Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Chester Moor today

I have not checked Colliery Wood, the little nature reserve behind the Chester Moor pub,  this year,  so decided today I should. The grass is very tall at the moment  though a few paths have been mown through. Quite a few butterflies were on the wing Large and Small White, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Small Heath and Small Skipper. A little damp patch by one of the paths had 20+ Small White sipping moisture and minerals.

Some of the Small White butterflies

 A decent sized patch of a St. John's-wort looked larger and with more vigour than usual and this is often a sign of it being a hybrid. Having keyed it out in my Stace flower book it came out as Hypericum x desetangsii (Des Etangs' St John's-wort) the hybrid between Perforate and Imperforate St John's-wort. The amount of Wild Carrot here, though presumably not occurring  naturally, is quite impressive.

Hypericum x desetangsii (Des Etangs' St John's-wort)

It's a quiet time of year for birds but a pair of Common Whitethroat feeding their young here was good to see.
Heading back through Chester Moor village a 8cm tall rush growing in the gutter and in flower  looked very out of place. I checked it but it seems to be Jointed Rush, a common species but  presumably because of its strange habitat it was only about 10% of its usual height. A bit further along there was another St. John's-wort growing in the tall grass on the bank. This time it was Square-stalked St. John's-wort [Hypericum tetrapterum] growing near to a patch of Bugloss. The latter is not a very common plant in the NE but one of it's strongholds is here and was one of the first plants I noticed when I moved here. It's a very hairy plant and the French call it Langue de Boeu (Ox-tongue) as its rough leaves resemble an Ox's tongue,  or so they say.


Square-stalked St. John's-wort

I had the moth trap out last night and though a decent enough catch there was nothing really unusual caught. Still lots of Common Footman and Large Yellow Underwing and the best things were Poplar Hawkmoth, a couple of Buff Footman, two Slender Brindle and a Ruby Tiger.

Ruby Tiger
Slender Brindle


  1. Hi i have found helleborine at a different location at Shibdon , probably broadleaved ,

    is it possible to send you a photo

    1. of course George gatesheadbird@gmail.com