A dry day yesterday, and a forecast for a dry and warm weekend, the first since the end of May, I set off in the morning to investigate what had happened in Old Down Wood. All along Brislands the verge was covered in the same gigantic Hogweed and Bracken we had seen in Kitwood yesterday. However in amongst the greenery there was the Rosy flowers of the Rose Bay Willow-Herb, a lovely name that just rolls off the tongue.
The wheat on the south side looked like it needed some sun to ripen it while the barley field to the north looked well advanced and probably near to harvesting, both fields though showed signs of the rain beating the crops down.
Although I expected some thick growth in the wood I didn't expect the dense vegetation that greeted me as I climbed over the style. Bracken, nettles and hogweed completely closed the path in.
It was very wet, and so I came off the path and walked through the wood, amongst the remains of the bluebells, and the leaf litter left over from last year. I headed back to the footpath at the cross roads, and was even more amazed at how dense the grass was.
It was still quite early, so I walked around to see if the Tawny Owl was in it's usual tree. There was no sign of any droppings, and no sign of the owl, so maybe it has now moved on to another roost. I walked back to the main path, past the wet area that was now covered in pond weed, and looked more like grass than water. The path was very wet, and everywhere the plants were very tall. It was just like a tropical rain forest, and to make the scene appear even more Jurassic, as I watched some meadow browns a large Emperor Dragonfly cruised around the ride, but unfortunately it never stopped to allow a photograph.
I headed out towards the pond, to see if there were anymore dragonflies there. Again despite the fact that there were some nice warm sunny spots there was very little about. I managed to find a few Azure Damselflies but that was mostly all that was about. However the main feature of the pond, was that a huge bough had been broken off an Oak tree, and had fallen across the path that allowed you to walk around the pond. I am not sure what had done this, maybe wind of even lightning, but it was a very large fall, and will take a time to clear.
I walked back to Old Down, and stopped in the rape field to look through the daisies that were now flowering above the rape seed heads. Meadow browns flew amongst the flowers, and bees were also very busy. I found a red soldier beetle or bloodsucker clinging to a grass stem, and transferred it to the head of a daisy, which made a nice composition.
Back in Old Down, it was now warming up, so I walked along the main path looking for butterflies. This snail though caught my eye, it is a Brown Lipped snail, and was taking advantage of the thick vegetation growth.
There were butterflies around, but they were all Meadow Browns. This one though caught with the sun behind it looked quite special.
I spent some time waiting by the bracken and bramble that was in the sunlight, hoping that maybe there might be something different, but to no success. I did manage to capture this spider in its web. The web lit up by the sun, as it was strung from another very high thistle, but don't ask me what species of spider it is!
Scorpion flies and bees could be seen on the bracken and bramble, but this beetle caught my eye.
This is Strangalia Maculta, which is very similar to a wasp beetle, but with a more elongated thorax than it's commoner cousin.
I waited and waited but it was only meadow browns that were attracted to the sunlight. Time had beaten me so I headed back out to the Brislands exit, and home, hopeful that maybe the good weather would continue over the rest of the weekend.