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John Vetterlein's Wildlife & Butterfly Walk - 9th September

Sunday 9th September 2018

To end 2018's series of 'Flower & Butterfly' walks a bumper crowd of 25 joined John Vetterlein at the Old Cemetery [01] – and no wonder, as the weather was perfect throughout, warm with just a slight breeze. Following an introduction to the Cemetery, and following his familiar circular route, John pointed out many species of flowering and fruiting plants as well as a selection of butterflies, and some plant galls. Further, often aided by enthusiasts in the throng, we came across various fungi – particularly some fine Parasols [02] - some grasshoppers and a splendid Southern Hawker dragonfly [03] in addition to spotting a nuthatch and a pair of circling buzzards, all clearly eager to make an appearance before the series of walks ended.
As for the plants on offer, starting at the Japanese 'Hiba' tree, we moved on to note Common Cat's Ear, Bittersweet (yes, still very much in flower), Hedge Bindweed, Agrimony (in flower and fruit [04]), Bird-Foot Trefoil, OxEye Daisies, Dandelions and Daisies, Rough Hawksbit, and Smooth Hawksbeard. Around this point a gall, Robin's Pin-Cushion, was spotted, to be swiftly followed by another bevy of flowers, including Creeping Thistle [05], Yarrow, Red Clover, some Buttercups, Lesser Hogweed, Wood Avens [06], Ribwort Plantain, some white Cyclamen (clearly planted by a visitor) and the berries of Black Bryony. At this point, the Weeping Beech [07] entered the proceedings, followed by the Bottle-brush Buckeye (currently with 'conker'-style fruit [08]), Knapweed, our large clump of Canadian Golden Rod, some Ragwort, Spear Thistle, Broad-Leaved Everlasting Pea [09] and Field Maple with its typical 'helicopter' fruit [10]. An oak tree with Knopper galls was noted opposite the large clump of Rosebay Willow-herb on the Main Carriageway, along with with some distant Buddleia, Square-stemmed St John's Wort, Michaelmas Daisy [11] and Herb Robert. Then, as we moved across to the drier and semi-heathland area, we found Bell Heather, Devil's Bit Scabious and a little Honeysuckle. Further down, off the Yew Tree Path, there was some Ivy in flower [12], Western Red Cedar and Ling. Just across the Path, we also visited the Indian Bean Tree in fruit [13], and came across some Hedgerow Cranesbill and Harebell. The final few minutes of the walk were spent in discussion of the Atlas Cedar by the Yew Tree Path, which bears both male and female cones.
Butterflies were, as may be expected, fewer than earlier in the season, but some whites (probably Small Whites), a Speckled Wood or two, and, on the patch of Ling [14], some Small Coppers, as well as a Holly Blue close-by, all added to the day's tally.
As always, we must give our thanks to John for leading the walk as well as the earlier walks this year. As we all departed, several of those present said how much they looked forward to attending again in 2019. To all, we say it is a pleasure to see them and to thank them for having donated so generously afterwards towards the work FoSOC carries out in the Cemetery.