Thursday, May 31, 2007

Square metre on Springwatch

It has been rumoured that the Square Metre project will be featuring on BBC TV's Springwatch series this year.
Well, as the picture shows, they have spent time filming and I am assured the material will appear on the box in due course.
Fortunately Emthree behaved herself during filming and we had all day sunshine. If you want to see me crawling about on my hands and knees looking at dungflies and things, tune into the programme. I will post up the date and time if I find out what it is.
I will also be broadcasting live from the Square Metre as part of the Springwatch Project on Southern Counties Radio sometime between 7.15am and 9am on Monday, 4 June.

St Johnswort leaf beetle (Chrysolina hyperici)

Recently I found a shining metallic beetle about the size and shape of a ladybird happily chewing its way through the leaves of one of the square-stalked St Johnsworts (Hypericum tetrapterum) in The Waste. These have not been growing so well this year and maybe the beetle is the cause.

Elsewhere I have seen them in considerable numbers and in some countries where St Johnsworts have become troublesome introduced weed species the beetles have been used as a control agent.
It will be interesting to see if our St Johnsworts and their beetles can live together in the longer term.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Birch leaf bugs

The young birch tree on Thistle Moor in the Square Metre has been attacked by three insect species this spring. There was a caterpillar in a folded leaf, probably a micro moth as soon as the birch leaves appeared.

A little later I found leaves damaged by two invertebrate species, the leaf mines (top photo) of the white-spot purple moth (Eriocrania unimaculella) and the birch leaf-rolling weevil (Deporaus betulae), both new species for the quadrat.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Narrow-lleaved vetch (Vicia sativa ssp, angustifolia) again

One of the key flowers in Emthree has opened for the first time this year (I counted five).

Narrow-leaved vetch is typical of late spring and early summer, dotting the grass with small purpe spots. Ants are constantly scrambling about on them and the picture shows one looking, no doubt, for nectar or other sugary exudations. I

let the grass round about grow a little partly to support the vetches and ensure an adequate supply of seed for next year. I suppose one of the reasons why Emthree stays so green and healthy-looking is due to the nitrogen-fixing bacteria associated with roots of plants of the pea family.