Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Flora and Fauna of Regency Britain


Around the beginning of each monthI will give you A naturalists Diary on what the countryside of England might have looked like.

September

Wheat is ripe in the fields and waves in the breeze on rolling hills. I can remember vacations as a child and the wonder of those golden fields often scattered with scarlet poppies. Above is a picture of farm laborers at the threshing. Anyone think that looks like fun?


The common blue passion-flower flowers from June to October. The Harvest-Bug (Acarus ricinus), proves a very troublesome and disagreeable insect, during this month particularly in some of the southern counties of England. According to my sources, the best cure for the bite was spirit of hartshorn.

“August and September constitute the English villeggiatura, and most persons who possess a sufficient portion of the ‘glittering ore,’ the passé-par tout of this chequered scene,--seek health and pleasure in exploring the beauties of our picturesque and fertile
country;--and whether they stroll over its ever-green and flower-enamelled meads, or ramble among its oak-crowned forests,--or linger on the borders of the magnificent ocean which surrounds this happy island.”

In September the nightingale leaves for warmer shores and most of the song birds are silent. I have memories of my mother waking me at night to listen to a nightingale. What a sweet liquid sound it was.

Nightingales are a secretive bird with a wonderful song which likes nothing better than hiding in the middle of an impenetrable bush or thicket. In the UK nightingales breed mostly south of the Severn-Wash line and east from Dorset to Kent. The highest densities are found in the south east: Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Kent and Sussex.

In the calm mornings of September the woodlark carols in the air, chiefly in the neighbourhood of thickets and copses, (don't you just love those words, they roll off the tongue) with a soft quietness perfectly in unison with the sober, almost melancholy stillness of the hour. The sweet simple note of the robin is again heard, and the skylark delights us with his melody. But too often, however, in our autumnal rambles, in the neighborhood of great towns we encounter the nets of the bird-catcher, which deprive us of great numbers of our favorite bird.

In bloom in September: heart’s-ease, nasturtia, marigolds, sweet peas, mignionette, golden rod, stocks, tangier pea, holly-hock, michaelmas daisy,saffron, and ivy. All Saints Cherry is covered with fruit.

The Phalaena russula and the saffron butterfly appear in this month. The sulphur butterfly also will frequently be seen in the bright mornings of September.

Herrings, (pictured below) sometimes called the silver fish, pay their annual visit to England in September, and afford a rich harvest to the inhabitants of its eastern and western coasts. There are many photographs of herring fishing, but so far I have not found a picture from the Regency.

I hope you enjoyed this view of natural England. I will have information about October when we get to that month.

Next Tuesday I will be announcing a contest.

Until then, dear blogfans, Happy Rambling.