Friday, 16 December 2016

A Somerset Selection

Here's a selection of sightings in the county of Somerset all from this year.

Five Head Arable Fields

I've been here several times over the last few years but never managed to see the elusive Broad-fruited Cornsalad. There's plenty of Narrow-fruited Cornsalad at the site and the main difference in the two is obviously (the clue's in the name don't you know) the size and shape of the fruits. These are difficult to see without giving the plant a real close up look and doing this for every plant seen can be a bit time consuming, but eventually I found a couple of good examples. The Corn Buttercup was putting on a nice display as usual and the star find was a lovely almost white Scarlet Pimpernel. It's always a thrill to find a nice colour variation in this charming little flower.

Broad-fruited Cornsalad - Valerianella rimosa

 Corn Buttercup - Ranunculus arvensis

Scarlet Pimpernel Anagallis arvensis var.pallida


I'd seen Lesser Twayblade on Exmoor a good few years ago so it was nice to catch up with it again this year. It's a very difficult plant to find on Exmoor but I had the help of local orchid enthusiast Chris Gladman, author of the excellent book Wild Orchids of Somerset.

Lesser Twayblade - Neottia cordata  

It was a case of fourth time lucky with Cornish Moneywort, we were beginning to think we'd never see it after visiting several sites where it is supposed to be found but failing to find any. Once we did find some we realised why. It is a very inconspicuous ground cover plant which at this site on Exmoor was growing around the base of a clump of rushes, a very easy one to walk straight past. We were doubly lucky because one of the plants had a couple of flowers out too. The flowers are tiny, about 2-3mm across.

Cornish Moneywort - Sibthorpia europaea

Pen Mill Trading Estate Yeovil 

An unusual place to be botanising, we were looking for the white form of Moth Mullein, which grows around some of the industrial units here. It certainly brightens the place up a bit.

Moth MulleinVerbascum blattaria 

Cadbury Castle 

We visited here looking for another mullein, this time, Twiggy Mullein which grows on the south facing ramparts of this impressive hill fort. It's a pretty impressive flower too!

Twiggy MulleinVerbascum virgatum

Aller Hill

We visited Aller Hill to see Rough Mallow also known as Hairy Mallow a very rare flower found at only a few sites in southern England. The site here is very large and we had no idea whereabouts the plants were on the reserve but luckily after a long search Andy found some, I'd have long since given up. They are a really pretty delicate flower and the reason they are called Hairy Mallow is very easy to see!

Rough Mallow - Malva setigera

Polden Hills

In late June I visited a reserve in the Polden Hills with Dave Land to look for Large Blues, although the weather was pretty cloudy and it rained for a time, it was also very warm and we were lucky enough to get some great views of both Large Blues and a variety of other fauna and flora. 

Large Blue egg-laying on Thyme flowers.

Large Blue - Maculinea arion

 Small Skipper Thymelicus sylvestris

Marbled White - Melanargia galathea
Sitting out a rain shower. 

Cut-leaved Selfheal - Prunella laciniata  

 A pair of amorous Bloody-nosed Beetles photobomb my Cut-leaved Selfheal photo.

 Bloody-nosed Beetle - Timarcha tenebricosa

Cheddar Gorge

Finally a few bits and bobs from the area around the village of Charterhouse and Cheddar Gorge.

Cheddar Pink - Dianthus gratianopolitanus
Overlooking Cheddar Gorge in the background, I've seen this plant on Sand Point but it may have been introduced there so it was great to see it in its natural habitat at last.

Wood Bitter-vetch - Vicia orobus

Wood Bitter-vetch - Vicia orobus white form.

Chimney Sweeper - Odezia atrata.

Forester Moth - Adscita statices

One I've wanted to see for ages but it has eluded me until this year. It would have kept doing so too if Andy hadn't pointed this one out, I walked right past it. It was very intent on nectaring allowing for some close up photos.

1 comment:

Gavin Haig said...

Superb! Thank goodness you haven't left me any sums to trip up over!