Bird's-foot Trefoil, bramble, bulrush, cardinal beetle, cat's-ear, common knapweed, cuckoo bee, dewberry, greater plantain, hazelnuts, hedge bedstraw, hemp-agrimony, Hoverfly, meadow brown butterfly, poppy, robin's pincushion, rowan, small white butterfly, spear thistle, speckled wood butterfly, straw baling, the Beck, the Washes
Before I continue my walk, I’ll update you on the local harvest scene. Yesterday, all the farms here were extremely busy working on the fields because rain was forecast for today. I was listening to combine harvesters working well into the small hours. I think the last tractor to roar past our house with its laden trailer of grain was at about 2.00 a.m. The rain duly came just a few hours later and this morning was very wet. On my way to collect Mum for our weekly shopping trip I had to slow the car to a crawl with the wipers going very fast as I couldn’t see the road because of the torrents. There were some very deep puddles and water was bubbling up from the drains in the villages we passed through. I was about to say that this afternoon has been dry and bright when I heard that familiar pitter-patter of rain on the leaves outside and had to rush outside and close the garden shed.
The tractor pulls a baling machine up and down the field which sucks up the straw and packs it into bales which emerge from the back of the machine and are then tossed onto the field.
Back to my walk …
The Washes were showing signs that we had had a lot of rain recently. The road here often floods as it is next to the Beck and in a little valley. The Beck was flowing quite nicely but was very overgrown and difficult to see.
People with lawns do not like either the Greater or the Hoary Plantain as they are very persistent and can survive crushing and tearing. New growth comes from the base of the plant. Birds love the seeds and when caged birds as pets were more popular, people used to gather the dried seed-heads for them. Another name for this plantain is Rat’s Tail. I tried many times, unsuccessfully, to photograph this male Meadow Brown butterfly but the camera was having none of it and kept focusing on the rose leaf. So, I have gone with it because of the little red ball on the leaf. Is this another type of gall or is it the very first stage of a Robin’s Pincushion? I was looking at all the brambles in the hedge and noticed these – They are dewberries – a relative of the bramble/blackberry. The flowers are larger and the fruits too, which have a bloom to them. The leaves have three leaflets.
This is the Great Reedmace or as it is now known, the Bulrush. Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema painted ‘Moses in the Bulrushes’ and showed the baby in amongst a clump of Reedmaces. Since then the Reedmace has been known as the Bulrush. The brown sausage-like part of the flower is female and the narrow spire at the top is male. In the Lesser Bulrush there is a gap between the female and male parts of the flower.
Cat’s-ear and Agrimony Hemp-agrimony. This is a member of the daisy family – Agrimony is a member of the rose family. Early herbalists wrongly classed this plant with true Agrimony. The leaves of this plant look like cannabis leaves hence the ‘hemp’. Cardinal Beetle and a saw-fly visiting the Hemp-agrimony I was going to return to the Hemp-agrimony a few days later to look at it again once the flowers had all come out. Unfortunately, the common was mown the next day and all the flowers had gone. The following photos are of a large clump of them that I see on my way to my mother’s house. They are tall plants – about 4-5 feet tall – and I think they look beautiful. The walk I took was only about a mile in length – I was pleasantly surprised to find so many things to look at in such a small area.