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Blewburton Hill – 14 July 2010

Blewburton Hill rising behind teasel.
Blewburton Hill rising behind teasel.

Sixteen members met at Blewbury and walked through the village, out to and up Blewburton Hill and back.  The expectation was that many butterflies would be seen but the weather ruled this out, only the most hardy species, gatekeepers, meadow browns and ringlets being noted.  The walk, though, was most enjoyable.  The streams through the village flowed surprisingly vigorously, indicating just how full the chalk aquifers must be after the recent wet summers.  Sticklebacks were observed in the streams.  In the area of Blewburton Hill the striking blue flowers of chicory made a fine display, as did bedstraws, knapweeds, poppies and many other species of chalk grassland.  Sheep had grazed the turf on the hill itself very comprehensively.  Some debate developed over the identification of a wild leek on the path below Blewburton Hill: some were sure that it was the common Crow Garlic, others were sure that it was not.  The latter plumped for Allium sphaerocephalon, round-headed leek.  This, however, is an extreme rarity as a wild species in the UK.  It is found as a garden escape and other species of garden origin were noted during the walk.

Most members followed the walk with a very satisfactory lunch in the Red Lion and many bought excellent local cherries in the farm shop nearby.  There will be more expeditions from Blewbury!

Bramble Gall caused by gall wasp, Diastophus rubi (thanks to Malcom Storey for identification).
Bramble Gall caused by gall wasp, Diastophus rubi (thanks to Malcom Storey for identification).

Chris reads the history of Blewburton Hill fort.
Chris reads the history of Blewburton Hill fort.
Carline Thistle
Carline Thistle


Plants

Crown vetch                          Securigera varia
Chicory                                   Cichorium intybus
Pendulous sedge                 Carex pendula
Pellitory-of-the-wall         Parietaria officinalis
White Bryony                       Bryonia alba
Vervain                                  Verbena officinalis
Scentless Mayweed           Tripleurospermum inodorum
Dewberry                               Rubus sect. Eubatus
Corn Sow Thistle                 Sonchus arvensis
Greater Knapweed          Centaurea scabiosa
Hemlock                                 Conium maculatum
Goatsbeard                            Tragopogon porrifolius
Wild Parsnip                    Pastinaca sativa
Burnet Saxifrage                  Pimpinella saxifraga
Hedge Parsley                      Torilus arvensis
Restharrow                            Ononsis arvensis
Hoary Ragwort                     Senecio erucifolius
Teasel                                       Dipsacis fullonium
Nodding (Musk) Thistle    Carduus nutans
Meadow Clary                       Salvia pratensis
Hedge Bedstraw                   Gallium mollugo
White Campion                     Silene latifolia
Crow Garlic (?)                     Allium vineale (?)
Creeping Cinquefoil          Potentilla reptans
Burdock                                 Arctium lappa
Wild (Prickly) Lettuce      Lactuca virosa
Shrubby Hawkweed         Hieracium vagum
Yarrow                                  Achillea millefolium
Stemless Thistle                 Cirsium acaule
Yellowwort                          Blackstonia perfoliata
Wild Mignonette                Reseda lutea
Carline Thistle                   Carlina vulgaris
Thyme                                  Thymus sp.
Harebell                               Campanula rotundifolia
Bristly Ox-tongue            Picris echioides
Pineapple Weed                Matricaria discoidea

Birds

Corn Bunting

Kestrel                          

Buzzard                         

Raven?                          

Butterflies/Moths

Large White                   

Gatekeeper

Meadow Brown

Ringlet

Yellow Shell

The blue of the chicory flowers brightened the path.
The blue of the chicory flowers brightened the path.

Text by Chris Bucke
Photos by Ricki Bull

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