Monday, 14 July 2014

Glyme Valley SSSI: meadow clary

Sunday 13 July
An afternoon walk around the public footpaths that wind through the upper reaches of the Glyme Valley, including a long and narrow SSSI most notable for one of the largest patches of the rare meadow clary in the UK.  There is plenty more to see on a sunny summer's day, and though I am quite close to Chipping Norton, there is nobody else around.
the meadow clary meadow
meadow clary
The largest clary clumps are protected by squares of sheep netting; they look healthy and it is good to see plenty more smaller plants established in the field.
The meadows are very attractive with bright patches of ladies bedstraw dotted with tall meadow scabious and, in places, the more delicate small scabious.
meadow scabious
Butterflies are pretty common too and many are looking more worn and faded, especially the marbled whites.  One field is also a wildlife trust nature reserve.
Birds included red kite and buzzard, marsh tit and yellowhammer.  Plus a pair of ornamental black swans one of the small lakes.
Many of the flowers in these meadows survive in roadside verges across the area, especially meadow scabious and meadow crane's-bill.  Those species seem to be able to compete with the more vigorous grasses.  These meadows show us where those roadside specimens originated - from flower rich meadows long since lost to arable and improved grassland.
lady's bedstraw
A beautiful insect with long antennae attracts my attention, there are quite a few of them on the scabious flowers
Now I have time to do a bit of research I think the "beautiful insect" above is a longhorn moth  Nemomorpha metallica.
These moths can occur in quite large numbers, fly during the day in June/July and are associated with field scabious.
dwarf or stemless thistle
greater knapweed

A great display of field bindweed brightens a grassy bank next to some farm barns.  Easy to forget what a beautiful flower this is.
field bindweed

bee orchid starting to set seed

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