After watching the sunrise from Amos Lane, I then slipped through the hole in the hedge and entered the meadow. The weather forecast had warned me that the sun would likely only be out for a few hours, so I was determined to make the most of it.
Morning light on the meadow is always a welcome sight. After all of the miserably grey weather we’ve had recently, this is doubly true!
The plant that is dominating the meadow this year is the Knapweed. We could tell this was going to be the case as early as March when the little tussocks of plants began to grow. They’re in particular profusion down at the Western end of the meadow.
These thistle-like plants are now filling the field in their soft magenta hues, thankfully lacking in the sharp spikes that makes the thistle so unpleasant to be around. As you might have seen from some of my other recent posts, the bees, butterflies and insects are loving them.
Here are some more of the knapweed-filled meadow views that I captured during my visit:
There are lots of other plants amongst the knapweed as well. There’s red and white clover, birdsfoot trefoil, musk mallow, and both kidney and tufted vetch. The tufted vetch has only recently come into flower in the meadow, though it’s been on the lane for a while. I was starting to think we weren’t going to see it this year!
The Scabius is also now open:
At five year’s of age, the village meadow is actually still quite young. It takes a few years for a newly established meadow to come to maturity. Each year new species will arrive and take hold, and find their niche alongside the prvious year’s arrivals. It’s fascinating to watch and experience. Each year it takes on a different character.
One of the plants that is doing particularly well this year is the Lady’s Bedstraw – so called because it was once used to stuff mattresses. It’s lovely yellow tufts are appearing all around the space.
For the first few years of its existence the meadow was sown with an annual mix that gave a display of cornflowers, corncockles, poppies and field marigolds. If you’ve been following me for that long, you might remember my Changing Seasons posts from June and July of 2016 that were filled with these.
The annuals have now been replaced by perennials. Some of these have been planted by Kate, who owns and manages the space, others are self sown. The seeds of some annuals might remain in the soil, and so they might flourish again if the conditions are right, but they will never again dominate like they did before.
Even the wild carrot this year is fairly scarce. I spotted the first of it for this year on my dawn meadow walk.
Other plants that are doing well this year include the dock:
and the yarrow:
The 6-spot Burnet Moths were the most plentiful of the minibeasts, with it being so early in the day. They were everywhere. And there were yet more cocoons amongst the plants, too!
Here are some of the other minibeast related pictures that I snapped during my wander.
The moth, when I first spotted it, was desperately flapping its wings in an attempt to dislodge a spider from its back. I probably should have let nature take its course, but its still damp wings told me that it was newly emerged and I felt that it ought to get the chance to fly at least once, so I flicked the spider away.
I hope you enjoyed accompanying me on my early morning meadow walk. This was Day 36 of 365 Days Wild.