On day 106 of 365 Days Wild I went on a nature walk in the Langford Lowfields RSPB Nature Reserve. We didn’t go far onto the reserve, mainly because we’d already walked quite some distance before spotting the entrance, which we hadn’t know was there, but it was far enough for me to spot some fungi, wildflowers, and hedgerow fruits.
These bracket fungi on the trunks and stumps of the Silver Birch trees near the entrance to the site were the first things that caught my eye.
There were a number of wildflowers growing beside the paths. The first that I spotted was Stork’s-bill (Erodium circutarium). This is one of the food plants of the caterpillars of the Brown Argus butterfly. It flowers from May to August so I was fortunate to spot some still in bloom. Its seed pods – that are shaped like the beak of a stork and give the plant its common name – explode when ripe and send the seeds flying.
Growing nearby there was a stray Cranes-bill flower (possibly Small-flower Geranium pussilum or Dove’s-foot, Geranium molle).
I also spotted a patch of Redshank (Persicaria maculosa). This plant has over 40 different names around the UK. The most common of these beside Redshank is Lady’s Thumb. This name, and others such as Lady’s Pinch and Devils Pinch, are related to a dark splodges found on the leaves. Regional folklore variations say that these marks were caused by the touch of the Virgin Mary, the Devil, or a murderess who wiped her bloody fingers on the leaves.
The hedgerows were also a source of interest, particularly the fruits of the Guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus). These plump red berries are an important food source for a number of birds, including Bullfinches and Mistle Thrush.
A final flower that I spotted is one that is instantly recognisable to most people but which I haven’t spotted around our way much this year. Poppies are always a delight to see.
That’s all for today. Have you been on any nature walks lately? Why not let me know in the comments below?