The woods were warm, yet drenched with rain. There is nothing like the smell of a wet woodland on a summers day. The showers persisted, forcing me to decide between being too hot with a mac on but keeping dry, or getting wet, but staying cooler. The dark brown trunks of trees stood tall against the grey skies, the ferns dominated the woodland floor, engulfing the trees in waves of vivid green.
Amongst the woodlands, on the banks of the hillsides, small clearings in the woods allowed patches of heather to grow well. A beautiful pale shade of pink and violet flowers, with an almost silver appearance when caught by the light in the right way. A wonderful summer flower, providing a feast for many passing butterflies, moths and bumblebees!
|A spinning abstract of the heather|
|Bee on Heather|
|Grass catching the light|
Large clearings around the site provided great habitat for numerous other species. I imagine it to be a good site for reptiles, with plenty of open south facing banks and lots of cover in the form of long grasses, log piles, and burrows. Plenty of crickets and grasshoppers for the odd snack as well. Whilst on the subject of insects - the butterflies were incredible too! My first small copper of the year so far, speckled wood, silver washed fritillary and common blue. As I sat in the heathland enjoying the warmth of the midday sun, the occasional dragonfly joined me to rest on the open branches of logs and twigs.
|A male Common Darter (welcome to corrections!)|
|Silver washed fritillary|
|Common Blue female|
|Man picking lavender|
|Bumbles in the lavender|
It takes an awful lot for me to like any of my photos. But the next photo is terrible. I could have pretended to try and capture the spirit of butterfly watching, when often you get a blurry flutter disappear into the distance. But this is my best attempt at photoing the beautiful clouded yellow butterfly, as it was carried in the wind across the tops of the lavender. It stopped to rest once, but not for long enough. Rachael described it as looking like 'a yellow piece of tissue caught in the wind'.
|Clouded Yellow impersonating yellow tissue|
I was really impressed with both the King's Wood and Rammamere Heath Wildlife Trust site, and Hitchin lavender. The lavender providing the foundations of a wonderful food chain, from plant to the insectivorous predator the swallow. Plus I got to take a bag of lavender home with me as well, of which I shall leave in my car in an attempt to mask its bad odours... Thank ya'll for reading, and keep enjoying this wonderful summer as best you can !