Thursday 13th July

In a fit of enthusiasm I went for a run up to Godstow last weekend. I didn't take my camera so only had my phone (hence the poor picture quality) but there were a few interesting things to see along the way which I thought that I'd share. They were mostly of a botanical nature but it is July after all so there's not much else about at present.

Chicory always adds a bit of colour at this time of year

A Comma butterlfy showing the white underwing mark that gives it its name.

Good King Henry, growing by the nunnery ruins at Godstow

I hadn't realised that Himalayan Balsam grew along the riverside here. It's a bit of a pest once it gets established but I've not seen it here before

Marbled White on Black Horehound

Birthwort (nationally a rare plant) growing behind the nunnery

Monday 3rd July

I can't believe that it's been more than a month since my last posting so to all expectant readers I'm sorry about that. There's been plenty of stuff to report albeit nothing out of the ordinary. In view of the long interval since my last post I'll endeavour to do a fairly comprehensive summary of what's going on presently.

This is probably the section with least to report. With no flood waters it's really just a case of enjoying the summer visitors and following the progress of the breeding birds as they try to bring up their offspring. In fact the most noteworthy report this month was a couple of LITTLE EGRETS feeding down by the boat moorings recently. Common Tern have been feeding along the river and the usual hirundines and Swifts have been about. I've kept a look out for Hobbies but so far haven't seen any.

The two Little Egrets were catching lots of fish fry

With help from Will Langdon, we've managed to find a total of six BEE ORCHIDS within Burgess Field though the council's policy of mowing the paths at this time of year doesn't exactly help the cause. Still it's good to see this species holding its own in the reserve. It's a shame that we no longer have the Pyramidal Orchids in the Trap Grounds - there used to be quite a few of them a few years back but I've not seen any for quite a while.

Bee Orchid

One of my pet botanical obsessions is looking at weeds growing in unlikely places and the recent works down by the Aristotle footbridge, whilst being highly distruptive and leaving what is quite frankly a bit of an eye-sore in its wake, have had an effect in this respect. The imported soil that they used to construct the bank opposite Phil & Jim's school must have been full of seeds as all sorts of interesting weeds have sprung up along the bank there. I'll report more on this in another post.

The Tubular Water Dropwort is out in good numbers and I managed to find the Wild Clary down at the southern end of the flood area once again this year.

Tubular Water Dropwort

Wild Clary
As you'd expect at this time of year there is plenty of insect action. The Common Clubtail only ended up staying a couple of days but the Hairy Hawker stayed around for longer. It was great to see this latter species in the Trap Grounds as this is, to my knowledge, the first year that this species has been recorded here. In the Trap Grounds I saw my first Brown Hawker of the year today and also spotted a newly emerged Four Spotted Chaser in Tim's Pond. Ruddy and Common Darters are now also about - it's nice to have them back again.

Hair Hawker

Down by the river there has been a fair bit of Odonata action with a Black-tailed Skimmer, a couple of Emperors and a pair of Four Spots all seen. There have also of course been all the usual damselflies with Common, Azure, Blue-tailed and Red-eyed all to be found along the Castle Mill Stream along with the ever-exotic Banded Demoiselles.

Black-tailed Skimmer

On the butterfly front the Marbled Whites and Ringlets are out now, especially the latter in the Trap Grounds. I've not looked for the Small and Essex Skippers in Burgess Field yet but they should be out now too.

So all in all it's an exciting time of year with lots happening. I'll endeavour to post more frequently going forward.