Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


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Little green flowers…

I spent today on a workshop practising identifying grasses and sedges.  They aren’t the easiest things to identify, as they pretty much all have tiny green flowers, but once you get the hang of how they are put together (and learn a bit of vocabulary, so the books make sense) they aren’t too bad at all.  Honestly.  🙂

We went out for a walk round the nature reserve (bit of Juneathon activity in there!), and found a wide range of grasses and sedges.  I’ll see if I can list them, to see how many we found.

Couch, Perennial rye-grass, Rough meadow-grass, Annual meadow-grass, Yorkshire fog, Red fescue, Floating sweet-grass, Cock’s-foot, Barren brome, Soft brome, False brome, Yellow oat-grass, False oat-grass, Tufted hair-grass, Sweet vernal-grass, Creeping soft-grass, Wood millet, a Bent-grass and Crested dog’s-tail.  19 grasses!

Pale sedge, Pendulous sedge, Remote sedge, Oval sedge, Spiked sedge and Wood sedge. 6 sedges

And on the way home I also found Hairy brome and Glaucous sedge.

The biggest problem is that it is so hard to remember the distinguishing features from one year to the next, so with the sedges I have to start from the beginning again every year.  Grasses seem easier, but that’s probably because I started getting familiar with them when I was younger, so it’s harder for my memory to lose them.  I grew up on the North Downs and it wasn’t really the right place to find many sedges – too dry.

Barren Brome spikelet

A single spikelet of Barren Brome (Anisantha sterilis). Each of the long points sticking out is an awn, on the end of a lemma, and inside each lemma will be a single seed. Barren Brome is not a very appropriate name!

Barren Brome

A panicle (flower-head) of Barren Brome – lots of spikelets.

Tufted hair-grass

Tufted Hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) with beautiful silvery flower-heads.  Apparently the German name for this grass is something like ‘Pin-stripe suit grass’, because of the stripes on the leaves.  I liked that, and I think it’s easier to remember than the English name.

Pale Sedge

Pale Sedge (Carex pallescens) – pale rounded fruits, and apparently the crimped bract (leaf-like blade) is typical

Glaucous Sedge

Glaucous Sedge (Carex flacca) – blue-green underside to the leaves, but brighter above. I have seen this so many times, but still have to look it up every time I find it.

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Moths and butterflies

Well, not many moths and butterflies, but I did see two Green-veined White butterflies, quite a few Burnet moth chrysalises and a Yellow Shell moth.  I walked just over 3 miles, which included edges of wheat and rape fields, a stream, a path through a meadow with buttercups and clover – just beginning to flower, and the edge of a lake at a stately home that is now an art gallery (Compton Verney) and some woodland.  Later on, I went to see a friend in the village, and jogged most of the way home, including a short steepish hill.

 footpath bridge

Footpath bridge over stream

footpath direction

Footpath direction post

Burnet moth chrysalis

Burnet moth chrysalis on Meadow Foxtail grass

hawthorn blossom

Hawthorn blossom

Green-veined White

Green-veined White butterfly on Cow Parsley, Anthriscus sylvestris

pink Hogweed

Pink Hogweed flowers (just part of the flowerhead) – usually they are white

Yellow Shell moth

Yellow Shell moth

 


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A three hour walk in bluebell woods, recording plants and one butterfly (a peacock – and a very tatty one too).  That took me about 3.5 km, just over 2 miles.  It was a gorgeous sunny day, with lots of birdsong, including a buzzard ‘mewing’ overhead.  Then I ran back along the road, about a mile, which was pretty slow – 14 minutes, but I was carrying binoculars, notebook and my fleece and it was pretty warm too.

I have yet to figure out how to layout pictures properly in here – seem to be getting one of them twice…  Maybe I’ll work it out soon.

Muddy path at Edge Hill woods

Squelchy and slippery!

Flowery meadow down to Radway

Bugle and Buttercups in an almost alpine view

A huge Jelly Ear fungus

The biggest Jelly Ear fungus I’ve ever seen. Must have liked all the rain.

Moschatel, Edge Hill woods

Moschatel, or Town-hall Clock
An uncommon woodland spring plant with green flowers.