Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Skarresø, a Field in an Old Gravel Pit

In a field by an old gravel pit at Skarresø (Djursland) are good possibilities to find some rarities. That was not what we found on this day, but there is always something to see, and it is still summer after all!

The Sedum with many names like: Sedum live forever,  Witchs' moneybagsFrog's stomach, Harping Johnny was before considered a love herb, since it was used as an omen. A girl or a guy could check where to find a sweetheart - and even find out if the relationship would last. They put some cuttings in the roof, and if the plant continued to grow it was the most positive omen they could think of. If there were side shots it meant that they would have children. So this was a practical herb - it was also used in medicine against burns. Sap from the leaves were smeared upon the wound, which also helped by nosebleed and haemorrhoids.

Mullein. As you can see, the thicket around the still flowering mullein looks rather withered. It's already beginning to move close to autumn in some places! There are various species of Mullein, and it has a long, long history. It was used in medicine as a treatment for asthma and respiratory disorders, and the plant extraxts are an effective treatment in ear infections.Mullein is the active ingredient in many alternative smoking blends. An old superstition existed that witches in their incantations used lamps and candles provided with wicks of this sort. In most parts of Ireland, besides growing wild, it is carefully cultivated in gardens, because of a steady demand for the plant by sufferers from pulmonary consumption. The seeds are said to intoxicate fish when thrown into the water, and are used by poachers for that purpose, being slightly narcotic.


Southern Hawker/ Blå Mosaikguldsmed is the largest dragonfly in Denmark It flies with a fine agility and a speed of  25-30 km pr. hour while catching insects in a catch basket, which is shaped with its legs. The prey is eaten in the air and you can hear the crunching! It flies often far from water , hunting along hedges and forest glades. Here it is in a forest glade  - and unfortunately it is difficult to see its fine wings.

Red Admiral

Red Admiral/Admiral. A fine admiral in a plum tree. It loves the sap from those sweet fruits. Both admirals and some other butterlies are often seen among plums or on trees with sap running down the wood. The butterfly can be quite intoxicated and is easy to come close to in that condition.  The admiral is a migrating butterfly - and each year arrive new butterflies from southern Europe. It is one of few butterflies who live far north, it flies even to Iceland. 

The Map

The Map Butterfly/Nældesommerfugl is rather unusual, since the spring- and summer generation is not  alike. In Swedish, German and English is it called the Map (Landkort), caused by a characteristic pattern in beige, chocolatebrown and blue on the underside of the wings, which look like a map with roads and land areas. This fine little map flew quickly away.  Bye, bye, see you next year!
  Bush Cricket/ Løvgræshoppe. I had never seen a bush cricket before, and I was actually schocked to see the size of it. I understand why it is able to bite a human! I was afraid if it would jump up in my face! They are also known as long-horned grasshoppers, although they are more closely related to crickets than to grasshoppers. The bush cricket is 22-53 mm. Its habitat is in the whole  of Denmark except in Mid- and West Jutland. The calls of the male can be heard several hundred meters away - it calls from tall plants and trees. It makes sounds by rubbing the front wings. The bush cricket is a predator, eating other insects -  and if you catch one it might bite. Its enemies are birds and lesser animals.

Red Bartsia
Red bartsia/Rødtop is a half -parasite. It fastens on to the roots of neighbouring grasses, taking water and minerals from them, as a result the affected grasses' growth will be stunted. It was once offering a cure for toothace  since the botanical name odons is Greek for tooth. Carder bees and also a specific solitary bee feed on red bartsia.

Agrimony/Agermåne has a long history of medicinal use.The ancient Greeks used Agrimony to treat eye ailments, and it was made into brews to cure diarrhea and disorders of the gallbladder, liver, and kidneys. Anglo-Saxons made a solution from the leaves and seeds for healing wounds; this use continued through the Middle Ages and afterward, in a preparation called eau d'arquebusade, or "musket-shot water". Later, agrimony was prescribed for athlete's foot. Although the plant has no idiopathic properties, tradition holds that when placed under a person's head, Agrimony will induce a deep sleep that will last until removed.
As you can see this agrimony disappears almost in the withered grass and thicket. It was a dry place.  The grass was dry as dust, but a few days later came the rain.

Skarresø church
The trip was over, I've got some problems walking too many kilometers! We took a rest opposite a small lake downside a church. There was a nice flock of ducks on the grass, and I thought they would come swarming over to us, but I was surprised to see them all waddle down to the water and disappear over in a corner of the lake. Ducks are usually not that shy, but maybe someone has been teasing them. This happens - and it's a shame.

please click to enlarge - most photos need it this time!


photo Skarresø, August 2011: grethe bachmann


Thyra said...

Hello Gerry! Thank you for your comment. Glad to hear! `)
I had to change the post so your comment has disappeared!

Thyra said...

Hej Gerry I forgot to say that I had some trouble with the photos so I removed the old post. It was such a mess!!

Wanda..... said...

So many similar plants are found here on the property, Grethe. There's also an old gravel pit way behind the woods out back. Your Bush Crikets are what we call was a childhood nickname I called my g'daughter Katie...because her cousins and brothers always said "Katie did it!" and she was as noisy as a katydid!

Thyra said...

That's very interesting, Wanda - there are always many plants (and insects too) in these old gravel pits and they are fun to examine. Butterflies come there to the flowers.
What a nice name for the cricket, so she was a noisy one was she? `)
The Danish name is a grasshopper, and it is actually a cricket! It seems that you see them often, I have only seen this one, and I hadn't realized how big they are. Maybe it's because I didn't have eye for it in the past! I think I was like your daughter - things had to happen all the time!
Grethe ´)