Posted on June 27, 2022
Ringlet butterfly (Aphantopus hyperantus) feeding on a buttercup flower, quickly rotating its position to get the nectar from every petal, and only showing the full identifying pattern of its underwings for a fraction of a second.
Posted on June 26, 2022
Meadow Brown butterflies Maniola jurtina (?) feeding on Knapweed and Bramble flowers on a piece of rough pasture at the beginning of the path from the village that leads to Charminster via Wood Hill. The slightly pleated wings of the one individual might indicate perhaps a more recent emergence. Or have I got two species here?
Posted on June 21, 2022
A Silver Y Moth (Plusia gamma) resting on a dock leaf beside the path through rough pasture near the village. It gets its name from the distinctive light coloured mark on its wings.
Posted on June 16, 2022
This is an episode in the story of a patch of ground in the village where everything was untended and garden rubbish was dumped for many years. On my regular walks during the two year pandemic period of 2020 and 2021, I often passed by and looked over the fence to see what was new amongst the fast-growing vegetation of this wild place. These are close-up photos of some of the lovely plants that were growing there by chance.
Posted on June 15, 2022
There was once a patch of ground in the village where everything was untended and garden rubbish was dumped. It had been there a long time. It was bounded by a brick wall with a wooden door on one side and a bar fence on the other. Some roses draped themselves over the fence to partially screen the area. Most people walked past it and paid no heed; but it was a surprising place if you paused to look. There was a wonderful assortment of wild plants, many of them flowering, with additional stray cultivated ones. It was a great habitat in its own right, and provided food and shelter for many insects and birds. To most eyes it was a bunch of weeds, and as such it was routinely cut down as a control measure. The flowers always came back. Here are some pictures showing some of the plants that were growing there a couple of years ago.
Posted on December 4, 2021
This time of year, when leaves fall and plants fade, when damp days persist, lichens and mosses flourish and almost glow with colour.
Posted on November 30, 2021
The centre of Charlton Down is marked by the presence of a large lime tree. People come and go every day beneath its canopy to visit the village shop and post office, to meet friends, to sit in the shade, to catch the bus. They pass beneath its branches on their way to the village hall, the playing fields, the cricket ground, to buy from the hot food vans that park nearby, and use it as a rendezvous point for walks into the surrounding countryside. I do not suppose that many villagers notice the tree very much at all. But I like it, and delight in the changes it undergoes from season to season.
Posted on November 22, 2021
There are still a few leaves on the oak trees in the village, looking bright on this cold and sunny morning. The curious patterns are caused by the insect galls that affected the leaves.
Posted on October 10, 2021
My neighbour Marilyn found this white spider on a pink anemone flower. I have seen them around the village too. They are inconspicuous as they lay in wait to pounce on unsuspecting prey innocently visiting flowers to collect nectar or pollen, or to eat the flower itself. They have no need of webs to trap their victims. I think it is possibly a Flower Crab Spider. This must be the creature that Robert Frost was describing in his poem “Design” where he says:
I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth—
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witches’ broth—
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.
What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?—
If design govern in a thing so small.
Complete Poems of Robert Frost, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1949