Wildlife Reserve News for June 2011
24th June, Friday, some Greater Burnet flowers are visible in the field next to the Rec., they are solitary blooms on a long stalk, much taller than the surrounding vegitation. Listen as you walk for you can hear the grasshoppers jumping around, its still a bit early, or not warm enought for them to be chirping just yet.
On Thursday evening there were many Water-boatmen just resting below the surface of the pond, presumably re-plenishing their oxygen supplies. A few flat worms, which crawl about the bottom of the pond were also spotted, indicating that life was present in the pond. In the mud were footprints of what looked like a moorhen.
Another day or dusk flying moth has been noticed, it is not difficult to see as it is all white, and could be called an 'angel' or 'ghost' moth, but turns out to be a White Plume Moth, so called because of the way it is able to fold its wings, which look rather like feathers close up. (photo below).

Picture of White plume moth Picture of White Plume moth

19th June, Sunday, a few Knapweed plants have started to flower, which is beneficial for bees, and other insects like the moth that can just be seen under the flower in the right hand photograph. The bee shown is probably a White Tailed Bumble Bee.

Picture of Knapweed Picture of bee and knapweed

14th June, Tuesday,
A warm day, if you listen you can hear things pinging around in the grass, they are small grasshoppers, one or two butterflies are in evidence, small skippers, and meadow brown.

On Sunday for the first time in months, it rained most of the day, which will certainly be a great help.
Bird spotters report seeing Yellow Hammers, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Goldfinches, Greenfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Willow Warbler, Robin, and Swallows in flight, and Whitethroats were heard.
Outside the reserve in the field towards Foxhole pond,there are young Skylarks, in fact this is a good area in which to hear and see skylarks at any time.

The picture below shows a few of the grass seed heads that can be seen at present, and the creature on the right is probably a Sawfly, which is related to wasps, rather than flies. It is generally regarded as a pest, as the larvae feed on leaves and fruit of growing crops, for instance there is a Gooseberry Sawfly, and an Apple Sawfly, many of the 500 species being quite specific as to their host plant.
Update:- I have been contacted to say the photo is not of a Sawfly, but a Scorpoin fly, which although the  photo does not show it clearly, has a up curved tail, resembling a scorpions. According to the internet it does not bite or sting.

Picture of grasses Picture of sawfly

5th June, Sunday, Showing some friends around they pointed out the Rough Hawk's Beard (below left) I had not noticed, and enabled me to identify some Cut-leafed Crane's-bill (below Right) that I saw last year, but was not certain what it was.

Picture of Rough Hawk's Beard Picture of Cut-leaved Crane's-bill

Some of the Goats Beard have flowered and their seed head can be seen, on the north side of New Churchfurlong.

3rd June, Friday,
Walking along the footpath up to foxhole pond, I noticed a Reed Bunting, a striking bird, with a brown body, white colar, and black head, which is just a bit small than a blackbird, back in the reserve, I found a few vetches, a very delicate looking Grass Vetch (below left), some Common Vetch, and a patch of Yellow Meadow Vetchling (below right)

Picture of common grass vetch Picture of Meadow Vetchling

2nd June, Thursday,
Another warm spell, sunny, and still no rain to speak of. However the warm weather has led to the appearance  Common Blue butterflies (left below) and lots of Chimney Sweeper Moths, and  one Silver Ground Carpet Moth.

Picture of common blue butterfly Picture of yellow rattle seed head

The Yellow Rattle is turning to seed, some is still in flower, while a lot of it is growing seed pods, see photo right above. In the corner of the pond field, near the stile, some Goats Beard are just about to flower, below left, but you need to see them in the morning as their otehr name is 'Jack goto bed at noon' as the yellow flower closes up at noon. It gets its name goats beard from the fluffy seed head which resembles a dandelion seed. There are more of this plant than previous years, so perhaps its seeds are surviving well.

Picture of goats beard Picture of dog rose

Around the hedges Dog Roses are now in flower, above right, and around the meadows Birds Foot Trefoil is in flower, ( below left). and there are Hoary Plantains (below right) to see.

Picture of birds foot trefoil Picture of plantains

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