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Friends of Studham Common

Nature Notes  July 2010
By Pat and Charles

Today (4th July) the Common was bathed in sunshine with the vegetation waving in the fresh breeze. The long hot and dry spell has heightened the contrast between the brown of the grasses and the green of the trees, shrubs, bracken and other deeper-rooted plants. On Middle Common the unwanted sallow plants in the grass stand out especially clearly. In the hay meadows the Red Clover and Ox-eye Daisies are almost over and the yellow daisy-type Cat’s-ear flowers have become off-white ‘clocks’ of many seeds each with its own parachute.  Yarrow, Knapweed and Creeping Thistle are coming into flower. The latter two species are good nectar sources for butterflies and other insects. Around the edges Rosebay Willowherb is starting to flower and in some places contrast with the yellow flowers of Imperforate St John’s-wort.  At the last working party we were very glad to find two patches of the tiny white-flowered Heath Bedstraw on West Common. These were in addition to the few in deep shade under an oak tree which we feared were the only ones left on the Common. This species is specifically mentioned in the citation for the Common's County Wildlife Site status.

Eight species of butterfly were flying on the Common, mostly in the shelter of the hedges and copses. They included more Marbled Whites than for some years. This is the butterfly with the distinctive black and white chequered pattern on its wings illustrated on the new display board (see also image on right).

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

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Marbled White Butterfly

Looking West towards the
old school house from

Studham’s West Common

Rosebay Willowherb behind the

yellow flowers of St John’s Wort

June 2010

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