Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Common pouchwort

5 March 2013.  This was a brimstone day (I saw a male butterfly of this species in our lane) with the temperature reaching 13.3 C. 

I am continually surprised at what goes unnoticed, by me at least.  In the afternoon, as it was sunny, I sat on my wooden seat and scoured the surface of Emthree with close focus binoculars and noticed what was obviously a small liverwort growing on the damp eastern face of of the rock at the southern end of Henry's grave (Henry was our Jack Russell terrier who died almost exactly 11 years ago).

20130305 Metre Calypogeia fissaThe plant turned out to be common pouchwort Calypogeia fissa a common and widespread bryophyte, but one I had not recorded in Emthree before.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Early March

1 March 2013 I was struck today by a comment in Grimaldi & Engel (2007) Why Descriptive Science Still Matters. Bioscience 57 (8) : “Even the most prosaic description is actually a highly selective account of features that are found to be significant in comparison with related things. As a result, there is no such thing as a perfectly complete description or a perfectly complete classification or organization system; as descriptions become more refined and thorough, so do the systems of organization.”

It seems I still have a long way to go with Emthree.

2 March 2013 I have set out two half watermelon skins on the north west and south west sides of the Green Sanctuary to see what happens to them. If full of water they will, of course, act like water bowl traps for insects. That might be quite interesting as they will, of course, retain some of the esters and other aromatic chemicals of the fruit.

20130301 Metre Water melon bowl trap 2

The pendulous sedge Carex pendula in Medlar Wood has been eaten down by at least 50% by rabbits, but I am sure it will recover.

3 March 2013 The newly arrived chestnut round was scattered with tiny dark brown objects like spiky moles. Close examination showed these to be dead scales from the Lawson’s cypress hedge behind the metre.

20130303 Metre Lawson's cypress scales on log

The tiny heart-shaped dead and empty seed ponds of heath speedwell Veronica officinalis are a distinctive feature of the dry grass and the plant, as the Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora points out, “grows on well-drained, often moderately acidic or leached soils, and in some grasslands is confined to raised ground or anthills”. Our plants do best on raised ground and anthills.

20130303 Metre Veronica officinalis seed pods 

4 March 2013 I photographed to small holly discovered yesterday behind Midsummer Pond. It is decidedly yellowish green rather than the dark racing green of normal holly, so I shall have to watch it closely. A wire rabbit guard is called for.

20130304 Metre Midsummer Pond holly

It was a fine sunny day, the first I think with spring in the air. The birds were singing loudly and the grass had a flattened, dull, post-winter cast.

The leaf bud on a wild rose was swelling with joy above the winter thorns.

20130304 Metre rose bud and thorn