Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The Blitz

Biting stonecrop - photo by Jo Sinclair

Mullein moth caterpillar - photo by Jo Sinclair
Biting stonecrop flares bright yellow between tarmac and broken glass. Tatty blue butterfly wings blow across my path. A stripy caterpillar bites into soft and furry mullein leaves among the traffic cones. Bags of rubble disgorge a forest of teasels. The brownfield site by the level crossing has been sold. It reminds me of the vintage car enthusiasts' mecca in Sweden where hundreds of cars in a scrapyard have been reclaimed by nature. Legend has it that the forest site was originally a store for cars abandoned by American soldiers leaving Europe after the second world war. Award-winning nature photographer Pal Hermansen documented the wildlife haven that Bastnas in Varmland has become.

I lock my bike to the chainlink fence in my spot in South Cambs. I find cut leaved cranesbill, evening primrose, cinnabar moth. Dogrose, ragwort, robin and whitethroat... someone should BioBlitz this place!  Or send writers, artists, fashion designers. There's so much to look at. A snippet from BBC Springwatch I enjoyed tells a similar story. Ian Llewellyn is a wildlife cameraman and photographer who talks about looking closely at his local urban river landscape in Bristol. In the quieter moments between the usual Ikea and Tesco shoppers, fishermen, skateboarders, graffiti artists, dog walkers and sex workers he captures moments such as the reflection of a sunrise rippling above shopping trolleys, minnows and eels.

As I follow the floppy, fast-flying cinnabar moth I'm distracted by all the other reds and pinks along the way. I look at the ingenious architecture of the spiky teasels. The formation of their stems creates a reservoir that protects, hydrates and nourishes; drowned insects are absorbed by the plant, making it partially carnivorous. While I'm sitting there the birds come. I've not managed to photograph a male bullfinch before. But his punchy pink plumage eludes a true image.

Cinnabar moth - photo by Jo Sinclair

Bullfinch - photo by Jo Sinclair


  1. So will the Midsummer walk and village cream tea make it to sundown I wonder?!

  2. Everyone will out til dawn! Best day of the year. Thanks Frankie for your comment on Natural Communicator's events calendar