The Portland Naturalist

The Portland Naturalist

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Asparagus and the Virgin

Only in the study of natural history could one come up with a title to a blog post like that!  All will become clear.

Well, I say that, but actually things have not become clear at all. I woke up this morning to a scene familiar to those who remember yesterday...

After work, I rushed down to the Bill, because I wanted to join a botanical walk led by Brian Bland.  At least plant-watching isn't affected by the weather!  I was unfortunately rather late for it, so only caught the end.  I did however, still managed to appear, just as Brian was revealing the location of Wild Asparagus.  This is a plant which is extremely rare in Britain, with only a few other sites known.  These plants on the East Cliffs were trans-located here many years ago, to give them a good home, and they seem to be doing well, although sadly they were not in flower today.  Looks rather inconsequential doesn't it!

I was also in time to see the fantastic Portland Sea-lavender, although I had already seen some in bud before.

Also added to my Portland plant list was Strawberry Clover (the fruits do indeed look like tiny strawberries! - I'll try and get a photo later) and Autumn Hawkbit.
Next it was to the moth traps.  The highlight from the morning opening was the migrant Vestal.  What's in the name? Well this from good old Wikipedia: 'In ancient roman religion , the Vestals or Vestal Virgins, were priestesses of Vesta, goddess of the hearth'.

Also amongst the throng were a perfect comparison of Uncertain (left) and Rustic.

And this odd form of (a damaged) Marbled Green, a species I've seen a lot of in the block of flats where I deliver in Fortuneswell.

Not at all unusual, but this fresh Rosy Minor was just absolutely stunning.

 And finally, a Dusky Sallow.  A species which an old friend of mine back in Surrey called the 'toffee moth'.

I then took a short walk back down to the East Cliffs, but the visibility was as hopeless for birdwatching as ever.  Luckily, I found a cutting with steep grassy banks on each side, that was absolutely teeming with Lepidoptera!  Amongst the butterflies were Lulworth Skippers and Small Blues, but there were also some great moths.  These included my first ever Scarlet Tiger, which sadly got away before I got a picture.  But also, there were loads of these Chalk Carpets, which are quite a scarce species!  My first.  They were very jumpy, and this was the best pic I got!


The forecast looks cooler and cloudier for the next few days, which is brill.  Just keep that cloud at a height thank you!

No comments:

Post a Comment