27th July

A female Southern Hawker dragonfly has been visiting our garden regularly of late. In fact the other day she found her way into our kitchen and couldn't get out easily. As she rested this afforded a great opportunity to study her at close quarters. After taking a few snaps she was guided safely back outside. She was none the worse for her visit and has been seen again on subsequent days, hawking around the garden looking for unwary insects to pounc on.

Today's Fleur du Jour is Hogweed. Whilst May finds the hedgerows full of feathery Cow Parsley, come July it's the altogether more chunky Hogweed that is to be found lining the wayside.

27th July

Today's Fleur du Jour is Lesser Stitchwort, an easily overlooked small white flower. It's five white petals are so deeply lobed that at first glance it looks like there are actually ten petals to each flower. This one was on the central path that goes through the souther section of Burgess Field Nr.

Lesser Stitchwort

24th July

Today's Fleur du Jour is Rosebay Willowherb. One of the Willowherb family, it can commonly be seen in many places in our country side. It's an example of a pioneer species due to its ability quickly to colonise newly cleared areas such as after a fire. In fact in North America it is known as Fireweed for this reason. This photo was taken on the path through the centre of the southern end of Burgess Field.

Rosebay Willowherb

19th July

Ian Curtis reported a couple of OYSTERCATCHERS in the field above the Perch Inn on Monday evening.

Adrian Gray writes:
Dunno if you've had a chance to visit the newly open Wolvercote Lakes (AKA the Gullet) yet. I was in there this evening and, although there's nothing much out of the ordinary at the mo, we had some stunning views of a kingfisher fishing. First one I've seen all year, so to be so close and to see it doing its thing was brilliant. Made my day!
Fleur du jour is Brooklime, a succulent herb that grows in the margins of streams and ditches etc. I found it along the Castle Mill Stream.


18th July Oxeye Daisy

Today's fleur du jour is Oxeye Daisy. A common plant to be found in lots of places in Burgess Field NR

Oxeye Daisy

Thursday 17th July

This wonderfully sunny summer that we're having is carrying on unabated. Of course this heat does have its downside: the floods are now completely dry with only a few Black-headed Gulls left picking over the dried up mud. There's been plenty of insect life to look at by way of compensation with a good selection of Ringlets, Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns, Essex and Small Skippers as well as the usual commoner species about. I even had a Ringlet in the garden the other day, a first for my garden. Down the Castle Mill Stream there are plenty of Damselflies with Common Blue, Blue-tailed and Red-eyed being the three species present. The first dragonflies are out now with a couple of Brown Hawkers and a Black-tailed Skimmer seen this week. I'm still mothing away though there's been nothing of particular note in the morning egg boxes recently. 

Black-tailed Skimmer
Egg laying pair of Red-eyed Damselflies

As I forgot the fleur du jour yesterday, here is one for today as well. It's Creeping Cinquefoil, a pretty little yellow flower that can create a carpet of cover where it is found. This one was on the main path in Burgess Field hear the first crossroads.
Creeping Cinquefoil

Tuesday 15th July Lady's Bedstraw

Today's flower du jour is Lady's Bedstraw, so called because it was traditionally used to stuff mattress as the smell apparently deters fleas. The flowers were also used to colour the cheese Double Gloucester and to make yellow dyes. In Denmark it's used to infuse spirits to make the drink bj√∂sk. This one was found in Burgess Field on the path between the West Copse. 

Lady's Bedstraw

14th July Black Medick

Today's flower du jour is Black Medick, a small yellowish clover that can easily be overlooked. I found this one by the Castle Mill Stream just behind the Walton Well Road car park. It can be distinguished from other similar species by the small point on the tip of the leaf.

Black Medick

12th July Common Bird's-foot Trefoil

Today's fleur du jour is Common Bird's-foot Trefoil. This is a common member of the Vetch family, so called because the seed heads come in clumps of three which look like a bird's foot (see photo below).  It's quite a small plant ranging in height from 5 to 20 cm and it flowers from June to September. This one was snapped on the main path near the two copses.

Friday 11th July

Today's flower is Perforate St John's-wort. There are several St John's-wort species which are rather similar and one has to look at details of the stem and leaves etc. to make sure of the identification. The "Perforate" part of the name refers to tiny oil glands in the leaves which look like translucent windows or perforations. St. John's-wort is of course quite well known as a herbal treatment for depression. This plant is again along the central path northwards through the southern end of the reserve.

Perforate St. John's-wort

10th July Common Mallow

It's all quiet on the Meadow at present. The last pool of flood water is hanging on thanks to some recent heavy rainfall but it's only a matter of time before it dries up. There was a single LITTLE RINGED PLOVER there a few days ago but now it's just loafing Black-headed Gulls and the two COMMON TERNS who hang out there. 

Here's today's Fleur du Jour: the Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris), a common flower as it's name suggests which can be found along hedgerows and waste ground in all sorts of places. In Burgess Field it can be found for example along the hedge of the path that goes north through the centre of the southern end of the reserve.

Common Mallow

9th July Fleur du Jour

In an effort to keep my interest up over the summer months I thought that I'd start to get to know some of the flowers that are to be found in Burgess Field NR. Now, I know next to nothing about flowers but given the power of the internet, these days that shouldn't be too much of a problem. Accordingly I've gone and taken some shots of a few flowers and gradually worked out what they are before checking them on i-Spot to have the ID's confirmed or corrected. I'm then gradually going to offer them up here on this blog as an occasional "Fleur du jour".

Today's inaugural offering is Dove's-foot Crane's-bill (Geranium molle). Crane's-bill is the common name for the Geranium family of which there are some 420 members world-wide. This common flower can be found for example tucked away in front of the hedgerow along the main path northwards along the west side of Burgess Field. It's similar to the Hedgerow Crane's-bill though that has larger flowers.

Dove's-foot Crane's-bill (Geranium molle)

Wednesday 2nd July

I realised that I'd not been to visit Burgess Field for quite a while now and so today I did a late afternoon yomp around much of the patch area. First stop was the Trap Grounds to look for dragonflies and damselflies though all I could find were a few Blue-tailed Damsels. There were a few Ringlet butterflies in the long grass of the clearing but that was about it.

The floods are still just about hanging on in there with the main remaining pool being by Aristotle Lane exit. There are still plenty of Black-headed Gulls picking over the mud with quite a few Grey Herons and one LITTLE EGRET picking off the last of the trapped fish. Plenty of post-breeding Lapwings about and the Jericho RED KITE was on the deck picking at a gull carcass.

The resident Red Kite

In Burgess Field itself there were loads of butterflies about - the warm dry weather is no doubt making for an excellent summer for these insects. Marbled Whites were everywhere, there were quite a few Ringlets and Meadow Browns as well as good numbers of Essex Skipper and one Small Skipper. On the bird front I came across a total of 5 STOCK DOVE feeding on the pathways within the reserve.

One of many Essex Skippers