A Cotswold Year - Charting the seasons in the South Cotswolds

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Elderflower cordial

I thought I might be too late but luckily found a bush which still had some young blooms yesterday. After twenty four hours of steeping it smells delicious. It freezes well too and a new tip I'm trying is to freeze the cordial in ice cube trays and just add one to a glass and top up with water. I'll let you know how this works...

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Hay Making

The summer weather and dry forecast brings farmers out cutting the long grass and making silage or here small bale hay. For the smaller farmers around here it is sensible to make small bales of hay so that they can supply those who keep horses locally as well as to feed their own sheep in the winter.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Large Blue Butterfly

 The Large Blue was declared extinct in the UK in 1979 but has since been successfully reintroduced at a number of sites and it is great to see them flying in the Cotswolds again.
The larvae are parasitic on the grubs of red ants so they can only breed where there are colonies of ants.
They can be seen in late June and July but they are still a very rare butterfly so we were delighted to find this one today.
They are actually quite a small butterfly but the largest UK blue.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Yellow Wort

We found this little plant on the slopes of Uley Bury this morning on our walk before the forecast rain. As we were unfamiliar with it, we were pleased to identify Yellow Wort from our various books. It is apparently common on chalk or limestone grassland, such as here in the Cotswolds. One of the Gentian family along with other members it's flowers close up in the afternoon which might be the reason that we hadn't noticed it before as we often seem to walk up there later in the day. The leaves are in pairs on the stem and a bluish grey colour. The petals of its yellow flowers vary between six and eight petals joined into a tube at the base.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Meadow Brown Butterfly

Now is the time to see meadow brown butterflies flying in many different habitats particularly in flowery grassland as this one was seen feeding on bramble amongst the limestone grassland near Uley
Pictured is the male as the female is a lot more orange in colour.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Limestone grassland in summer

 Limestone grassland on Uley bury is at it's most spectacular at the moment with common spotted and pyramid orchids flowering in profusion.

Marbled White Butterfly

We visited Daneway Banks Reserve to search for Large Blue butterflies without success but we were rewarded by the sight of many Marbled White butterflies roosting in the grassland of the reserve.
This striking black and white butterfly thrives in the natural limestone grassland of the reserve and is usually seen in June and July.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Summer Solstice

Summer solstice is here and we had hoped for a sunset picture on the longest day but sadly a band of cloud obscured the sun. The sky was still spectacular as the sun set at it's most northerly point.
It is a leap year the solstice date is a day early.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Goldfinch Fledged

We are starting to see young birds around the garden as they fledge and leave the nest. These lovely two Goldfinch chicks were begging for food this morning.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Roe Deer in the grass

In the springtime we often spot Roe deer in the long grass in this field during early morning, usually two but this morning three, a male and two females.
Roe deer usually live in woodland. They also venture into fields to graze young tender grass and apparently prefer "clean" grass, freshly washed by rain or in fields without livestock.
This field has been left to grow for silage by the farmer and the grass is now quite long making the deer better camouflaged.