line.gif - 1064 Bytes


Saturday, 26th July 2003, West Yorkshire

knapweedStems of knapweed, four feet tall, have sprung up between the path and the pond. I had to cut back one stem because it spread across the path and other stems have bent out over the pond, but at least this stem is standing upright.

The purple-magenta flowers project, thistle-like, from a flowerhead that resembles a small bristly pineapple and gives the plant its alternative name of hardhead. It's sometimes called black knapweed: its scientific name is Centaurea nigra.

The upper leaves are simple but halfway down the stem the leaves each have one or two pairs of of points near the base. Some of the lower leaves, such as the one I've sketched as an inset (bottom left) have these toothlike points down both sides of the leaf.


As I draw, three species of bumblebee visit the flowers, often moving from one to the next, moving around each flower in a clockwise direction.

ginger bumblebeeOne smaller bumblebee has what I always think of as a marmalade-coloured thorax, another has a pale ochre tail but the largest species to visit has two ochre-orange stripes, one on the thorax, one on the abdomen, and a creamy tail.

bullfinchAs I write this in my diary Barbara calls me: a male bullfinch, a bird we haven't seen for months, has been visiting the honeysuckle which now has ripe red berries. Hope I see it next time it's here! next page

Richard Bell