I spent a most unusual Tuesday afternoon - sitting in a hospital car park. This blog was actually drafted the old fashioned way with pen and paper! Apart from the regular sirens it was surprisingly peaceful sitting in the car with the windows open. Surrounding the car park the land had been allowed to go wild, some attempt at landscaping had been made, evident by the handful of ornamental trees carefully staked against the wind. In the uncultivated, untended areas the range of plants was vast: the expected grasses, cocks foot, yorkshire fog and foxtails mostly, and a few nettles, lots of docks of at least two if not three different species, several plantains and lots of ragwort - not bothering anyone as you rarely see horses grazing hospital car parks! Hardhead, tall flowering thistles and shorter sow thistles too and towering over all of them a few onopordum - garden escapes I imagine. At one end some teasels, their heads still green and soft, dots of purple indicating greater rosebay willowherb and big white marguerites pushing though along the kerb edges above the brown fading pink clover flowers.
Fluttering over this patch of tangled wilderness were more meadow brown butterflies than I think I have ever seen and one little blue one, a holly blue maybe. In places clouds of hoverflies surrounded the ragwort and, the thistles and hardhead buzzed with many bees, lots of big fluffy bumblers along with a few honey bees too. On the car park fence sat a goldfinch eyeing up the bounty before systematically stripping all the fluff from one of the gone over thistle heads and refuelling on the oil rich seeds before flying off. Sparrows bustled around at ground level picking up already shed seeds. A chiff-chaff called from the woodland across the way, greenfinches tseeped from the scrub and a few seagulls (herrings mostly) floated overhead.
Not a bad way to spend an afternoon - certainly better than what goes on inside the building anyway!! And during pollinator awareness week a timely reminder of how vital the little apparently neglected pieces of land really are, providing a small wildlife oasis amongst the concrete and tarmac desert.