Day 8 and 9 – Wildlife Trust reserves

Yesterday and today, I visited two different Wildlife Trust reserves. The first was a new one to me, Strawberry Banks and the second, I visited last year.

So I was mainly looking for orchids yesterday and I found some! Lots of them. And one I’d never seen before – the (Greater?) Butterfly Orchid.

Today I went with a couple of work colleagues to Daneway Banks. We went looking for the famous and very rare Large Blue butterflies, who should be merging from the ants nests by now (Yes! Ants nests!), but the up and down weather seems to have delayed things. We’ll be back 🙂

We did spot more Orchids, a few Common Blue butterflies and lots of day flying moths, a very interesting looking fungus plus a passing Lepidopterist! There’s always something to see at a Wildlife Trust reserve 🙂

P.S. The header image is of a log that has one of my favourite fungi growing in it – Green Elf Cup (Chlorociboria aeruginascens). It isn’t fruiting at the moment, but you can see the bluey/green staining of the mycelium. This type of stained wood is used still in ‘Tumbridgeware’ and parquetry.

Day 7 – Wildflower meadow

It was a lovely day today, not too windy and nice and sunny. Perfect day for butterflies and wildflowers.

I took Mojo (my whippet) to a local meadow known as ‘Ditches Field’ – it’s an important archaeological site with an (Iron Age Hill Fort and an early Roman villa – a book about the excavations has been published.

The landowner has turned it over to the wildflowers, butterflies and skylarks and has spared the plough but he kindly allows locals to walk their dogs there, so I get to see it all through the seasons.

I think he sowed some wildflower seeds a few years ago and they are starting to come into their own with the Yellow Rattle helping to keep the grasses down, giving the other flowers a chance. Nothing rare like orchids or anything I suspect, but wildflower meadows are rare enough these days.

I also saw a lot of Common Blue butterflies, blimey – they’re almost as tricky to photograph as Swifts! I managed eventually though 🙂