Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Report on ‘Summer Nature Weekend’, Dyrham Park, 20th and 21st June 2015

The 12 hectare expanse of Whitefield provided an apt setting for our Summer Nature Weekend of public outreach at Dyrham Park. The flower-rich meadow was full of colour and spectacle, with red clover, lesser trefoil and yellow rattle abundant amongst the swaying knee-high grasses, predominated by crested dog’s-tail. Misty pom-poms of goat’s-beard decorated the sward at remarkably evenly spaced intervals. Flowering spikes of pyramidal, spotted, southern marsh and bee orchids, along with common broomrape and tall outbursts of rough hawk’s-beard punctuated the scene, and were made easy to observe close-up from the mown paths cut by the National Trust. Swifts scythed low over the sward while skylarks ascended the air waves.
We set out our display on tables and hay bales underneath the gazebo provided by the National Trust, and waited. On the first day, people were slow in coming – perhaps the slightly iffy weather inhibited them, and, as is the way at Dyrham, the eyes of most visitors were focused downhill towards house and garden, not towards what could be seen just beyond the end of the main car park itself. But a few enthusiastic family groups did make it our way and enjoyed being shown around.
The second day began with a moth-trap opening session, led by Richard Pooley and Paul Wilkins. Almost 50 species were identified, including a beautiful Burnished Brass, which obligingly rested on a nearby bramble leaf after release, allowing visitors to get a close look. The sunnier weather brought more visitors within our vicinity, but as the wind became disruptive during the afternoon we had to pack up hastily.

Southern Marsh Orchid     
Common Spotted Orchid

Pyramidal Orchid  

Alan Rayner

Photographs of orchids by John Garrett

Photographs of display stand and burnished brass by Marion Rayner

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