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John Vetterlein's Wildlife & Butterfly Walk - 17th September

Tuesday 19th September 2017

Our final 'Flower & Butterfly' walk of 2017 attracted 18 people to the Cemetery for two hours of enjoyment and information under pleasant skies. Following his now familiar circular route, John kept us keen as he pointed out around 40 species of flowering or fruiting plants – with some species showing both stages in proximity - and also several types of galls. Most of the species found were now familiar from earlier walks, as you can see from the list below; indeed, some have appeared on all seven walks, so do refer back to those accounts for more photos. It must be said, though, that some types are now represented by fewer and sometimes flagging specimens.
The entrance area was still showing several species in flower, including Red Dead-nettle [1], Mouse-ear Hawkbit, Fox-and-cubs (an introduced member of the Daisy family that is now widespread and that offers a fine splash of colour [2]), Common Cat's Ear, Red Clover, Daisies, Yarrow, Green Alkanet [3], Hedge Bindweed, Meadow Vetchling, a Japanese 'Hiba' tree (related to the Red Cedar) [4], Rough Hawksbit, Herb-Robert, Germander Speedwell, Agrimony [in fruit, 5], Black Bryony (seen here winding around a cross with its attractive but poisonous berries [6]), Herb Bennett, Stinging Nettle, Cinquefoil and Oxeye Daisies. We paused so John could bid an 'au revoir' to our weeping beech and its neighbouring Giant Sequoia for this year, but soon proceeded with Ground Elder, Nipplewort, Knotgrass, Rosebay Willow Herb, Ragwort [7], Bittersweet, Dandelion, Hogweed, Buttercup, Spangle Galls [8] and a Marble gall [9], the latter two both on oak. In the central open area of the Cemetery we examined a patch of Bell Heather [10], nearby Devil's Bit Scabious [see later], Rosehips [11], and Robin's Pin-Cushion galls [here shown sectioned, 12]. Then, in a final frenzied floral flourish in one small area off the Yew Tree Path, John found Hedgerow Cranesbill [13], Smooth Hawk's Beard, Bird's Foot Trefoil, Burnet Saxifrage, Ribwort Plantain, Common Knapweed and Harebell - still showing well by the Belgian Memorial – as well as many of the species found earlier in the walk, thus managing a quick recap of the day's riches.
Butterflies were, as expected, rather less evident than in recent months; several were seen at a distance but these were not clearly identifiable. However, a Red Admiral, some Speckled Woods and a Large White on some Devil's Bit Scabious [14] were spotted when the sun made a more determined appearance later in the walk. Birds were not forgotten either, as a pair of Green Woodpeckers posed for our pleasure, Swallows passed overhead and some Long-tailed and other tits flitted about among the trees.
We must all thank John Vetterlein for leading today's walk, and for all the walks this year; several of those present today commented on how much they looked forward to next year's series, and two people even asked if we could do additional walks on grasses and trees as well, not to mention more on birds and bats! Of course we aim to please, but for this year FoSOC can only thank again all the people who have attended the walks and the many who have donated so generously in our support.