Arable Weeds 2 – Common Field-speedwell

Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica) grows on bare soil, cultivated arable fields and disturbed ground. It has a prostrate form, spreading horizontally over the ground surface. The small blue flowers will be a familiar sight to many, and it is part of the lowest growing of wild flowers in the plant association that characterises unsown field margins, almost forming a ground cover mat in some places..

Harvest 1

The farmers are busy harvesting the fields in the dry spells between the rain. The noise of the combine harvesters, trucks and tractors can be heard most days recently while they gather in the crops. Yesterday I saw people hard at work gathering the barley in the early evening. It was dull but dry and the occasional shaft of low sun transformed the view.

Arable Weeds 1 – Common Fumitory

I have recently discovered a strip of cultivated field that has been left deliberately unplanted. It has been colonised by a wonderful array of wild plants that fall into the habitat category of arable weeds. They may have been seeded by the farmer but I think it could be a natural development. The more you look, and the closer you look, the more you see. There is a tremendous diversity of species. Many are completely new to me. I am having fun trying to photograph the different types and identify them. Unfortunately, this is not so easy if you are unable to kneel or crouch and are reliant on the camera zoom. Some flowers are minute. Anyway, here is the first picture and it shows the pink flowers of Common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis).

Brimstone Butterfly

There was a flurry of butterflies on my Buddleia bush yesterday. Lots of Tortoiseshells and Red Admirals as expected but also, for the first time, some beautiful Brimstone Butterflies (Gonepteryx rhamni). They looked very fresh – as if they had only just emerged. It made my day.

CD Country Walk (in the rain)

Pictures from a walk in the rain around the village last week, showing how fast the maize is growing in some of the fields, with the corncobs developing well. Difficult to get good shots with the lens getting wet and having to dry it constantly, but the rain did ease off now and again, and I did enjoy myself even if I got soaked.

Great Willowherb

There are 13 different types of Willowherb in the British Isles, mostly looking very similar, so I may not have identified this correctly, but I think it is Great Willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum). Like the more familiar Rosebay Willowherb, it is common around the village in unmanaged areas.

Plume Moth

A rather strange, delicate, white moth was hovering and settling in the undergrowth along the hedge between the Community Orchard and the maize field early the other evening. It was a Plume Moth (Pterophorus pentadactyla). It was almost completely white – head, antennae, wings, body, and legs – but with what looked like blue eyes. The wings were divided into spokes radiating like the ribs of a fan, five on each side. Each rib was covered in fine filaments so that it looked like a feather. This species of moth has larvae that eat the leaves and flowers of bindweed, and that plant grows all along the field boundary where I found the moth. I could not get a very clear shot because I couldn’t physically get close to the moth and had to use the zoom, but I thought it was interesting enough to share with you.

Ripening barley

The barley is ripening in the fields and I think it will not be long before the farmers cut it. At least one field of the oilseed rape has already been harvested and that field has been ploughed ready for the next sowing. Our long recent spell of dry weather has turned to wet and windy, so that must be frustrating, as it could damage the standing barley with its heavy ears and delay the harvest. Some stands were already flattened at the end of July.

Summer Meadow Flowers

Purple/pink Knapweed, yellow St John’s Wort, and rusty-red seeded stems of Dock and Sorrel, with tall stalks of hogweed and their umbrella seed-heads, are thriving amongst the dry grasses in the place I call the Meadow on the edge of the village.

Poppies 2

Poppies 2 – Growing on the uncultivated margins of a field of maize near the village of Charlton Down in Dorset.