There are three pieces of birch root about as thick as my forearm that, for some reason, have arched above the soil in the Second Meadow. The best one is just in front of my seat. A polished mahogany colour with whitish segment-like bands. It could be part of a huge subterranean worm. They are worth looking after as kind of natural Zen landscape elements in the area. They also create small microclimates by providing shelter with, perhaps, slightly warmer, wetter and safer environments in their shelter for small plants and animals.
1 September 2019. Have cut the south western quartile of The Waste to ground level using a bread knife. The soil surface, to which recent showers do not seem to have penetrated, is pale grey and bumpy where there have been worm casts and other small disturbances. There are dead grass stems and blades of pallid fawn colour and some bright green leaves of bugle and self-heal getting ready for next spring. Tomorrow, or soon, I will give the area a further trim.
2 September 2019. Sunny after a cooler night than usual. I cut the south west quartile of The Waste as close to the ground as I could with trimming shears. This area now looks much like the original Square Metre when I started this project on 15 September 2003. I put a small piece of pure white gypsum rock by the self-heal in front of my viewing seat. A lesser hornet hoverfly, Volucella inanis, nectared briefly on the last umbel of hogweed flower and nearby I found a rust fungus on an undeveloped flowering shoot of marsh bird’s-foot trefoil. The larvae of the hoverfly develop in wasps’ and hornets’ nests and neither of these two insects has been very common this year, so it is good to see V. inanis, which breeds in wasps' nests, is still about.
A speckled wood butterfly settled on an oak leaf which had a whitewashed appearance where it had been infected by oak mildew, Erysiphe alphitoides. While watching a Rhingia rostrata (scarce snout-faced hoverfly) hide under a hazel leaf I noticed a very tortuous leaf mine probably of the least nut-tree pigmy, Stigmella microtheriella, once thought to be the smallest British moth.
A flower has appeared on the self-heal plant near the place my feet go when I am sitting on my seat and I marvelled at the colour and biodiversity of a distorted fallen oak leaf on Conservation Lawn, colours caused by maybe half a dozen species of microfungi growing on it.
A little gathering of black hole (Melanostoma) hoverflies appeared suddenly on the last hogweed flowers, flowers that have lasted much longer than those on neighbouring plants in Emthree. They do not, however seem to be setting seed.
A number of seedlings have crisped up to a point of no return in yesterday’s heat. I noticed one, possibly a scarlet pimpernel, in the centre of the Dust Bowl, that looked dead whereas a similar one close to an overground birch root had survived, perhaps due to the root’s creation of a microclimate with slightly more moisture in the soil.
30 September 2019. An almost eerie autumn quietness with warm but clouded sun. Grounded leaves are increasing now with every variety of colour (except blue). There was a female crane fly, Tipula paludosa, that had spread herself delicately with extended legs on a hornbeam leaf. This is the start of the autumn daddy-long-legs season.