Brentor Commons Update – July 2017

Red Admiral butterfly

It seems that nationally it has been a successful year so far for butterflies. On the common, even on a drizzly wet day, there were good numbers on the wing flitting along in front of us as we walked around. There were plentiful ringlets and meadow browns with the occasional red admiral.  As well as butterflies there was a pair of golden banded dragonflies fiercely patrolling the top path, they settled regularly to give us time to make a good identification.  The damp dewy weather also showed us the vast population of spiders as their webs were rendered visible by the droplets that had settled on them.


This month’s umbelliferae are the hogweed and the creamy yellow billows of meadowsweet, again having completely replaced the hedge bank and roadside valerian of June.  The meadowsweet is a real favourite of mine, the scent can be overwhelming, even competing with the honeysuckle’s cloyingly narcotic smell. It is impossible to resist inhaling the scent as one walks past.
The vetches, relative of the pea family, can now be seen in purple, yellow and white varieties representing quite separate species. Patches of reddish purple betony are all along the path edges providing pollen and nectar for the bumble bees so aptly named as they clumsily career from one flower head to the next.
After some work clearing the path to the pond on Liddaton, I saw, sitting adjacent to each other, two of the regular birds of that locality, the brilliant male yellowhammer and a linnet with lovely crisp reddish marking to its breast and forehead.  The different postures of the two were striking with the slim erect linnet contrasting with the larger and stockier more horizontal perching of the yellowhammer.

Barry Albrighton
Click here to see earlier monthly Commons updates by Barry Albrighton