Boys from the brown stuff
Today it was a pleasure to welcome Beddington Sewage Farm stalwarts Peter Alfrey and Kevin Guest onto the chalk for a botanical foray. A start at Epsom Downs provided Cypress Spurge and Round-headed Rampion, with butterflies also highlighting with a second-generation Small Blue and plenty of Chalkhill Blues. We then continued onto Mickleham and a scour of Juniper Bottom. The orchids were largely over, although there were a few Broad-leaved Helleborines in bud. Corn Mint (below) was a pleasant find, along with plenty of Silver-washed and Dark Green Fritillaries, plus one Purple Emperor which flew down the middle of the path and straight through us.
The slopes of Box Hill at the zig-zag were a great disappointment, with the parched ground not a great place for much flower or insect activity. We cut our losses and headed to the River Mole at Young Street, where a combination of cool shade and watery aspect cooled us down. Botanical highlights included Small Teasel (below), Arrowhead and Branched Bur-reed. A rather showy Silver-washed Fritillary (top) and a host of dragonflies and damselflies were a good end to a day that had been rather compromised by the hot dry spell.