Plant life is of course showing at its best at this time of year with yellow being the predominate colour. Buttercups are the most obvious ones. There are several species of buttercup the most common ones being the meadow buttercup, the tallest one, the creeping buttercup, which spreads rapidly by runners and the bulbous buttercup, which has a swollen base to the stem and is the earliest flowering. Another yellow flower seen in increasing numbers in the field is yellow rattle. It gets its name from the dry seed heads which have loose seeds inside them and do indeed rattle when shaken. The plant can grow on its own but grows best when its roots can penetrate grass roots and draw nutrients from them. Thus it is disliked by farmers as it weakens the grass but is loved by growers of wild flower meadows as it grows quickly in spring and slows the growth of the grass. One day I must make a count of the number of different species of yellow flowers found in the field. The following contributions have been made by Anthony Wright. He reports seeing a pair of mallard on a neighbour's pond. (These are the same pair that regularly visit the field. In fact the female sees me arrive at the gate and flies from the pond down to the barn where she quacks loudly until I have given her some corn, then flies back again). Other birds he mentions are large numbers of house martins (this is good news as the swallows seem to be declining over the last few years, only one pair made it back to the barn this year), starlings nesting, great tits and blue tits, both nesting in his garden, pied wagtails, green woodpecker and spotted woodpecker. (I have not seen the great spotted woodpeckers this year. In previous years they have been regular visitors and their hammering could be heard over a large distance. The green woodpecker is always about and spends a surprising amount of time on the ground looking for ants. Their feet are unusual in that they have two toes at the front and two at the back to aid climbing.) A pair of herons and a flock forty or fifty Canada geese were also seen. Anthony has also noticed conkers already forming on the horse chestnut Trees on Ashwell Road. Finally he mentions a dead Muntjac deer at the side of the road between Barleythorpe and the old Showground. (Muntjacs have been seen in field during daylight but are more often picked up on trail cameras at night. Earlier on in the year they could be heard barking in the early hours of the morning).
Notes from a field - Bob Sheridan
Langham in Rutland
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