Thursday, 25 June 2015

30 Days Wild | Day 25 - burnet moths, purple pea pals and GIANT hogweed!

On day 25 of 30 Days Wild I once again went for a lunch break stroll. The opportunities for finding and photographing wildflowers along the canal near my office have been drastically curtailed since the verges were BRUTALLY STRIMMED a couple of days ago (I'm still upset about this), so I went elsewhere instead. There is a large fairly newly-built road (Aston Webb Boulevard) round the corner from where I work which leads towards Selly Oak, which has some nice scrubby grassland at the edges, especially between the road and the railway track, so I went to have a look at that. Firstly though I took a quick photo of this small cute fern which grows on the railway bridge. I'm not able to identify many ferns but this one is quite easy:

Wall-rue (Asplenium ruta-muraria).
Down along the roadside, there were loads of very fresh-looking burnet moths, I'd spotted a small swarm of them yesterday so had hoped they'd still be around! I'm not very good at identifiying moths, UK Moths says that Six-spot Burnet is the most common, these definitely look to me as though they have five spots though - maybe someone better versed in moths would care to comment?

Possible Five-Spot Burnet (Zygaena trifolii) moths?
They were on a rather washed-out looking Creeping Thistle (Cirsium arvense).
As well as the burnet moths, I also spotted on my walk a Burnet Companion moth, and Ringlet and Large Skipper butterflies. Not bad for a busy roadside!

I continued onwards and came across clouds of purple, for the most part courtesy of the pea family! Tufted Vetch and Hairy Tare were scrambling all over the place, and there were Garden Lupins galore, just passing their best now but still with a few nice flower spikes.

Purple pea pals.
Garden Lupins (Lupinus polyphyllus agg.) and Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca).
Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca). The bees love it!

Hairy Tare (Vicia hirsuta), a delicate vetch with tiny flowers!
Further on past all the purple, the view from the roadside opened out, looking across a very small valley towards the railway track which is built up on a tall embankment. Down in the valley was a monster! It looked like Cow Parsley but was about twice my height, it could only have been Giant Hogweed. It's difficult to get a sense of scale from the photos below but I can assure you that it was gigantic!

Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum).

Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum).
I love that I can find all this stuff only a minute's walk from my workplace :o)

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