Sunday, 20 July 2014

One place- one afternoon

"Tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breaths!"
-William Wordworth

13 July 2014

After having a good time up here the other evening I braved the warm weather to see what else I could find.

Water Cress (Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum)

Watercress, is a rapidly growing, aquatic or semi-aquatic, perennial plant native to Europe and Asia, and one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by humans. Wikipedia

 Alresford is at the centre of the watercress growing trade in Hampshire, and each May a free festival takes place celebrating the plant and its consumption.

Common Green Grasshopper (Omocestus viridulus)

The female is always dorsally green but males can be olive-brown. 
This species prefers to feed on the more common grass, and can be found in a  wide range of grassy habitats throughout Britain.
Very abundant in the wild flower meadow but just managed to get this photo as they don't stay still for long. 

 This is the wood I had the encounter with the Deer, I don't walk through here as it's a little spooky on your own and some of the trees have faces carved in to them, but it was so hot I needed some time out of the sun.

Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus)

When I saw this small Butterfly, I was sure I'd spotted something new ! but although very nice it is a Large Skipper, named a little wrong in my view, on my other photos of Skippers I had never noticed the white spots on the wing before.
This species is found in sheltered areas of grassland, where grasses grow tall. Typical sites include meadows, hedgerows, roadside verges, woodland rides and woodland clearings. It can also be found in urban areas, such as parks and churchyards.

Looking back across the fields

There are many boggy areas, in the wood and in the meadow. Growing here is Marsh Thistle (Cirsium palustre), grasses,sedges,rushes and ferns. This is going to be next years protect to record these. 
Grasses, sedges and rushes are wind pollinated. As wind is used to carry pollen from the male to the female part of the flower, the flower has no need of showy petals and these are often reduced or absent.

 There are so many different species and varieties of grass, that there is at least one to fit every type of habitat and growing conditions !


 Tipula is a very large insect genus in the fly family Tipulidae. They are commonly known as crane flies or daddy longlegs. Worldwide there are well over a thousand species. All species have very long, fragile legs.
This was the largest crane fly I've ever seen, the wings are just beautiful

Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)
Tortoiseshell butterflies usually began to emerge from their pupa from mid June into August, but can be seen all year round if the weather is mild.

Having a chat with a Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), The Meadow Brown is one of our commonest and most widespread butterflies, and a familiar sight throughout the summer months. 

Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra)

 Is a species of flowering plant in the daisy family known by the common names Lesser Knapweed, Common Knapweed and Black Knapweed. A local vernacular name is Hardheads. Wikipedia
Important for Gatekeeper butterfly,Goldfinch, Honey bee, Large skipper, Lime-speck pug moth, Meadow Brown, Painted lady, Peacock, Red admiral, Small copper, Small skipper

 Betony (Stachys officinalis)

Is a new plant for me to record in this area, when I first spotted them way of I got all excited thinking they were Orchids !

This flower is important food souse for Small Skippers, Speckled Yellow butterflies and 
Portland Ribbon Wave moth.

There was more
 Narrow-Bordered Five-Spot Burnet (Zygaena lonicerae)
 flying about to day, still managed to get a tatty looking one..

Quaking grass ( Briza )
This is one of my favourite grasses and was so pleased to find it here, it used to grow in the field next to the river at the bottom of our garden when I was a kid, so reminds me of home. Referred to as the quaking grasses because the flowers and seedheads shake on their stalks in the slightest breeze.

Then on the way home was a nice surprise, I spotted a Small Owl, I first recorded them here a few years back, but we had that really bad winter and I never saw them last year so thought they had perished. 
So really pleased they are back 

This is a sedentary species which is found in open country such as mixed farmland and parkland. It takes prey such as insects, earthworms, amphibians, but also small birds and mammals. It can attack birds of considerable size like game birds. It is partly diurnal and often perches boldly and prominently during the day

Happy Hunting
Amanda xxx


  1. It always amazes me how much you see (and photograph) on your walks. I need to walk slower and LOOK, instead of marching along like I'm in a race!! Sarah

  2. Thanks Sarah, I can still find new things in the same place after all this time, you need to have a idea in your mind what you want to see, for example just Butterflies or just wild flowers.. I often do it this way and can find more. You will have the summer holl's now so have some fun with you kids hunting :)

  3. Some great records here Amanda and I love all your photos. I think your Skipper could be a female- they seem to have stronger markings than the males. The Little Owl is gorgeous! Alresford is just down the road from us here. CT x

    1. Thanks CT, glad you liked my post, was so pleased to see the little owl back.
      Amanda xx

  4. Your posts are always so interesting and informative. Glad the little owl is back. They make me smile, as they have such enormous feet, for so little a body. x

    1. Thanks Jacqui, hope to get some better photos this week, with them been about during the day, little owls are a little easer to find.
      Amanda xx

  5. Hi Amanda, you see watercress growing in ditches and streams sometimes and you are never quite sure how clean it is or what has been in the water anyway. Lovely scene shots you have posted and I like the psychedelic butterfly.{:))

    1. Thanks Roy, at least I know where it is if I run out of food, the Dragonfly was a Emperor, seen a lot more over the last few days, what with the Butterflies there is a lot flying about.
      Amanda xx

  6. A lovely and interesting post Amanda with some great sightings. I'm so glad the Little Owl has returned - I haven't seen one for a few years. It really does look a beautiful walk :)

    1. Thanks RR, hope to visit some new places this week, but still happy to watch nature in my own back yard...
      Amanda xxx

  7. Your landscape is so gorgeous! Love the first photo. I've seen Large Skippers that have only faint markings and some that are really brightly marked, not sure if it's the difference between sexes as it's not so apparent on the UK Butterflies site which is where I check everything. Love that owl too, envious of that although I did see a Barn Owl out of the living room window one night which was cool! Great post. :-)

  8. Thanks Mandy, there are so many Skippers about at the moment, must be a good year, CT thinks it might be a female..haven't done much bird watching this year so was pleased to catch sight of the owl, put it on my list for autumn/winter, to do more birdwatching, that's if I'm not still putting my photos on from June by then:)
    Amanda xx