Monday, 21 April 2014

Rowley Hills ramble

On Saturday I went for a wander in the Rowley Hills, part of which is owned by the Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife Trust. I'd originally planned to look for butterflies there (mainly the elusive Green Hairstreaks) but the weather forecast had deteriorated somewhat since I originally planned my visit. However I thought I'd head out anyway to see what else I might spot and to explore to area a bit more extensively since my last visit!

First of all I inspected some of the outcrops of Rowley Rag (dolerite) from the former quarrying works. In many places it has weathered in a really interesting way, which I learnt from the handy leaflet in the link above is called spheroidal weathering. This is due to the tendency of the rocks to have formed spheroid shapes when they originally cooled and crystallised from magma, which have subsequently peeled away in layers as the rocks were weathered:

Spheroidal weathering of Rowley Rag.

Spheroidal weathering of Rowley Rag.
Spheroidal weathering of Rowley Rag.
Here are a few plants I spotted during my visit:

This was growing extensively on some of the exposed rock faces, it looks like Reflexed Stonecrop (Sedum rupestre).
There was a lot of this around, just starting to come into flower. I think it is Bush Vetch (Vicia sepium).
I can't see lovely Cuckoo Flowers (Cardamine pratensis) without taking a photo of them, especially such a hefty bunch as this.
The Cuckoo Flower bunch en situ!
On my walk around I heard and saw a good range of birds, including Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap and a tentatively singing Whitethroat. I saw a few raptors too - Buzzard, Kestrel, and the highlight, a pair of noisy Peregrines which flew right over me!

I'm looking forward to heading back to the Rowley Hills again soon when the chances of butterfly and wildflower action are better! :o)

The Rowley Hills.
The Rowley Hills.

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