centaurea nigra, Common eyebright, common knapweed, Euphrasia nemorosa, hazelnut, hemp agrimony, insects on hemp agrimony, insects on knapweed, insects on ragwort, odontites vernus, ragwort, red bartsia, senecio jacobea
In the woods foliage is verdant and heavy, reaching out to the light across the tracks and rides. But the signs of a summer past its peak are beginning to show as plants divert their energies into their most important task; that of fruit production.
The Hazels bear a few fully-formed nuts, but here at least only a few will achieve maturity. Grey squirrels grab all they can reach, careless of whether they are ripe or not, leaving the debris of their wanton pickings strewn on the ground beneath the trees.
In the meadow the grasses have set seed, their long stems golden and hay-dry. The mid-summer flush of wildflowers has more or less subsided with only scattered blooms of dainty harebell, lady’s bedstraw and white clover tucked down in the long grass.
In their stead the tougher, bolder-coloured blooms characteristic of late summer are peaking and will provide the nectar and pollen vital to the sustenance of the insect population.
The swathe of Hemp Agrimony bordering between the meadow’s edge and the trees, was literally buzzing with insects on this sunny but windy day. Many of the visitors were male bumblebees. With no hive duties to perform they have only themselves to care for and can afford to spend what remains of their lives lingering long and gorging on nectar. The plant is a favourite of the bigger butterflies too – you may see Red Admiral or a gorgeous Peacock feasting here – provided there are any about of course.
Ragwort is not as abundant here as in other places locally, but what there is was well-visited by a variety of insects from tiny hoverflies to butterflies.
One particular flowerhead was occupied by a damaged 6-spot Burnet moth that was still in situ a couple of hours later as I passed by on my way home. It will be safe there- the moths are poisonous, so left alone by potential predators.
One of the more unusual wildflowers found in this little hillside meadow is the Wild Onion, or Nodding Wild Onion as it is sometimes referred to. In previous years I have found it was particularly attractive to the little Common Blue butterflies, but alas there were no blue butterflies to be found today and the flowers are already producing fruits – a rounded cluster of tiny bulbils.
There are two semi-parasitic wildflowers to be found here now. One is the lovely little Eyebright which has been in flower for a while now but that will continue into September; the other in lesser amounts, is Red Bartsia. Both plants take their nourishment from the roots of grasses. Much of the Eyebright here on Bryn Euryn shows up from where it grows low in the grass as all parts of the plant other than the flowers are tinged a strong bronzy-purple.
Higher up towards the summit of the hill and again on the downland slope Knapweed is more prolific. It too is beloved by insects, but on a windy day such as today when the flowers are vigorously bending and swaying, they make for a tricky landing and even trickier photographs.
Hogweed is still flowering strongly and feeding insects whilst simultaneously setting seed.
And there are ripe blackberries and sweet wild raspberries to add little treats to the walk home.
The ‘Bryn’ referred to in the post title is Bryn Euryn, a limestone hill of which much is a Local Nature Reserve, located in Rhos-on-Sea (Llandrillo-yn-Rhos), in Conwy, North Wales. Grid Reference: SH 832798
The Bryn is the basis of many posts on my longer-established blog ‘Everyday Nature Trails’.