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John Vetterlein's Wildlife & Butterfly Walk

Monday 20th March 2017

This year's series of outdoor public events got off to a fine start with the first of John Vettterlein's 'Wildlife & Butterfly' walks, attracting 28 attendees including over half-a-dozen familiar FoSOC faces. While the weather may have been unpromising at the start, a nuthatch calling by the entrance gate heralded more promise for the afternoon - as was duly fulfilled. (Numbers in square brackets refer to the sequence of the accompanying pictures.) John introduced the cemetery [1] and its management before launching into the variety of flora around the entrance area. As woodland species tend to be in flower earlier than those in more open areas, the walk then focussed on the woodland, shaded part of the cemetery, meandering by the west wall and main drive before turning back towards the main entrance via the central area. This provided plenty to see, both under the trees and then along path edges and in the nooks and crannies either side. For those who like lists, the public were shown red deadnettle, a Laurustinus bush [2], daisies, primroses [3], a purple-leaved cherry plum [4 & 5], barren strawberry, yew, wood anemone [6], lesser celandine [7], our wild daffodils [8] (as well as the numerous cultivated ones), a dandelion, lesser periwinkle [9], common dog violets [10], wild cherry tree, summer snowflake [11], elm tree, sloe (blackthorn) [12], our famous rhododendron [13], and finally a clump of lungwort [14]. John had also found time en-route to point out some of our noteworthy trees not in flower, including the redwood sequoia, weeping beech [15] and variegated box [16], and to demonstrate ivy's two leaf forms, as well as to explain the importance of that species and holly in the life-cycle of the holly blue butterfly. Alas, the prevalent dull conditions had deterred any actual butterflies from making an appearance, but there was some late compensation provided by good views of a pair of green woodpeckers feeding around anthills. The afternoon was clearly enjoyed by those present [17], and this was reflected in the subsequent sales of booklets and the donations made to help FoSOC's work. Many thanks, John, and see you next month!