Toad and fumitory



Purple Ramping Fumitory

Purple Ramping Fumitory

Walking along the Long Pads footpath this afternoon and spotted Mr Toad.

Last year we discovered the rather rare plant Purple ramping Fumitory on our land. I marked the spot and took a look this afternoon. There it was!

Wildflowers in School Pond and Hay Meadow marsh

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: IMG_0234

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:




Plantlife around Cromwell’s and Willow Ponds

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.



Flora Field


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.

Wildflowers and (reported) owl sightings

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


Wildflower plot

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:

Corn marigold


Common poppy


Corn camomile




A couple of new flowers

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!