Friday, 1 August 2014

Last blog from Byfield

After nine very enjoyable years in Byfield Chris and I are off in a few days to Daventry. "Dav" is quite a small town (pop. c. 27,000) but one of considerable interest. Of course we'll miss Byfield but I am being very positive.  We will be within easy reach of quite a good range of shops and yet only a short distance - about 400 metres as the crow flies (although it a well-known fact that crows fly in yards) - of open countryside. Our garden will be far smaller, but much more manageable; as far as I am concerned that is a big plus. As I write a pungent smell drifts through the window; they've been muck-spreading somewhere nearby. That is something I won't miss! We have made lots of friends here too but we'll be less than ten miles away so we will keep coming back.

As I took a brief stroll through Byfield earlier today I was struck by the profusion of galls on a hybrid Lime tree (Tilia x europaea) in the main street. 

Common Lime galled by the mite, Eriophyes tiliae.
Byfield, 31 July, 2014

The galls are the work of mites, Eriophyes tiliae, and I have rarely seen such an infestation. Generally speaking these galls and their mites probably do little harm to the host tree, but on this scale, a small effect would seem likely. 

Nearby, on a patch of waste ground, a plant of Fat Hen, Chenopodium album, was host to an interesting leaf-miner.

The culprit was a small moth, Chrysoesthia sexguttella, known as the Six-spot Neb. It is not a rare moth. It is generally described as 'local',  but the status often reflects the distribution of wildlife recorders rather than the actual insect.

On the edge of Daventry is a country park. It consists of a range of habitats around Daventry reservoir and, as far as I am aware, little wildlife recording has taken place there. To draw up a list of the flowering plants and invertebrates of the site could be a useful project, perhaps serving as a base line for recorders of future generations - and if I get in a brisk walk that will be a bonus. We'll see.

In the meantime there's packing to be done: microscopes, books and journals, computer, cd's, plus trivia such as clothes and furniture. So, get to it Tony.


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