Day 27, 28 and 29!….. small, but wonderfully calming, and wildly exciting, moments of random wildness as Team Lovett juggle a week of work, courses, after school clubs and a full school programme of family activites as we head into the last week of the school year next week.
On Monday, Day 27, it was Sports Day at school and we always head up to our ‘Top of the World’, otherwise known as Charlbury Hill, Wiltshire Trig Point, afterwards to celebrate a great afternoon and unwind in with some random wildness.
The views from ‘Top of the World’…
…and the vantage point
We were hoping to spot some butterflies, about this time last year there were lots about, but it was rather blowy today and we spotted just one Meadow brown and also a single Six-spot burnet moth. Georgia was impressed to learn that the bright red spots on this moths wings are a warning to predators to stay away, because it’s poisonous from feeding as a larvae on the wildflower Bird’s-foot trefoil, which contains the deadly chemical cyanide. Of course, she had to ask the question, “Why don’t the larvae die from eating the poison?”……. “Good question! We’ll look that up together when we get home”……. and on looking it up we found out that the larvae only eat small quantities of cyanide, so not enough to poison them, but it will make both the larvae and adult either poisonous or distateful to predators, particularly birds.
We were pleased to spot that the Pyramidal and Common spotted orchids were out and dotted around in various stages of flowering and so too were Common knapweed, Bird’s-foot trefoil, Tufted vetch and Kidney vetch.
Pyramidal and Common spotted orchids
We also spotted the parasitic wildflower, Broomrape, which up on this hill seems to favour the roots of Clover and Knapweed as hosts. It is very distinctive, a total lack of chlorophyll renders it a rusty brown colour and with pinkish-yellow flowers and an upright stance it is easily spotted amongst all the green grasses.
Day 28 and Mum and Dad had interesting wild finds at their respective places of work.
Mum spotted AND managed to photograph a Small skipper butterfly and a Garden chafer beetle in the garden she was working in, which she was pretty pleased about….
Garden chafer beetle
… and also a Pigeon eggshell, which Georgia was thrilled to add to her wildlife collection.
Pigeon eggshell, surprisingly interesting
Dad spotted Bee orchids at his ‘Outdoor office’ for the day….
One of the many Bee orchids spotted
…. and then he out did all of our other finds with one of the ‘Holy Grail’ of all wild discoveries……. a full snake skin!
Skin found on rough ground, which snake rubs against to help sheer skin off
The head and eye coverings
Top of skin
Underside of skin
Day 29, the penultimate day of 30 Days Wild, and the rain that started yesterday evening has continued throughout today and poor Georgia wasn’t feeling too well after school, so we were not feeling confident of having any wild news to post today.
However, a quick trip to the local garden centre resulted in us spotting a beautiful queen White-tailed bumblebee on the array of colourful flowers. She was huge and she put a huge smile back on Georgia’s face.
After supper Mum got random with a vengeance, snatched up the crabbing bucket and a dipping net and headed out into the rain and down to the stream that runs through the garden. We’ve only lived here a few months and have not investigated the stream for any life yet, but it has been on the agenda. The depth of the stream varies from about 2″ to 6″ depending on how much rain we’ve had, obviously, but never dries up, and runs through quite fast. We’ve never felt confident that we would find any life in it, not sure why, especially now, because the first dip Mum did brought up a whole bucket full of life, including Freshwater shrimp and Caseless caddis fly larvae.
Caseless caddis fly larvae
The whole of Team Lovett, including Hazel. were totally thrilled to bits. Guess what we’re going to be doing tomorrow?!
Happy wild days from Team Lovett 🙂 🙂 🙂