|Small white butterfly on fleabane.|
Today the purple is provided by purple loosestrife that grows in tall spikes above golden yellow fleabane. Both plants are buzzy with bees, but a few late butterflies are still on the wing and a few fresh migrants are still coming in.
|Common blue butterfly.|
By contrast, there is another fleabane that grows in the driest parts of the reserve. Purple fleabane grows along the dusty edge of the Heron Trail where it is almost insignificant, but worth seeking out.
|A very battered comma butterfly.|
Another plant that flowers late is hemp agrimony. It grows to over a metre high and its pink bunches of blossom are fragrant enough to pull in pollinators from a long way off. Although past its best, it will still attract butterflies through 'til September. Unfortunately, many of the butterflies are past their best too. Comma butterflies have scalloped wings that look like they have been chewed on by a bird, and the one I found obviously had been.
|Wasp spider top side.|
|The same wasp spider from below.|
Recently a new predator has moved into the meadow. The large and glamorous European wasp spider is a fairly new arrival to the UK. A few of the big, showy females have been found in our long grass over the last few years. Despite their flashy appearance they can be really difficult to spot. I found one in the meadow near the boardwalk, but she was showing her darker underside, which made her almost invisible. It was the strong web that gave her away. The web needs to be strong because this spider specialises in crickets and grasshoppers.
All of the photos above were taken during a walk around the meadow trail that lasted less than an hour. This was on a day that people were telling me that the Reserve was disappointingly quiet and that there was nothing about!