Thistle Top meetings

As you look across a bank of flowers the activity at the top is often very busy, especially in the sun. This was the case on a walk yesterday. The purple thistles were a magnet to all things flying.

The bees and hover flies travelled from one purple platform to another feeding and moving on. There tops of the thistles were rather like invertebrate helipads !

Hover flies seemed able to attach themselves to these purple tops at all angles.

One of my favourite small butterflies the skipper were also visiting the thistles, probing the flowers with their long proboscis.

I love the comings and goings of a small patch of flowers and I might spend some time watching and counting visitors at these thistles on the next sunny day over a half an hour, I think it will be really interesting to stop and watch.

This walk around a lake was also full of birds nesting and their young. The Great Crested Grebes on the lake were swimming with their chicks but these two were still on a nest.

We saw several young coots this one was resting on it’s island nest.

The ducks are busy herding their ducklings , this one had a good number that seemed to follow and move in the right direction !

A flower I really like was in bloom , verbascum ( great mullein) with its tall spikes and downy silver green leaves. Moths love these flowers and it is a great plant for the garden to attract moths.

Some interesting facts about mullein.

  • The stem can be dried and used as a wick dipped in wax or tallow.
  • Rowan ladies used it to dye their hair golden.
  • The soft leaves were used by North American Indians to line their moccasins.
  • Used in herbal medicine in lots of ways.
  • The leaves are arranged in a spiral on the stem.

A short walk packed with interest , I am definitely going down to record the thistle visitors- watch this space !

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