Sunday, 26 June 2011

More orchids and a long walk!

I joined a couple of old friends today along with Petra for a walk on the South Downs Way from Washington to Botolphs. (see left)

There were lots of orchids at the Washington end. Mostly groups of common spotted orchid (right) but there were a few pyramidal too.

At Botolphs I set off with Petra up the Downs Link to Steyning.

These pretty sheep came across to see us on the first part of our homeward stroll.

Home by 1 o'clock - Petra slept the rest of the day!

Friday, 24 June 2011


Petra took me an unusual way on her walk tonight. But that turned out to be lucky for me because I found my first wild orchids in Maudlin Lane.

They are pyramidal orchids growing on the grass verge of the lane.

It was quite late in the evening so picture quality is not so good but I couldn't resist it.

Monday, 13 June 2011


Looking across the open field this week I can see isolated spikes of pink waving amongst the grasses. On looking closely they turned out to be the flower and seed stems of sorrel plants.

The sorrel stems (left) are easily confused with the common dock (right).

In fact, the two are closely related, Sorrel is sometimes called narrow leaved dock while the common dock is more correctly called broad leaved dock.

The leaves of the sorrel are edible though. (I tried it!) They can be used as an acidic bite in salads or be cooked in a similar way to spinach.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Another friend for Petra

This is Sky. She enjoys her walks around the same area as Petra.

Petra has met Sky on several occasions and they always give each other a lively greeting.

Petra is now socialising with other dogs quite well after a difficult time last year.

Pea flowers

At least two members of the pea family are out at the moment.

Bird's foot trefoil, growing in the lane near Market Field, is shown left.

And on the right is common vetch, which I found growing amongst the long grass just over the bypass. You can see a peapod maturing in the foreground, below the flowers.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Beautiful demoiselles

My new camera arrived today so I was able at last to get some pictures of the beautiful demoiselles.

There were quite a few of them out today.
I was surprised to see that there is a lot of variation in them.
These two are both males. The body is blue.

I thought the males had black wings and the females brown but the male on the right has clearly got brown wings.

These are two females. The one on the right has bronze body and light brown wings but the one below appears to have clear wings.

I'm wondering if there is change with age.

Answer (after a little research) - Yes, the brown winged male is immature.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


Along Kings Barn Lane is an old willow tree with hawthorn growing around the base. I noticed a constant stream of bees going towards the tree and eventually picked out a hole where they were going in and out.

Inside the hole was too dark to see clearly so I pointed my camera into the hole and used the flash to capture a picture.

I couldn't see the result until I got home.

I was really surprised! There it is.

A nest of wild bees, hundreds of them! (Click the picture to see it enlarged.)

If you look closely you can see the hexagonal wax cells that they are working on.

Are these to contain honey or bee larvae?

Two close-ups below.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Pink and white pairs

There seem to be a few plants at this time which have both pink and white varieties.

The first pair shown are clover. While I looked at quite a lot of these today I noticed that the pink variety is much sturdier than the white. The white flowers have much more delicate petals.

The dog rose also has distinct colour differences between plants. They can vary from almost white to quite a deep pink.

This pair are only a couple of yards apart on Kings Barn Lane.

Where do I Walk?

Mainly in a fairly compact area on the north-east side of Steyning in West Sussex, UK.

For a map of this area see My Home Patch