxfordshire trip.

 This weird plant is Birthwort
Seen here growing near the ruins of Godstow Nunnery near Oxford.It's a rare plant in the UK now but was once a popular medicinal herb. It survives here as it was probably used by the nuns (one would hope on local women and not themselves as it was used in childbirth). It was thought to help in childbirth purely due to the shape of the flowers resembling the birth canal. Unfortunately it is deadly poisonous and probably killed most women who used it!

Birthwort Aristolochia clematitis

 The beautifully furry Downy Woundwort.
 Very rare and confined to just one small area of Oxfordshire

 Downy Woundwort - Stachys germanica

Frog Orchids were plentiful on Watlington Hill.

Frog Orchid - Coeloglossum viride

Red Kite 
These were also plentiful and I regretted not taking my birding camera as the flight views were point blank! On the way home traveling down the M40 we saw a large group of thirty circling in a thermal!!

At the Warberg reserve we got to see these Narrow-lipped Helleborines.We didn't think we'd find them as it is a huge reserve and it was very late in the afternoon when we arrived, meaning the warden's office was closed. Fortunately though he was working in his garden and kindly pointed us in the right direction. Photographs were infuriatingly difficult as it was almost dark in the beech woods.

Narrow-lipped Helleborine - Epipactis leptochila

Yellow Bird's-nest - Monotropa hypopitys
Unfortunately gone to seed but still great to see it for the first time. 

Small Teasel - Dipsacus pilosus
Quite a common plant apparently, but this was the first time I'd seen it. 

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