I head out every day for a nature walk. I always take lots of pictures, though often many of them are never used. What I share on social media is often just a few of the highlights of the day. Day 70 of 365 Days Wild had a lot of highlights, so today’s Random Act of Wildness contains them all simply under the umbrella of ‘a nature walk’.
I made my way around to the meadow along the local lanes, which have grass verges full of plants and flowers. Ditches line the way, and I just had to stop enroute and spend some time with the Great Willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum) that fills them. Usually there’s an abundance of Rosebay Willowherb (Chamaenerion augustfolium), but not this year.
*As always, to see the pictures at their full size, just click on any picture in the gallery.*
It took a while, with lots of stopping and starting for photo snapping, but I finally reached the meadow. It was as I wandered down the path alongside the Millenium Walk that I spotted a few stalks of Rosebay Willowherb, growing in amongst the brambles and nettles.
I’ve been spending a lot of my time recently down at the northwestern end of the meadow, so this time I thought I’d focus mainly elsewhere. I only did a quick loop, just to see if there was anything new or interesting – such as dragonflies resting on the growth near the pond (nope), or anything new in flower. This was when I came across the Devil’s-bit Scabius (Succisa pratensis), growing on the sandy bank. There’s been lots of Field Scabius (Knautia arvensis) about this year, but this is the only patch of Devil’s-bit that I’ve so far found.
I spent most of my time wandering the largely open space from the middle, down to the southeastern end of the meadow.
My pictures of the meadow can be a little deceptive at times. Not all of it is filled with the verdant growth that I share on here. There are actually large patches of it – particularly in the southeastern half – that are dry and parched, and filled with struggling plants.
During my meadow wander I did, however, spot a pair of little, slightly straggly Cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus) growing in one of these struggling patches. Kate, the owner of the meadow, scattered a few annual seeds back in June in the hope that some summer rainfall might enliven the area. Unfortunately we’ve not had much in the way of rain, but it seems that a couple of the seeds might be making an attempt to flower.
Whilst most of these areas never really got going this year, there are, however, islands of lush growth dotted about. One positive element of the patchiness is that it has made getting close to the bees and butterflies much easier. Where the growth is denser, I find it much harder to get in close enough to take photographs.
During my day 70 wander I was fortunate enough to spot this huge Red-tailed Bumblebee on an island filled with lots of Bird’s-foot Trefoil. It was double the size of most of the other Red-tails that were about, so I’m thinking that it was possibly a queen. Male Red-tails are 11-16mm, and have yellow facial hair and bright yellow bands on their thorax. Female workers have black bodies and a red tail, and are 14-16mm in length. Queens have the same colouring as their workers, but are 20-22mm – which this one definitely was.
The edges of the meadow are some of the lushest parts, making the side paths some of the best to walk along for spotting interesting plants or insects. I spent quite a while on the southeast path. Unfortunately, each time a tractor drove past on the lane beyond the hedge a cloud of dust filled the air, coating my skin, hair and clothes. It did make for an interesting haze on some of my pictures, though.
It was on this path that I spotted a Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)plant that I just had to spend some time with. This was the first time I’ve ever actually seen any Mugwort freshly in flower. They’ve usually been either still in bud or past their best.
As is usually the case, as I wanders, I photographed any bugs and insects that I spotted. To finish off today’s post, here’s day 70’s selection.
That’s all for today. I’ll be back again tomorrow for another nature filled day.