Monday, April 30, 2007

Spider love

This afternoon I was inspecting the pitfall trap in Emthree with granddaughter Elly (who always likes to look to see if we have caught anything) when what I thought was a hunting spider shot over the rim and into the trap.

On careful inspection it proved to be a male clinging to the back of a female. They were not head to head, the male was facing towards the rear. Taking the photo was quite easy as they seemed disinclined to leave the trap, but eventually we put them back where they had started from, apparently unaffected by their adventure.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Bees, flies and beetles

There is now much going on in Emthree following the long spell of warm, sunny weather.

Today I photographed the carder bee on bugle flowers, a cranefly (good camouflage), and the small and rather rare fleabeetle (Longitarsus lycopi) on leaves of self-heal, one of its main foodplants.

The only rain in sight is the forecast of light showers for Wednesday, 25th April but it looks as though this will not be enough to make any significant difference.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Thyme-leaved speedwell (Veronica serpyllifolia)

This tiny speedwell pops up from time to time in The Metre and nearby. It is not readily able to compete with larger plants and often seems to favour bare ground, the sides of paths and so on.

The minute flowers are not very conspicuous, but have honey guides pointing to the central source of nectar, so perhaps they attract something.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The forget-me-not flowers

I have discovered that forget-me-nots like the one above start flowering when the flowers are still completely enclosed in their caskets of leaves. Eventually they start peeping out like those above.

While enclosed there seems little chance of pollination, so perhaps these early flowers are self-fertile.

This plant grows below the nort eastern corner of Butterfly Rock and is one of several plants I suspect were brought in as seeds by birds perching on the rock.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Black bryony and sycamore

Today I found seedlings of two new plants for this project in The Waste. They were (lower picture) a sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) and black bryony (Tamus communis). Interesting how the sycamore seedling resembles the shape of the tree it would ultimately turn into.

Sycamore is an alien and invasive species as this record shows since there is no sycamore old enough to set seed nearby. The identity is unquestionable as I found the old samara beside the seedling.

Black bryony is a striking plant, the only British member of the yam family. Although the flowers are inconspicuous, the bright red berries and variously coloured fading leaves make a fine autumnal feature. It is highly poisonous, though it is said they eat the young shoots like asparagus in Morocco - don't try it!

There is both a young sycamore and a black bryony in Medlar Wood adjacent to The Metre, so I do not suppose I shall leave these plants in Emthree for long.