Monday, 16 August 2010

Holies Hanging, Streatley

Another natural history group outing took me just up the Thames at Streatley. This steep western edge of the Goring Gap is a National Trust nature reserve. A busy afternoon was spent mainly chasing butterflies, which were present in large numbers. For a report on all that the group found please look here. For other walks that include this area please see Goring and Streatley; Holies in Late Summer and Hartslock to Holies.

The Wild Carrot (Daucus carota) has an interesting flower, the seed head folds itself inwards after the flowers have finished.

wild carrot

A relatively widespread plant, the Bird's foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), looked particularly attractive.

birds foot trefoil

But it was butterflies that took centre stage. There were lots of Common Blue butterfly and also Chalkhill Blue (Polyommatus coridon), appropriately on this chalk hill.

Chalkhill blue

Here is the same individual with its wings closed.

Chalkhill blue

Grasshoppers were abundant. I think this is the Common Field Grasshopper.

common field grasshopper

Just about out in flower were Carline Thistles (Carlina vulgaris), which will be present for months to come in their dried form. The flower does not look much like a thistle.

carline thistle

The steep chalk slopes give a good view south east over the Thames.

Holies hanging,streatley

These clustered bellflowers (Campanula globerata) were attractive too.

wild carrot

A less abundant butterfly that looks very similar to a female common blue is the Brown Argus (Aricia agestis) butterfly.

Brown argus

This strange red fuzz is Robin's pincushion gall (Diplolepis rosae). The gall is caused by a wasp which induces the plant to produce the distorted 'hip', it grows on roses, in this case it is probably a Dog Rose (Rosa canina).

robins nest

The prize for prettiest flower of the day goes to a group of Pale Toadflaxes (Linarea repens) with delicate veining. It does look more purple than usual and could possibly be Purple Toadflax or a hybrid?

purple toadflax

There were hosts of common blue butterflies (Polyommatus icarus).

common blue

The female common blue butterfly can be just as pretty in its own way as the male. There were some Adonis blues but unfortunately I do not have a good enough picture to share .

female common blue

Finally, another blue flower to end on, the evocatively named Devil's bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis).

wild carrot