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Flower and Butterfly walk - 12 August 2018

Monday 13th August 2018

August's 'Flower & Butterfly' walk took place on a cool but pleasant afternoon, occupying a dry interval during a generally wet day - at least until the very end when the rain shower resumed. Attended by 10 visitors, including some familiar faces, John Vetterlein [01] introduced the Old Cemetery and its management to all, and then led us on a route taking in the surroundings of the Anglican Chapel, along the Main Carriageway and finally across to the Yew Tree Path and selected areas either side. Alas, the weather was not conducive to butterfly sightings, and only one (probably a Speckled Wood) was noted during the near-two hours of the walk, but the flora did not disappoint.
We started with Knapweed and Agrimony [02], and this was followed by Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea, Red Clover, Bird's-foot Trefoil, Rough Hawkbit, Herb Robert, Cat's Ear and Rosebay Willow Herb [03] - the last present in one or two patches in sufficient quantity to challenge the dominance of bramble. We next found some Lords and Ladies in fruit, and then flowering Burnet Saxifrage, Tufted Vetch [04] and Yarrow.
Of course no walk of John's would be complete without a visit to the Weeping Beech and the Bottle-brush Buckeye, and this offered a pause before we were shown Common Fleabane, Bittersweet, Golden Rod [05], Hedge Bindweed and Nipplewort [06]. An oak tree with several Knapper galls changed the emphasis of the walk, but the floral show resumed with Square-stemmed St John's Wort [07], Bramble (including one variety with an unusual leaf-form [08]), Creeping Thistle, Toadflax [09] and a beautiful fruiting Rowan tree [10].
In the heart of the heathland section of the Cemetery we noted a patch of Bell Heather and Ling, and, unexpectedly in its midst, a Wasp Spider on its web – all three are shown in [11]. After pausing to admire and photograph this, the group headed down to the locality of the Belgian War Memorial to see the clump of Harebell [12], which brought us to the end of the walk.
As always, a heartfelt 'thank you' is owed to John for the walk, and thanks to all attending and who donated so generously; as this series of walks is a joint one between FoSOC and the Southampton Natural History Society, this month's donations were accepted on behalf of the latter.
Our final flower and butterfly walk of the year will be on 9th September, and we hope to see you there.