GOTHAM + DCW
I thought Gotham was the ‘village of the goats’ but there are lots of interpretation panels around this attractive village surrounded by glorious hills to the north and west and fen-like moors to the east. One of these panels explains that Gotham was at a junction of routes from Nottingham to Loughborough and a branch off to Kegworth and Derby so the name comes from Danish ‘gata’ or road from which our ‘gate’ is derived.
The day started sunny and despite a forecast of cloudy later, it remained largely so and we got a good helping of insects along with the plants that were our principal objective. Shaded Broad-bar is often disturbed during the day and we saw three altogether . Other moths were Mother of Pearl, Six-spot Burnet and lots of ‘crambids’ which are generally too much trouble but Crysoteuchia culmella was among them.
Only one Brimstone was seen but the species was among 13 seen on the day – all of which were predictable and I suppose Essex Skipper would have to be the most notable and Common Blue only just made it, being outnumbered 3 to 1 by Brown Argus.
Dave’s 35 years or so of field botany means that he has a sound knowledge of underlying rocks which so influences the flora and I had a lesson in the geology of these hills. We had elevenses on Jurassic limestone, having just crossed an outcrop of something else where I had found a piece of gypsum. That’s all I can remember. Anyway plants like Wild Thyme like it here, though they would like it more if it wasn’t dominated by Tor Grass and we only managed one little patch of it whilst Stemless Thistle was nowhere to be seen; perhaps its time is up.
Other notables loosely associated with the calcareous soil were Common Restharrow, Common Centaury, Burnet Saxifrage, Meadow Oat-grass (Helichtotrichon pratense) and Salad Burnet.
Sherardia arvensis has really tiny flowers and was growing next to the thyme.
I can’t resist intimate admiration of one of our most spectacular local insects.
Amblyteles armatorius is an ichneumon wasp and a parasitoid of the pupae of noctuid moths. The rotter.
I have said before about how the variation in colouring of our common grasshoppers causes me much confusion and my ‘Photographic Guide’ to the orthoptera contains none with this colour combination. It is an adult female because it is ovipositing in the soil there and its short wings support the identification as Chorthippus parallelus because females are normally short-winged (though there is a long-winged form!). The bulge on the costa of the short wing is another sign. The parallelus tag refers to the sutures along the top of the pronontum and these are reasonably parallel in this one but not easy to see.
When Dave stooped for a closer look at this, I thought he was going to tell me the time.
There are 248 micro species of Dandelion though no-one in Nottinghamshire at least, can identify them. A simpler solution is to follow Stace who lumps similar ones into 9 sections and those purplish-violet achenes steer this one into section Erythrosperma.
Back off the hills, Dave insisted I’ve seen this before somewhere but I don’t remember it.
Given its situation in the channel of the road, I has assumed that it liked salt but it’s just a generalist of ‘waste places, waysides and tips’. There was some shrivelled Lesser Sea-spurrey, which does like salt (or at least tolerate it) nearby.
This much showier plant, had also been relegated to my memory’s dusty shelves as I know I’ve seen it before in exactly this same place! There is a form of Common Knapweed that has those rayed outer florets but that’s no excuse since everything else about it is quite different.