Flitch Way wildlife to watch in August
The Scarlet Pimpernel has bright red (or sometimes pink) flowers borne singly on long, square stalks with oval shaped leaves between May and October. The leaves closely resemble those of chickweed and you can find it growing close to the ground in grassland, waste and arable land.
Make sure you look for it in the morning as it closes up in the afternoon. This feature led to its other names of ‘Old man's weathervane' or 'Shepherd's weather-glass' as the flowers also close when atmospheric pressure falls and bad weather approaches.
Looking like a tatty Small Tortoiseshell, the Comma is now a familiar sight throughout most of England and Wales and is one of the few species that is bucking the trend by considerably expanding its range. The butterfly gets its name from the only white marking on its underside, which resembles a comma.
This is primarily a woodland butterfly, where it can be seen along woodland rides and country lanes. However, especially in late summer, the butterfly is frequently seen in gardens where it feeds in on nectar sources to build up its fat reserves before entering hibernation.
Also look out for
The Common Earthball is a fungi that usually appears between August and November. It is often found inhabiting moss-clad or grassy ground under trees in woodland, or on scrubby ground. It forms beneficial relationships with tree and plant roots.
The fungus resembles a potato, and is a browny-yellow, sometimes pale or cream-white, roundish, ball-shape. It appears to sit directly on the ground, though it is attached by cord-like threads. Thick, tough and scaly, it can grow to a width of 12 centimetres, although the majority of specimens are somewhat smaller.
Huge numbers of tiny, dust-like brownish-black spores contained within the ball are released to be carried away on the breeze when, with age, the outer skin ruptures and splits.
Six-spot Burnet Moth
The Six-Spot Burnet moth can be identified by the six red spots on black wings, though occasionally the spots can be yellow and sometimes can be fused.
It can be seen in flight from June to August in meadows, woodland rides and road verges, feeding on flowers such as Knapweeds, Thistles and Scabious. The caterpillar feeds mainly on Bird’s-foot-trefoil.
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