carline thistle, common soldier beetle, forest bug, harebell, hemp agrimony, hogweed, mating red beetles, Meadow Brown, rowan berries, tapered drone fly
There’s no such thing as a bad time to enjoy a walk on Bryn Euryn, but during the longer daylight hours of the summer, an early evening during the week can be the perfect time to find it quiet and peaceful.
The woodland is almost silent now, with just the occasional rustle from the undergrowth or the flash of a skulking bird to remind you that you are not alone here. It reminds me of such walks in the woods around the cottage I grew up in, at an age when my imagination frequently ran riot and I was convinced I was being watched from every tree and shrub. By what or whom I’m still not sure, but I can clearly remember that feeling on summer evenings such as this, when the silence is almost tangible.
Out in the open insects are making the most of the late sunshine to stoke up on nectar fuel for the night. Hogweed is in flower and almost every umbel has at least one pair of mating soldier beetles.
The slightly cooler temperature of an early evening can make it easier to photograph some insects as they are intent on feeding and move a little slower.
A movement at the top of a long grass stem caught my eye and I found this lovely Forest bug balancing there. It has a lovely bronzy sheen to its wing-cases.
Brambles are beginning to develop berries, but there are still flowers on some bushes attracting bees and hoverflies.
One of my favourite wildflowers, the Harebell is in fresh full bloom now. Sometimes they find themselves growing in goups, caught up amongst long grass stems where they grow longer stems to reach the open air.
I love to see them best growing from shorter turf, their beautiful blue bells held aloft on sturdy wiry stems where they can turn towards the sun and nod and wave freely in the breeze.
An important summer nectar flower, Hemp Agrimony, whose dusky pink flowers are relished by some species of butterflies is also blooming now. The impressive stand of it in my photograph was in shade this evening, so no visitors; I’ll have to come back earlier on a sunny day.
While some plants are at the peak of their flowering, others are already beginning to produce their fruits. I mentioned blackberries earlier, which are just beginning to form, but there are wild-growing raspberries here that are perfectly ripe. I couldn’t resist picking and eating a few; sorry birds.
The hips on the Burnet Roses are formingly nicely, already a good size and red in colour, they will get bigger yet and turn black.
There are tiny acorns on the oak trees too.
And the Rowan trees have ripening berries.
Back into the woods for a short while and its very quiet, although I have heard a Chiffchaff as I’ve been walking around and disturbed a young Robin where it was pecking around on the damp earth of the track. Emerging back into the sunshine onto the grassy hillside I also disturbed a rabbit that raced off up the steep hill in front of me. I watched its white cotton tail bobbing away and envying the effortless way it bounded up there. There are a lot of rabbits here that do a great job of grass-keeping in certain areas, but you don’t see them often.
Almost at the top of the hill I stopped to gaze at the view as I always do. That’s not just to catch my breath, although it helps, but it’s a stunning view whatever time of day or year you’re admiring it. I love it when as now the sun is lower in the sky and shadows sculpt the hills. The sky was particularly interesting this evening too.
On the rockier summit of the hill, where the soil is thinner and more calcareous, the fascinating Carline thistle thrives. For much of the year you can see the dried out remains of the leaves and flowers, but now is the time to catch it coming into full curious flower. I will go into more detail about this plant in a later post.
I had seen a few butterflies during the course of my walk, all fluttering around in the long grass. There were a few Small Heaths, but most were Meadow Browns. Just as I was heading back towards a woodland path to head back to the car, this one fluttered into view and landed on the tight bud of a knapweed flower. I was really pleased, as although this is an abundant species here, they are rarely this obliging and views such as this are not often offered.