Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Boddington Reservoir

A mile or so to the west of Byfield is Boddington Reservoir. It may be circumnavigated by a footpath and makes a pleasant walk of perhaps 1.5 miles; Chris does the walk on most Mondays with her friend Lynda, putting me to shame. Its function is not that of providing a supply of drinking water but of topping up the nearby Oxford Canal, but it is also a popular venue for carp fishermen (and a few fisherwomen). Carp fishing puzzles me; why can't people try to catch something useful, like spiders...

As I have implied, I am lazy and only do the walk occasionally but I did pay it a visit on 5 June, following a 'safari' at nearby Boddington Meadow.

A large wind turbine was erected there a year or so ago. There were many objections to it but I was in favour. In fact the original proposal was for two turbines but, as is clear, only one got the go-ahead. I like it and feel that it adds an interesting perspective to the landscape.

Wild Mignonette at Boddington
Reservoir. 5 June, 2014

Several interesting plant species are to be found at the water's edge and beside the footpath including Wild Mignonette, Reseda lutea. Its inflorescences do not always arch in the manner shown but this is not unusual. It is only thinly scattered in the western part of Northants but is common on the limy soils beyond Corby and Oundle to the east. It is found almost invariably on disturbed ground, suggesting to me that it may be an alien plant, but the experts seem to accept it as native.

The flower of Water Figwort
Boddington Reservoir. 5 June, 2014

Scrophularia aquatica is, as its name suggests, a waterside plant and is known as the Water Figwort. It is common throughout the county in suitable habitats although there is no record for Northants prior to 1841 Its flowers are quite tiny and my close-up pic greatly exaggerates their size. Small they may be, but plenty of insects call in for a nectar fix. The plant gives its name to the family, Scrophulariaceae and, if the flowers look vaguely like  snapdragons it is because they are in the same family.

Hedge Woundwort at Boddington Reservoir
5 June, 2014

Clumps of Hedge Woundwort, Stachys sylvatica, grow there too, clearly enjoying the conditions. As my photograph shows, it is a visually attractive plant, but is let down by an unpleasant smell. It is a member of the mint family and is therefore related to lavender, thyme, rosemary and so on. The family is noted for strongly scented leaves but unfortunately not all are pleasantly aromatic; horehound, like woundwort, is distinctly malodorous. However it does not deter bees, which are always to be seen taking the copious nectar.

Gastrophysa viridula on dock.
Boddington Reservoir. 5 June, 2014

Insects abound beside the water. Here is another egg-bloated Dock Beetle (see blog for 7 June) looking, I suspect, for a suitable place on this dock leaf to lay its eggs. Docks may be dull-looking plants but they support a surprisingly wide range of insects.

Wildlife enthusiasts in the Boddington area understandably make for the nature reserve at Boddington Meadow. Perhaps the reservoir deserves a little more attention.

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