Saturday, 25 July 2020

Bears on Banstead Downs

Banstead Downs can be reached by foot within 10 minutes from home, yet it is a place that I strangely neglect. Ornithologically it doesn't have a lot going for it, although had I been there on May 21st 1956 I would have seen a Lesser Grey Shrike. However, botanically it has its highlights, and can boast a long and notable list of invertebrates. My three hours spent meandering across the area yesterday morning was most rewarding.

I pointed the camera at whatever took my fancy and then attempted to identify the subject matter on returning home. The big drawback to this method is that an awful lot will remain unidentified - this doesn't bother me too much, as it can be highly educational whittling a species down to just its family level.

Surprises abounded. A largish colony (1,000+ plants) of Betony. A clump of Bear's Breech a good mile or two away from the closest garden. Another Graphosoma italicum on the same stand of Hogweed as earlier in the week. The amount of Hemp Agrimony coming into flower is delightful and will surely be worth checking over the coming weeks. Here's just a taster.

Bear's Breech
Large stands of Hemp Agrimony are coming into flower... is Wild Parsnip
No hiding place for this Graphosoma italicum on Hogweed

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