Friday, 20 March 2015

Surveying Kentle Wood

I have now received the go-ahead to do a survey of Kentle Wood. I'll concentrate on the flora (which won't take long!) and arthropods - woodlice, centipedes, millipedes, spiders and insects. I am fond of birds and have done a lot of bird watching over the years but I'm hoping that there will be local bird watchers keeping an eye on them.

A typical grass tussock at Kentle Wood, Daventry
17 March, 2015
I am starting with spiders. Although they are not very obvious at this time of the year tussocks of grass - of which there are many at the woodland edge - should yield 'money spiders'. These are members of the Linyphiidae family. Most of them are very tiny so, although I found them very tricky at first, that is what makes them an interesting challenge.

Grass tussocks are not only home to spiders but springtails, beetles and many other creatures. As the trees form a canopy these grassy habitats will slowly disappear, hopefully to be replaced by woodland perennials; these would have to be planted by working parties.

Common Fumitory at the entrance to Kentle Wood,
Daventry. 17 March, 2015

A pretty specimen of Common Fumitory, Fumaria officinalis, was growing at the entrance, leaning against a gate post. When en masse the greyish, deeply divided leaves have a fanciful resemblance to smoke, hence the common name. The old French name was fume-terre or 'earth smoke'. Not a lot of people know that.

It has to be said that my first visit was not very productive. Two spider species, some millipedes and a beetle are not much of a reward for a lot of bending and cold, wet hands. The consequence is a very short blog.

But it's a start.

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