Friday 27 May 2011

Sunny afternoon

Not a Kinks retrospective, sorry. More a trip to Totternhoe Knolls to look at flowers.

But first, a little gratuitous odonatery...

A male Red-eyed Damselfly
This little fellow was sat in a sunny spot, out of the breeze, at Stony Stratford Nature Reserve. In flight, he stood out from all the Azure Damselflies around him due to that large black shield on his thorax. He looked a more solid flying creature than his blue cousins.

Moving on to the Wildlife Trust site at Totternhoe, the Admiral was keen to show us this chalk grassland site, formed from the spoil of quarrying in medieval times. On a sunny bank, were many Common Twayblades, which is a sort of plain-clothes orchid for undercover work. Either that or it's just had enough of all that flashy stuff that the other orchids do, and wants a quiet life where no-one will take any notice of it. Unlucky. It is thought that the name probably derives from Old Norse, as the modern Swedish name is Tva Blad, meaning two leaves. However, the flower is unmistakably an orchid.

Whilst ambling around the undulations of the reserve, we spotted several Dingy Skipper butterflies feeding on flowers of the vetch family (and I am resisting the temptation to put an 'h' in Dingy and go off on a maritime theme for several paragraphs).

Ahoy, Cap'n... stop it right now, Tense
The alkalinity of the soil, the lack of nutrients, plus close grazing by rabbits, means that a distinct flora exists on the site, where normal species cannot colonise. Certainly, this Green Dock Beetle was a long way from home on a Cowslip.

Not in the Dock for once
Some local resident obviously walks their dog through the reserve on a daily basis, judging by the amount of crap it has deposited everywhere. So quite how long it is before the nutrient level is increased, to the detriment of all the chalk loving plants, is anybody's guess. What a chump.

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