A Cotswold Year - Charting the seasons in the South Cotswolds

Friday 29 July 2016

Crab Spider

Wandering around our garden last night, came across this little spider on the Hydrangea.  Seems it is a  Misumena vatia or crab spider. They are apparently common in southern England in summer, usually found on yellow or white flowers and can change their body colour to match their background.

Not having seen one before we consulted the Internet where  www.uksafari.com/crabspider.htm
points out that you can sometimes see two faint lines on their abdomen which are apparent here. 
They sit on flowers waiting for insects to land close by so that they can pounce on them and trap them with their crab like front legs so guess this one is conforming apart from its choice of flower!


Now that we are at end of July high summer is here and we must make the most of it. The Honey Bees are busy visiting every flower to collect the pollen needed to make the honey to see them through the winter. Flowers like this Hogweed have developed petals solely for the purpose of attracting insects which act as pollinators.

Hogweed is the smaller cousin of the Giant Hogweed. It only grows to around two metres whilst the Giant Hogweed is up to four metres high. Giant Hogweed can cause blisters and rashes so it's best not to touch or pick it. If you aren't sure then just look and don't touch as you pass by. 

Thursday 28 July 2016

Helleborine Orchid

The majority of the orchids which have been blooming  so spectacularly over the last month or so are now fading but the shade loving Helleborine is just starting to flower in Coaley Wood.

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.