News for June 2012
30 June, Saturday, quite a windy day, so no photographs today. A Field Scabious is in flower, Rest Harrow is growing, there were a few Meadow Brown butterfies about. In the pond several small newts were seen, some swimming, but mostly they were creeping about in the weed on the bottom of the pond. At this stage the baby newts have external gills, no legs, and swim by like a fish by wiggling their tail. As they grow, their legs will grow, their external gills will be replaced by internal lungs, and they will become air breathing land animals.

The church yard is looking good, and well worth a visit, before mowing starts again. With a good show of  Oxeye daisys, Hawkbits, Birds Foot Trefoil, Selfheal, and Plantains, it makes a very colourful display. This year a different mowing regime is being tried, with the grass being cut short earlier in the year,  and then mowing resumed after the flowers have gone over.
view of churchyard

25th June, Monday, Sunny showers this week, and in a sunny patch I took a walk around the reserve, no butterflies to be seen, it really is a bad year for them so far. This year the grass is growing well, and the Yellow Rattle and Buttercups are not as overwelming as previous years. Another Common Spotter Orchid has appeared in yet another location.
The Meadosweet is about to flower, and there is the odd Knapweed flower head, hopefully the first of many.

Picture of rough HawkbitPicture of Cats ear

A couple of the Hawkbit family are to be seen, the Rough Hawkbit  above left and the Catsear above right, rather similar in appearance, both being yellow Dandelion like flowers at first appearance, but closer inspection reveals the difference from a Dandelion, even if you are not able to identify them easily.

Picture of grassPicture of grass

Above shows a couple of the many grass seed heads that are in the meadows.

Picture of PlantainPicture of Goats Beard

There are lots of Plantains, which shed clouds of pollen if knocked above left, and the Goats beard are just beginning to flower.
15th June, Friday, The weather has been rather wet and dull recently, and today its quite breezy, but sunny. However the meadows are  riot of colour, and in the  picture below  Birds Foot Trefoil, Buttercups, Oxeye Daiseys, Red Clover  and Yellow Rattle are visible.

Picture of birds foot trefoil

At other places a few Common Spotted Orchid (left below) are flowering, one in a new location which is a good sign. Several Goats Beard plants are about to flower, but remember its other name 'Jack goto bed at noon',  which tells you the flowers are only open in the morning, and it needs to be sunny. This is a plant that is spreading, as, a few years ago, there were only one or two, and now there are lots of them.

Picture of Common Spotted OrchidPicture of Dog Rose

Along the hedgerow, there are Dog Rose in flower (above right), a few early flowers on the Blackberry brambles.
The pond is full now, but the water is rather murky, probaby from the rain that has fallen. A Flag Iris is in flower, no flying insects were visible today, but there were lots of pond skaters, and water boatmen (below left) in the water, these insects are also called common backswimmers due to the way they swim, on their back, using elongated rear legs as oars.

Picture of water boatmanPicture of Vetch

Some of the Vetch family are starting to flower, like the Meadow Vetchling above right, photographed in the Jackdaw.

1st June, Friday, On close inspection of the fields today I found flowers that I haden't noticed before, Yellow Rattle is becoming more noticable, it is really keeping the grass in check now as the grass is quite short.  There are patches of Birds Foot Trefoil, Sorrel is noticable, Ragged Robin is still in evidence, Red Clover, and one of the Vetches is in flower, and a Bladder Campion, shown below left.

Picture of bladder campionPicture of soldier beetle

Amongst the grass, I saw a rather small grass-hopper, which will grow to eventually produce the chirping sound we associate with hot summer days. A beetle that I did get a photo of is shown above right, and is thought to be a Soldier beetle, so called because of the bright colours they are, probably Cantharis rustica, which are quite common in the UK. It seems to be feeding on something it has found on a grass stem, which look as if they could be the eggs of some creature.

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