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Friends of Studham Common

Nature Notes  August 2009
Compiled by Pam Rumfitt and John Hanna while Pat and Charles take a well-earned summer vacation!

As the summer (?) draws to its close, the autumn fruits and nuts are coming on display.  Just around the football pitch on West Common, you can see sweet chestnuts, acorns and the red berries of the rowan (mountain ash), while on other parts of the common the blackberries, elderberries and sloes look set for a fine crop.

Bees, butterflies and hoverflies are still active on the remaining flowers of the Rose Bay Willow Herb and on the ubiquitous purple knapweed.  John reports that, although it is not really butterfly weather, he  saw many Large White, a Marbled White and a Painted Lady along Kensworth Road today, whilst Pam saw several white ones, a small blue one and three orange ones!  
The hay on Middle Common is still un-mown.  The grasses have turned a lovely soft gold, against which the green clumps of self-sown sallow (willow) stand out clearly.  Sadly, we had to fell the ‘mother’ tree on Byslips Road, and are looking at how best to deal with its tenacious young, which are gradually taking over the meadow.

John reports that Studham is the place to be for raptors again this year. Nesting buzzards, red kites, kestrels and sparrow hawks are a fairly common sight, with occasional guest appearances from some rarer visitors. Goshawks have been hunting high over the commons, and he had a fleeting glimpse of a hobby at high speed near Linney Head. These aerial acrobats catch martins and swallows in flight – some feat!

No cuckoos for the second year. Before then, every April 18th, a male sang his heart out from the same branch of the same tree by Studham church. This is a national problem – cause unknown.  No yellowhammers this year on the commons, and precious few lapwings in the area, but a rich abundance of many regulars like the swallows, swifts and skylarks which entertain with their flight and song. 

 

The Chilterns, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - website:

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Knapweed & Rose Bay Willow Herb

 

Rowan with berries

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Sallow on Middle Common

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July 2009

Painted Lady Butterfly

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