Strolling through the East Park
A few recent images following a trip around the East Park at Compton Verney, an area of seventy acres or so, now re-establishing as a wild flower meadow under higher level stewardship agreement with DEFRA. These two fields are settling down beautifully with their light-touch management, which consisted initially of re-seeding with native wild flowers, and an ongoing annual regime of cutting, baling, and autumn grazing.
At the peak of summer, pathways are mown throughout the fields and the growth reaches around three feet tall, catching summer breezes as you’d imagine. The above image, taken in the farthest field shows Oxeye Daisy flowers (Leucanthemum vulgare) establishing well, with Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) vying for attention beneath. In addition to these, with varying levels of success as far as establishment is concerned, are: Birdsfoot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), Black Medick (Medicago lupulina) and Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra) to name a few.
In one of the fields we monitor a small patch of nettles which have most likely occurred due to past archaeology disturbance. Whilst passing by we noticed large numbers of these caterpillars, which looked quite menacing as they devoured almost every leaf on each of the nettle plants. They are of course larvae from the beautiful Peacock butterfly, which we hope to see fluttering by soon.
Above, also captured on oxeye daisy was this Small Tortoiseshell butterfly, offering a lovely splash of colour. The tortoiseshell it seems, like the peacock favours nettles for laying its eggs, so (I’m glad to say) it is a good thing to retain nettle patches – something we also do around the field margins and in some areas of our ice house coppice.
And finally, this plain specimen which paused on our trailer, giving perfect opportunity for a quick close up. Now, I’m not going to pretend that I knew this on first sight, and even further searching leaves me unsure, but the nearest I can get to an identification is Common Winter Damselfy – if you’ve a better eye for these things, do let me know!
As the east park settles down, more species (both insect and flower) will arrive and establish amongst the sward, and we certainly hope to capture them – via photography of course! Some of our images, along with many others are available to view via our grounds flickr group Please do have a look, join the group if you wish, but most importantly – try to visit Compton Verney – the east park, west lawn, ice house coppice; they all hold an abundance of wildlife!