Friday, 8 July 2011

A meadow full of ringlets

In between torrential downpours the ringlets have been on the wing. These pretty brown butterflies flit and flutter around me when I walk the dogs and don't alight for long. I finally bagged a shot of one after a determined bout of butterfly chasing.

All of these plants and butterflies are on the field we call the Moor which is an acidic boggy field with streams and tussocky grasses, reeds, grassy areas and a fenced off vegetable patch. It's full of snipe and during this walk/butterfly chase I also saw a hen harrier, a buzzard and a red kite.

My favourite grass - I haven't identified it yet.
There's a lot of the parasitic flower Yellow Rattle too, which we're encouraging as it suppresses the grass in favour of the flowers and is regarded, in environmental circles, as a Good Thing.

Ragged Robin
The Moor has narrow paths that we have worn down over the years but for the most part it cannot be walked on (or rather in - the grasses are waist high) and if you stray from the path you can end up welly-deep in boggy ground. When we moved here neighbouring farmers recommended we drained 'the boggy patch' or we'd 'lose the cattle' in it in the winter. We ignored such advice and this precious bit of habitat is now protected by our environmental farming scheme.

Common spotted-orchid

Every year we check on the orchids. It feels like such a privilege that they grow here. They're small, beautiful but incredibly tough. This one was photographed after it was bounced on by my glamorous assistants (see later picture).

Bog Asphodel

My wild flowers book doesn't mention that Bog Asphodel packs one heck of a punch in the perfume department. It's such a tiny lily but it has the fragrance of a much bigger plant. The fragrance hangs in the air nearby though, so you can often overlook the tiny flower beneath.

Glamorous assistant and tiny flower
Mido demonstrating just how small the Bog Asphodel is. If I hadn't encountered the perfume I never would have gone looking for it. We only found it a couple of years ago. I think we'd spent a few years stepping on it on the way to the orchids.


  1. I love the picture of the Common spotted-orchid and the one of your glamorous assistant of course. I never knew about the Bog Asphodel, my next mission is to smell it too.

  2. I enjoyed your pictures, and the history of your farm. It must be wonderful to view. It is equally wonderful that you have worked to sustain the ecology of your area. I wish more people did in their spots.

  3. Ringlets out around here too and you're right, they don't hang around long enough for photo opportunities as I tried today - and failed!

    Your wetland habitat is wonderful and thank heavens you have preserved it so future generations can enjoy it too.

  4. Ringlets are interesting because tehy are one of the few species on the increase.

    If you go to St Davids Head in late July or August and walk in the valley where the ponies roam you will find a colony of Grayling butterflies. They rest on the rocks with almost perfect camouflage. St Govans is good too - Dark Green Fritillaries all over Castlemartin range.


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