As Tim Peake returns to earth, Roman Road Scarlet Tigers are taking to the air. The stunning photographs that Tim has regularly broadcast remind us of how amazing our planet is. Scarlet Tiger moths underline the beauty in detail and glad to report they have been emerging this week in Stourbridge. I counted 23 adults on Thursday morning just after the steady rain and before the deluge later that day. I wondered what effect the heavy storm may have on the moths but yesterday lunch time there must have been at least twice as many. Difficult to count because I was greeted with a flurry of tigers on the wing at one point – were they pleased to see me back after my holiday? Based on personal observations, I would guess that the activity was probably males in flight with the scent of a sedentary female.
The other areas I was keen to see were our wild flowers. Poppies have bloomed to join with the blue cornflowers and white daisies (chamomile?) to give a regal display on the traffic island, in time for the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations. Yellow daisies are also now appearing with the promise of Corncockle to come. It looks fantastic, a great showcase to demonstrate to everyone the beauty of wild flowers.
Around the gate we are building on 2015 and the display is not so impressive. Nevertheless there is much to see – our problem is strangulation by coarse grasses, brambles, ivy and bindweed. The Yellow Rattle planted to suppress coarse grasses is romping away and the grass is definitely less in evidence in the areas where Yellow Rattle is particularly abundant.
The flower we are most keen to propagate is Bird’s Foot Trefoil. I had been warned that it may be some time before it appeared but in our 2nd year, there are signs that it is beginning to take hold.
The other area we planted during the spring was at the mid point of the bridle path, at the junction with Westwood Avenue. Seeds were sown later than the traffic island but signs for a good show are good.
As for other Lepidoptera – Richard Southwell and I saw the first Ringlet yesterday, the Speckled Woods are looking splendid and there was a Silver ‘Y’ and this Carpet moth amongst the bracken.
The final word however, must belong to the Scarlet Tigers. They had mostly disappeared by 7 pm yesterday, apart from this pair, looking to ensure the next generation.