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John Vetterlein's Wildlife & Butterfly Walk - 16th July

Monday 17th July 2017

July's 'Flower & Butterfly' walk attracted a more select group than earlier walks in the year, eight in total including several FoSOC members. John Vetterlein [1] pointed out over a dozen species of flowering plants on the lawn by the Cross of Sacrifice alone, before leading us towards and then along the Main Carriageway, followed by a wide circular route (with detours) back to the Main Entrance. This month we noted, as expected, signs of a shifting balance from flowers to fruit – although still plenty of the former to admire – and a significant increase in the number of butterfly species on view. Fortunately, for both us and the butterflies, the day was warm and produced several sunny intervals, enabling us to spot 13 species of butterfly as well as some attractive moths and other insects. Also fortunately for us, Phil Budd was on hand to enlighten us on some of the latter. Using the same format as previous accounts for this year, the plants we found were: Daisy, Buttercup, Cat's Ear, White Clover, Ribwort Plantain, Mouse Ear, Smooth Hawk's Beard, Selfheal, Yarrow, Harebell, Dovesfoot Cranesbill, Oxeye Daisies, and Common Knapweed [2] – these being the species found on the lawn. As we continued around the Cemetery, we added to the day's list: Rosebay Willow herb, Enchanters Nightshade, Hedge Bindweed, Tufted Vetch [3], Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea, Herb-Robert, both Common and Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil [4], Agrimony, our delightful Bottlebrush Buckeye [5], Cinquefoil, Creeping Thistle, Hogweed (with many rather occupied Soldier Beetles in attendance [6]) , Field Bindweed, Bittersweet (showing both flowers and fruit [7]), Stinging Nettle, Square-stemmed St John's Wort [8], fruit on both Walnut [9] and Rowan [10] trees, another Willowherb, Bell Heather and Ling, Honeysuckle and Lady's Bedstraw. As we headed back to the entrance, John found Perforate St John's Wort, some Robin's Pin-Cushion galls [11] (on oak twigs), and ended with two of his own favourite trees, the Indian Bean tree [12] and the currently very fragrant Silver Pendant Lime tree [13]. 'What about the butterflies?', I can almost hear you ask. These were more forthcoming than last month, and included Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Gatekeepers, Holly Blue, Marbled White, Large White, Small Skippers and Essex Skippers, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Comma, Small Copper [14 shown with Bell Heather and Ling] and Common Blue. The moths included both 5-spot and 6-spot Burnets; Phil also found a Lesser Stag Beetle. Thank you once again, John, for the walk, and Phil for once again adding 'extra value', and of course to those who attended. Only two more flower walks to go this year, so anybody who has been intending to come to one of them should make that diary entry now!