Saturday, 8 August 2015

Yoesden Bank

When we went on a guided walk around Yoesden Bank a couple of weeks ago, the warden told us about the 'hole in the woods'. It's a hidden away glade in the trees that's full of devil's-bit scabious in August and is a real sight to behold. It was such a beautiful morning that Bug Mad Girl and I decided to go and see if we could find it.

First thing we saw when we got there was the wonderful meadow with a cow shed in it. The swallows were swooping in and out of the shed and flying over the field catching food. They looked like they were having a wonderful time!

We decided to take a peep inside and there were 3 baby swallows sat in the roof. They were very cute with their big baby mouths, but the parents were shouting at us so we didn't stay long.

We walked down through the trees to Yoesden Bank and, as usual, gasped when the view opened out in front of us. It doesn't matter how many times you see it, it always takes your breath away.
We walked across the back of the bank and were surrounded by butterflies. They were loving the sunshine and there were lots of common and chalkhill blues, as well as small coppers, gatekeepers and meadow browns. The moths weren't to be outdone though as we saw several silver Ys.
Common blues
We made our way through the trees on the far side and followed the path until it opened out in the 'hole in the woods'. There were several peacock butterflies feeding on the wild marjoram and Bug Mad Girl couldn't resist trying to persuade one of them to sit on her hand.

The devil's-bit scabious wasn't flowering yet, but there was lots of it there, so we'll go back in a couple of weeks for another look. Something to look forward to!
While we were there we saw a hornet, a strange looking wasp called a gasteruption and a huge great-green bush-cricket.
A type of gasteruption - the long oviposter is used to lay eggs in the nest of
solitary bees and wasps. The larvae hatch and eat the eggs and larve in the nest
before eating any food supplies.
Great-green bush cricket
We walked back through the trees and found a lone fungi growing in the middle of the path.

Then we made our way along the bottom of the bank where we found 46 dark mullein plants and 4 striped Lychnis caterpillars, the nationally scarce moth that we've been looking for and counting recently.
Striped Lychnis moth caterpillar
Another lovely morning at our 'secret garden'!

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