30 Days Wild – Day 16

Another grey showery day – has nobody informed the weather that it’s supposed to be June?

After a dawn bat survey, where the dawn chorus was the only activity I witnessed, I called by at a local SSSI on the way back into the office. This was The Drift, a bronze-age trackway which runs along the historic Lincolnshire/Leicestershire border and has a beautiful array of wildflowers, particularly species which favour the limestone soils. Some of the most impressive, such as the yellow toadflax, were not yet properly out but one of my favourites – the blue meadow cranesbill – was just coming into flower.

I had called in at this site for Day 7 of #30DaysWild and it’s great to see the advance of the species, some of which were now at the end of their flowering period whilst others which were not out a week ago are now in bloom.

Keeping an eye on a local site and watching the way the flora and fauna change throughout the year provides an unique relationship with nature, and allows you to observe and learn how the ecosystems work.

Viper’s bugloss is a striking plant which produces large numbers of purple/blue flowers which are a huge hit with the bumblebees – many small workers were buzzing around this plant when I visited in spite of the recent rain. It is easily attractive enough to find a place in your garden borders too, and the bees will certainly thank you for it!

The wild mignette is in full flower now – another limestone species which is relatively inconspicuous with it’s pale yellow flowers amongst the long grass. Equally subtle right now, the yellow toadflax is only currently in bud and will soon be much more impressive, rather like a garden snapdragon. My parents sent me a photograph of this species in full flower from the south downs last week, but as usual, the midlands is a little way behind the south in phenology.

Quaking oat grass

Quaking oat is a beautiful architectural grass which favours limestone or chalk soils, and is often associated with older meadows. Grass flowers are easily overlooked, but are always worthy of closer inspection.