A pleasant afternoon in July saw a group from WildEssex enjoy a round walk for a couple of hours, from and back to Wrabness railway station. En route we took in that most whacky of buildings, Grayson Perry’s ‘A House For Essex’, East Grove Wood with its unrivalled position on the banks of the River Stour, arable fields with impressive wildflower margins, and Stour Wood reserve itself, an ancient woodland planted predominately with Sweet Chestnut trees, which were in full flower and filling the air with their mushroomy fragrance.
There was plenty of insect life to be spotted – a stunning Yellow-and-Black Beetle stole the show, together with Hogweed Bonking Beetles, and everyone’s favourite, the Cinnabar caterpillar (also in that pleasing colourway yellow-and-black).
We were delighted to see how many butterflies there were (after a very slow start to the season): Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers galore, together with Ringlets, Red Admirals, Peacocks, Whites and a couple of Holly Blues, and not forgetting a 6-spot Burnet moth. In the woodland itself a few Silver-washed Fritillaries and White Admirals soared overhead, but none stayed for a photo opportunity.
The very familiar 7-spot Ladybirds were putting on a very good show – both decorative and aphid-munchers par excellence – what’s not to like??
For the botanists amongst us, there were also lots of plants to note – my favourite White Bryony along hedgerows, Enchanter’s Nightshade in deep shade, Rosebay Willowherb, Wood Sage and Honeysuckle in the coppice clearings, and Bugloss around the sandy field edges.
And of course there was the interface between botany and other disciplines, in the form of galls and mildews…all of nature is fascinating!
As always we would like to extend our thanks to our group of nature-lovers for sharing these experiences with us 😊. And we look forward to our next meeting.