With School Pond dry for the first time in several years, two plants have taken advantage. The one spotted by Graham (14 July) has been identified as marsh cudweed:
It has now been joined by creeping yellow cress:
By the eastern gate there is a patch of common knotgrass, which is too straggly to photograph easily.
Further sightings in the Hay Meadow marsh include common fleabane:
There has been a good patch of this near the Cromwell Road gate in previous year but it seems to be spreading with clumps by Cromwell’s Pond and elsewhere.
Also a woody nightshade and hogweed:
A patch of white heads have recently appeared on the east side of Cromwell’s Pond (Hay Meadow). Through binoculars, these looked to be cottongrass, identification confirmed by a closer inspection.
There are quite a number of different plants appearing close to the pond. The bulrushes (reedmace) have not been disadvantaged by recent pond clearing work. If anything, they seem to be spreading. There is a also a patch of what is probably great willow herb coming through on the south side of the pond. On the down side, there was also a 6 inch high ragwort which was promptly removed!
Lower Sowerholme is being managed for birds and cattle grazing and – apart from buttercups – relatively few wildflowers have been seen. However, there is an orchid flowering in the rushes around Willow Pond.
Can anyone identify this flower, to be found under the big trees just to the east of the stumps?
And there was a song thrush in the Orchard this afternoon.
The field by the Long Pads looked lovely in the sun on Friday, with the bird seed mix – mustard, folder radish and phacelia in full bloom and corn marigold, corn chamomile, cornflowers and poppies mixed in with the crop . Clouds of white ( mainly green veined white) butterflies with meadow browns, and further round a peacock and a gatekeeper. At the top of the hill by Pony Wood we startled a female roe deer hiding in the wheat. A second ( possibly the juvenile) at first tried to hide – we could see the top of its head – then decided to bound off as well. A truly magical afternoon.
Two summers ago, the Hay Meadow acquired its first orchids – a little patch of Common Spotted Orchids, probably slowly developed from seeds in the green hay scattered in 2011 but possibly from seeds blown in more recently, who knows? Last year the patch was a bit bigger, and this year there are quite a few scattered individual plants in both the Hay Meadow and Carr House Meadow. Mostly they aren’t easy to see in among the rich vegetation, but there is a nice example which is visible from the Fauna path: it’s between the two gates into the Hay Meadow. To judge by other local hay meadow restorations (e.g. Brown Robin Reserve at Grange over Sands), within a few more years they should be all over the place.
Whilst preparing for the Ragwort Working Party yesterday morning a woman passing by told us that she had seen baby barn owls at dusk on the top of the shed stone wall. She said that they and their parents could be heard calling to each other in the trees. We looked and listened after the volunteer session last night but without result.
Newly observed flowers include teasels in the Orchard:
The first of our wildflower plugs in flower: greater bird’s foot trefoil:
And what I think is bloody crane’s bill in the Hay Meadow
The wild flower plot behind the Fauna Stones has been only a modest success. Goodness knows why the re-seeding in March has not been more successful. However, instances of the four annual plants in the mix have appeared (see below) which will set seed. It may be that the perennials in the mix will come in future years.
The annuals are:
Whilst undertaking the wildflower survey today we noted a couple of flowers not recorded on the Reserve before:
Common cat’s-ear in the Hay Meadow
Greater Knapweed which id the predominant wildflower now growing in the Flora Field wildflower margin.
Sorry if these photos are ‘sideways on’, the software seems to have a mind of its own when inserting photos taken with my camera!
A first sighting on the Reserve of Monkeyflower in the wet section of the Hay Meadow on 11th June.
Thanks to Laura for identifying this plant.
Water lilies have appeared in Alder Pond (Big Meadow) this summer. How I don’t know but if they survive the pond occasionally drying up they will be a lovely feature.
Also can anyone identify this plant which is growing in the Hay Meadow marsh but which I can’t find in any of my books or the Wildflower Identification collection which is on the Fairfield web site?
Many thanks if you can help