Sunday, 27 June 2010

Kilpatrick Hills, West Dunbartonshire

Just a short walk today, from Duntocher to the Test marsh (South of the Greenside Reservoir).

In the damp cloudy weather, butterflies clung sluggishly to the wet vegetation. I encountered Ringlets, Common Blues and Meadow Browns at Little Round Top.

Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina
Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) mating pair
Elderberry Sambucus nigra
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)
Elderberry Sambucus nigra
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

The foamy umbels of creamy-white Elderberry flowers have a musky, fusty aroma.

Elderflower Cordial Recipes:

The British Larder - Elderflower Cordial Recipe

Fuss Free Flavours - Elderflower Cordial Recipe - Old Fashioned Elderflower Cordial Recipe

I found Lesser Spearwort growing in the pond at Little Round Top:
Lesser Spearwort Ranunculus flammula
Lesser Spearwort (Ranunculus flammula)
Lesser Spearwort Ranunculus flammula
Lesser Spearwort (Ranunculus flammula)
Unknown species of Liverwort (at Test)
Lesser Spearwort is a buttercup of watery habitats - the flowers are indistinguishable from other Ranunculus species but the long, undivided, strap-like leaves are very distinctive.

I found a male Gold Swift (Hepialus hecta) above Little Round Top.

Between Little Round Top wood and the Test I saw a flock of Linnets and a lone Peregrine Falcon (which flew in the direction of the Mohican Woods).

In the moorland above the Test, large grey slabs of exposed underlying rock are thinly covered with mosses and stonecrops, interspersed with small patches of bog and crisscrossed with crumbling old dry-stone walls.

Much of the heather had withered away to bare bleached-bone stems with beautifully knotted and twisted branches - weather-beaten to resemble driftwood.

I looked for Slow Worms (unsuccessfully) and Common Lizards (I caught a pregnant female).

At the Northern end of the Test I found a small pile of feathers; a Sparrowhawk kill; possibly the remains of a Whinchat or Stonechat.
Bombus sylvestris
cuckoo bumblebee (Bombus sylvestris)

Six of our twenty-two native bumblebee species (genus Bombus) are cuckoo bumblebees. Queen cuckoo bumblebees don't construct their own nests, instead they lay their eggs in the nests of other bumblebee species and the workers of the host rear the cuckoo's offspring. 

Each cuckoo bumblebee has a favoured host species which it matches closely in colouration. Bombus sylvestris normally takes over the nests of Bombus pratorum. Its distinguishing features are the very extensive white tail-tip, the presence of a bold yellow thorax band and a faint yellow band at the base of the abdomen.

New Zealand Willowherb Epilobium brunnescens
New Zealand Willowherb (Epilobium brunnescens)
New Zealand Willowherb is now naturalized over most of the Kilpatrick Hills. This tiny unobtrusive species has creeping stems, circular leaves and pale pink flowers borne on the tips of long reddish seed pods, which split to release downy wind-dispersed seeds.

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