Fishlake Flowers

I was working at Fishlake Meadows yesterday morning and it was wonderful to be somewhere so green and full of flowers. Access to water is not a problem for the plants at Fishlake so they have kept growing whilst the rest of the countryside has turned brown.

fen flowers

Floriferous Fishlake

Many of these flowers are also very good nectar sources and it was noticeable how many bees there were visiting the flowers. Butterflies were also common, but there were rather few hoverflies, but this maybe because they tend to keep out of the sun at the warmest part of the day.

Over-topping most of the others is the hemp agrimony, a popular plant with butterflies like peacock and red admiral.

hemp agrimony

hemp agrimony

Another very tall plant is angelica, an umbellifer and very popular with hoverflies.

angelica

angelica

Slightly smaller and almost finished flowering now, the meadow sweet is a typical plant of wet meadows and river banks.

meadow sweet

meadow sweet

Of similar height and with prominent purple spires of flower, the purple loosestrife is impossible to miss and very popular with nectaring bees, brimstone and white butterflies.

purple loosestrife

purple loosestrife

Some plants get a bad press and thistles are certainly one of these, they can be  a nuisance when they become dominant, but they are a great nectar source for lots of insects, popular with bees, butterflies and flies. At Fishlake creeping thistle is scattered and as such not a problem but an addition to the floral display.

creeping thistle

creeping thistle

A particular favourite with bees is comfrey, the bell-like flowers of which come in two shades, this is the paler one.

comfrey

comfrey

To get at the nectar of the comfrey needs a long tongue, for those that do not have one more open flowers and especially composites are a favourite. Ones with a good supply of food will also attract longer tongued visitors too, fleabane is popular with a wide range of species from hoverflies to butterflies.

fleabane

fleabane

Fleabane dies best on damp ground, where the ground is properly wet a favourite flower with insects is water mint, this will grow on the bank and as an emergent plant in shallow water.

water mint

water mint

All in all something to suit all nectar seekers, we can mimic this diversity of flower type in our gardens if we too want to attract the widest range of insects.

 

Out in the Sunshine

It seems summer has actually arrived, today was very warm, too warm for the task of ragwort rem,oval on the shore of Ibsley water, or at least too warm for me anyway. This is an area of the reserve I rarely visit and certainly I only go there if there is a job to be done.  I got most of the ragwort removed and had a close up view of the islands we made last autumn out of one of the spits that used to run into the lake. The three low islands we made were used by nesting lapwing, redshank and oystercatcher this summer so I think we can claim a success. They certainly look pretty good at present.

Ibsley Water islands

The sun brought out a good few dragonflies and butterflies and I saw my first brown hawker of the year today, although I could not get a picture. It also tempted the flowers of the common centaury to open, they only do so in sunshine so must have had rather few open days this summer.

common centaury

In fact the reserve is starting to look quite flowery in places, the pond at the Centre has a good show of purple loosestrife. In this country it is often pushed out by the invasive Himalayan balsam which grows in similar habitats. In North America it is th purple loosestrife that is the invasive alien and they are trying hard to control it as it spreads and overwhelms their native riverside plants.

purple loosestrife