The land where I walk is currently unmanaged and there are large areas of this bright yellow plant growing along with areas of thistles so a real haven for insects.
Ragwort is a tall plant that grows to 90cm high and bears large, flat-topped clusters of yellow daisy-like flowers from July to October. It contains chemicals that are toxic to cattle. So it is often removed on farmland where cattle graze.
Ragwort supports many species of bee, beetle and other insects including the cinnabar moth, meaning it is important to conservation in the UK.
cinnabar moth caterpillars.
Brown and Green Grasshoppers.
Some 13 miles drive from home takes me to Beacon Hill near Exton Hampshire. Situated on the Winchester end of the South DownsWay.
Views around Beacon Hill near Exton Hampshire.
Coming down off the hill towards Winchester the fields became blue with Flax plants.
Flax has been grown in Hampshire for several years The blue flower is a wildflower in California. Flax is grown for the oil of its seeds, (linseed oil) Flaxseeds are a golden yellow to reddish-brown colour. They contain phytoestrogens, which are similar to the hormone estrogen. Flaxseed oil contains the essential omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid. Flaxseed has been eaten as a food or used as a medicine since 5000 BC.
Among the blue flowers were the odd white one.
We headed north today onto the hills near Winchester Hampshire. There were too many people out on Old Winchester Hill and wanting to maintain appropriate social distancing from others we found a spot just down the road with views across the hills.
Given the baking hot sun, the light breeze up higher under the shade of some large Beech Trees made a nice spot to take the deck chairs out and chill out.
Solanum dulcamara has been valued by herbalists since ancient Greek times. In the Middle Ages, the plant was thought to be effective against witchcraft, and was sometimes hung around the neck of cattle to protect them from the ” evil eye “. It has many names “local” names bittersweet, bittersweet nightshade, bitter nightshade, blue bindweed, Amara Dulcis, climbing nightshade, fellenwort, felonwood, poisonberry, poison-flower, scarlet berry, snakeberry, trailing bittersweet, trailing nightshade, violet bloom, or woody nightshade is a species of vine in the potato genus Solanum, family. A bit later in the year, the berries will turn bright red.
The cows also seemed to be enjoying the breeze on the top of the hill by the tree line.
Today was another bright morning and my lockdown walk down the road from home never fails to provide some good wildlife spotting.
The Kestral’s were active on their nest site. At one point a squirrel approached the nest too close and was seen off by one of the birds.
Near the Kestrels nest site is a woodpecker’s nest. You can hear the baby birds if you listen by the tree.
A lone fox resting in the sun.
and an inquisitive Roebuck.
Another walk while we remain on this “Lockdown”. The local horses have had enough. There will be an announcement by the Government on Sunday and we may have a slight lifting of some of our restrictions on what we can do & where we can go. While not wanting to mix with crowds it would be nice to be able to go to some other places to watch nature.
On the usual route, passing baby rabbits – crossing the footpath and into the woodland to see what is about.
A not such a great picture of a Great-spotted Woodpecker.
Within the woods is a small meadow where this large dragonfly was flying the first one spotted this year. This one is a Wide-bodied-chaser-dragonfly a female (the male is pale blue). luckily it decided to land.
At the end of today’s walk and just when I thought there would be no deer sighting this Roebuck appeared just off the footpath.