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Monday, June 25, 2007

"The Large Blue"

The one photo I really wanted to get right and here is the result:
A Large Blue butterfly which was extinct in the UK in 1979 and recently reintroduced in selected sites.

By clicking on the photo it should be possible to see it full size and by scrolling to cover the picture to find the butterfly on a flower head.

At least the Thyme plant the caterpillars feed on can be seen a little more clearly!

The highly successful Green Down butterfly conservation project is a wonderful example of human activity being integrated with a wildlife nature reserve.
For the Large Blue the effect of creating a gallop for training race horses must have been worse than building the Newbury Bypass!

So the guided visit to the reserve last Saturday where I was able to watch a Large Blue laying eggs on Thyme so close I could have reached out and touched it was an exceptional experience. I had to remind myself that this was not a butterfly farm and I was standing in the middle of acres of open downland.

Our guides on the visit of the 20 or so members of our party told us a little about the almost unbelievable story of the butterflies life cycle and the conservation project.

More information can be seen at the Butterfly Conservation web site.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Summer Garden Party - Photos

After taking a few pictures before we started, the party got going so well I forgot to take any more so this only gives an idea of how it looked with the 50 or so members and non members who attended. It was a great success and we must repeat it next year.

We added a raffle with a top prize of a garden token from a local nursery all on show at the entrance where our committee members used gentle persuasion on the visitors to sell raffle tickets.

It was a shock for the chairman who had the job of duty first aider and had to use his SWT issued first aid kit to find and apply a plaster.The scratch which needed plaster was definitely not the result of gentle persuasion. This was a significant moment as Health and Safety has become a serious matter and this was our first opportunity to apply our first aid skills.

We did find a bandage and it was duly applied.

From the entrance and after getting past the gate keeper there was a pleasant walk round to the start of the garden.

Awaiting our visitors we had tables for wine, soft drinks and Somerset cheeses.

At last our first guest made it to collect a glass of wine and the party was officially under way. We did eventually have around 50 visitors all of whom declared they had enjoyed the occasion.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Guided walk on Dundon Beacon

Here are some photographs from our visit today.
You should be able to click on the images to get an enlarged view which makes it easier to see the Bee Orchid for instance and the Woolly Thistle flower head is spectacular when enlarged

A Bee Orchid. The only one we could find today when there are usually many. A close up would have been better!

The Twayblade Orchid

A flower head on a Woolly Thistle

The Greater Butterfly Orchid

The Heart of the Levels group on top of Dundon Beacon.

28 people, mostly but not all members of the Trust, enjoyed a stimulating guided walk and talk. for me the highlights were seeing for the first time the Twayblade and Grater Butterfly Orchids. The latter were quite numerous whereas the other species normally common on the Beacon were scarce this year. It was thought the early dry weather was responsible. Two other species not shown here but seen were the Pyramidal and Common Spotted Orchids.