Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul, Sturton le Steeple

For around six centuries, Sturton’s C14th steeple was the tallest thing around, then in the early 1970s, West Burton power station was built and along came the pylons that dwarf it.

We were back up near Gainsborough for the final time to add some plants to tetrad 88C and our eight hours in the field achieved something like 200 taxa. Road closures, public highways becoming restricted byways and maps that are out of date caused some confusion but it all turned out nice again and we found some inexplicable topsoil strips that pulled in the likes of Common Cudweed Filago vulgaris, Common Centaury Centaureum erythraea and Slender Pearlwort Sagina filiformis that boosted the total somewhat.

Then, apart from a free-range wander about a land drainage compound which also added some variety including Buck’s-horn Plantain Plantago coronopus, Annual Beard-grass Polypogon monspeliensis and Slender Sandwort Arenaria leptoclados, the plants of interest were all aquatics; with the scarcest of these being the undesirable introduction, Water Fern Azolla filiculoides.

Water Fern (with Lemna minor)

For an illustrated blog, the plant pictures weren’t up to much so it’s fortunate that pristine Painted Ladies were out on the tiles.

Painted Lady

I do the East Midlands branch of Butterfly Conservation’s website as well (or as badly some might say) as this one and as such I get regular email updates from the Derbyshire recorder Ken Orpe, who today (Derbyshire News and Blogs; Update No 32, 2019) suggested that these pristine Painted Ladies now being seen, are immigrants from Europe. I think they are newly emerged, local provenance from the immigrants that arrived several weeks back and I shall enquire about this – when I’ve got a minute.

12 species of butterfly were out and about at Sturton le Steeple, though they did not include Small Skipper so far as I can tell, for every one of the little skippers I looked at carefully were from Essex (so to speak).

Quite a few Silver Y moths were busying themselves among the low vegetation too though birds were unexciting; Yellowhammers called for some cheese and no bread and a Raven ‘cronked’.

I probably go on too much about bush-crickets and I will probably continue to do when critters like this show up.

Roesel’s Bush-cricket

We also found a Lesser Marsh Grasshopper Chorthippus albomarginatus and were it not for the pressures of botany, we might have seen more orthoptera though I allowed my concentration to lapse into the more visible odonata too, and I am happy to record Broad-bodied Chaser, Common Darter, Banded Agrion, Brown Hawker, Blue-tailed and Common Blue Damselfly; though in the process of becoming happy, I learned that there is a blue form of the female, of which I believe this to be an example:

If I’m wrong I will be even happier to be corrected; there is a comment facility below:

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