South Brent island

There were loads of common red soldier beetles on hogweed and yarrow at the Island.   This is a broad centurion, a type of soldier fly. They are called soldier flies because of their brightly coloured ‘uniforms’. Broad centurion males have bronze abdomens, like this one. Females have blue-green abdomens. This moth is a beautiful golden Y….

Ugborough Beacon to Aish

A lovely varied walk around Ugborough Beacon to Three Barrows and back to Moorhaven via Corringdon Ball and Aish.  The grass on the more sheltered eastern face of Ugborough Beacon was full of heath milkwort in colours ranging from ultramarine through white to pink. I checked the bracken above Peek Moor gate to see if…

Peas, hawksbeard and mutant plantains

Many relatives of the pea are flowering now. At Ivybridge station there are two sorts of medick, spotted medick, black medick, and lesser trefoil. Black medick, with dense pompoms of flowers and a tiny point – mucro – on the tip of each leaf: Lesser trefoil, with looser flower heads: Vetches and clover are part of the…

Moorhaven to Green Lane

I haven’t done this walk for a while and the big change was clumps of three-nerved sandwort at the side of the Moorhaven drive. On the sunny southern verge just past Leigh Lane, lots of shining cranesbill and ransoms, greater chickweed, and creeping buttercups. Past the golf course, there are stunning displays of bluebells on…

Saints’ days

Lots of bluebells at Andrew’s Wood nature reserve on St George’s day, some brimstone butterflies, and a bloody nosed beetle slowly walking across the path. Daldinia concentrica helps decompose ash trees. This fungus is called King Alfred’s cakes after the king who was left minding the cakes baking in a cottage where he was hiding…

Leigh Lane and Lud brook

New oak and hazel leaves, holly and blackthorn flowers, and the last few catkins overhead in Leigh Lane. Under foot, bluebells, three speedwells, two violets, and three umbellifers. Yellow dandelions, lesser celandines, and creeping buttercups in Leigh Lane, and gorse and tormentil on the moor. Also in Leigh Lane, pink purslane, herb robert, and campions and white wood…

White Oxen and Zempson

Lots of crosswort in the damp meadows at White Oxen and hedgerows around Zempson. The first early purple orchids are flowering, and the first ragged robin, bugle, buttercups, and yellow pimpernel. Also in flower were lady’s smock, bog stitchwort, cornsalad, primroses, common dog violets, sticky mouse-ear, wavy bittercress, thale cress, daisies, germander speedwell, red dead-nettle and red campions….

Clovers and more

Red clover is prolific but there are also some big clumps of the less common zigzag clover growing between Moorhaven and Green Lane, and also along Bittaford Road. Zigzag clover flowers are looser and larger, and always a deep dark pink. They stand away from the leaves, on stalks about a centimetre long. Where the…

Biodiversity

I counted over 90 different species currently flowering between Moorhaven and Green Lane, starting with the weeds in our garden (1-36), progressing to Moorhaven communal gardens where Perforate St John’s Wort (37) and Dark Mullein (38) were growing in a weedy border (they could have been planted there originally), and then via Wrangaton Road to the…

the end of May

It’s all change as spring gives way to summer, the bluebells give a final flourish and the bracken unfurls. Campions, buttercups and cow parsley are at their best and pink purslane is still going strong. Look out for garlands of tiny black bryony flowers   You can pick the top few leaves of young stinging…

Weeds

In the garden, a tiny specimen of common ramping fumitory, some lady’s smock and yellow rattle that we planted to kick-start a wild flower patch by parasitising the lawn. There are five species of speedwell: germander, wall, thyme-leaved, ivy-leaved, and slender speedwell. Other flowers thrive through lack of weeding rather than by design. Common cow-wheat in woods in South Brent

mid-May sunshine

Greater celandine has appeared this month, a relative of the Welsh poppy and not of lesser celandine. It is named after the Greek ‘chelidon’ or swallow, as it flowers when the swallows arrive. The bright orange sap is said to cure warts and for this reason, greater celandine was often planted around the walls and gateways of houses, where indeed it is still…