Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Cheddar Gorge

SUNDAY was a great day for a quiet walk in the countryside, so we chose to go to the wonderful Cheddar Gorge to walk around the top, rather than the valley.  I suppose on a sunny, Sunday, with the schools out in summer you are hardly likely to find solitude, but we were surprised by how popular the place is.

In spite of this the gorge does have a special rugged beauty, not found in much of this area, and the views across to the Severn and onto Wales were spectacular. 

I've merged some images to try to portray the interest of the gorge.

In his excellent book "Britain's Rare Flowers", the famous naturalist Peter Marren mentions the unique and endemic plant species that can be found in the Gorge.  We were too late to hunt for flowers of the beautiful Cheddar Pink, that grows amongst the unimproved limestone grassland, but did attempt to spot the equally interesting Whitebeam species found here.  I say we attempted as I soon realised that actually this requires more botanical skill than I have to be able to tell the local varieties from the common type...but it was good to see the many healthy trees growing on the cliffs and being so well looked after.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Bumblebee Bonanza

I'VE noticed that there are three, four or maybe five species of bumblebee commonly visiting our lavender.  They have an insatiable appetite for nectar, but when the weather cools (as it did this evening) they start to fade and become immobile.

They are wonderful and very important creatures, but devilishly difficult to identify from a photograph and without handling.

Today's blog is dedicated to my Dad, who supported me in my wildlife pursuits when I was too young to be able to get behind a wheel - so
Happy Birthday Dad!

Anthophora hispanica?

Bombus lapidarius?

Bombus lucorum?

Okay...so this is not a bumblebee but the cabbage white (as it used to be known -now is the large white) is a wonderful sight in the garden and at this time of year this species is abundant.