Sally Rankin led a walk at BBOWT’s Warburg Reserve at Bix Bottom near Henley on the very hot morning of Wednesday 21st June. Before the walk started, warden Giles Alder showed 3 big hawkmoths from the previous night’s moth-trapping at the reserve – a Privet, an Elephant and a Poplar Hawkmoth. A Garden Warbler was singing nearby and young Tawny Owls were heard calling. Along the open rides, Pyramidal Orchids were at their best and there were numerous butterflies on the wing, including Silver-washed Fritillaries, Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns, Ringlets and Large Skippers. The walk started steeply up towards Maidensgrove Scrubs to look at a number of Herb Paris plants. Continuing along Great Hill Ride, then down and across the valley, next stop was a fenced-in enclosure where Narrow-lipped Helleborines (not yet in flower) were being protected from browsing deer. Further on, in deep shade under spreading Beech trees, were the pale heads of Yellow Bird’s-nest. A fenced-in section on the valley side had more Herb Paris. There was also Solomon’s-seal here, with its leaves being eaten by sawfly larvae. Crossing back across the valley to Big Ashes Ride, sightings included Common Rock-rose, Yellow-wort, Common Gromwell, Fairy Flax and Common Twayblade. A steep climb up Hatch Lane passed Broad-leaved Helleborine and Spurge-laurel plants to a spot where Green Hound’s-tongue was growing beside the track.
The walk was followed by lunch at the Rainbow in Middle Assendon. The cool interior of the pub gave a welcome respite from the day’s heat.
Pictures by Laurie Haseler