Field Survey 10th July 2020

It seems the flower part of the season is almost over, nearly everything is going to seed.

It has been another mixed week weather-wise the night before the survey it was almost frost, i looked at the met office website and it was down to 5C here overnight, this has to have some effect. Perhaps it is worth thinking about this. The season is galloping through, it is only mid-July but it feels almost autumnal in the air, cool to cold with a fairly stiff cold wind. Many of the plants are responding to this and it seems the flowering part of their summer is ending all at the same time rather than staggered over weeks. 

That takes me to the report: Most flowers have now gone and those that remain, like the white Clover and the Lesser Butterfly Orchids are over the top and going to seed (or the Orchid equivalent). There are a couple of exceptions. First there is a rising sporadic flush of Purple Clover which i am really pleased to see as its an essential food for the Large Yellow Bumble Bees which is super rare and Caithness and North Sutherland is its last mainland stronghold, so i am keeping a close eye out for it. Secondly there is a plant I cannot identify, can you help? It has been budding for nearly a month, there is a heavy head of white flowers about 45cm high, quite lovely. And that seems to be it for flowers, a few of the very small carpet flowers way down in the sward are in flower but far less than a fortnight ago.

The most distinctive feature of the field now is the heavy seed heads of the grasses, not quite ripe, they will start coming off when they are, but very close. The Grasses have lumped on growth in the last couple of weeks and are now starting to overshadow any nes growth from other plants, this is the time i should take a crop of hay to clear the way for more autumn based plants and to reduce fertility of the field to help with the flowers and herbs and especially the orchids compete with the grasses. However the field is very difficult to work, dangerous in places, i am not sure i can do it. More next time about this. .

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