Thursday, 20 August 2015

When the Green Woods laugh

To what was William Blake referring when he wrote:

                                          When the green woods laugh
                                          With the voice of joy...

Perhaps not the Green Woodpecker, and yet I was reminded of these lines when I visited Kentle Woods earlier today. A pair (more?) was fracturing the silence with slightly insane laugh-like 'yaffling'  as they flew to and fro among the trees.

My visits to the 'patch' are no less frequent of late but, having recorded 276 species of invertebrates and 37 flowers/fungi I get slightly less of a buzz than during my initial forays. But when something new does turn up it is obviously more pleasing.

So, what would today bring?

Agromyza nana affecting White Clover leaves.
Kentle Wood, Daventry.  20 August, 2015

I got off to a good start, finding a White Clover, Trifolium repens, with odd white patches on the leaves. This is the work of a fly, Agromyza nana, and was new to the woods. Ok, I admit it - it isn't exciting to 99.9% of the population, but it pleased me.

Inrolled willow leaf, the work of the Willow Midget.
20 August, 2015

Perhaps even more exciting (or should that be less?) was this rolled leaf-margin on a willow leaf. It is work of the Willow Midget, Phyllonorycter salictella, subsp. viminiellaa micro-moth which is generally associated with the more narrow-leaved willows. Here it is on the broader leaves of Goat Willow but I am happy with the identification. 

Speckled wood on oak leaf. Kentle Wood, Daventry.
20 August, 2015

On an adjacent oak a Speckled Wood, Pararge aegeria, rested awhile. With the exception of the Ringlet and the Meadow Brown this is probably the commonest butterfly of Kentle Wood.

Caterpillar of The Spectacle. Kentle Wood, Daventry.
20 August, 2015

Sweeping nettles nearby I found I had netted a caterpillar of The Spectacle, Abrostola tripartita. I had visually checked the plants first but such is the effectiveness of its coloration that I had missed it.

? Hypena proboscidialis. Kentle Wood, Daventry.
20 August, 2015

By and large it was not a day for butterflies and moths and when I did find a moth imago I couldn't with confidence put a name to it. It is almost certainly one of the Snouts (Hypeninae) and is perhaps a poorly-marked Common Snout, Hypena proboscidalis - but it won't be added to the list.

Mountain Ash laden with fruit. Kentle
Wood, Daventry. 20 August, 2015

By and large the cherries have gone, presumably eaten, but other fruits are ripening. This Mountain Ash, Sorbus aucuparia, with its scarlet fruits, will soon be a target for jays, pigeons, thrushes and so on.

Apples were ripening too but are more likely to be consumed when they have fallen to the ground, where thrushes and blackbirds will tuck in.

Sloes approaching ripeness. Kentle Wood, Daventry.
20 August, 2015

In places the blackberries were ripe, as were some elder fruits. These sloes. Prunus spinosa, have some way to go. As I have mentioned before, the fruits will need to blet, i.e. begin to rot, before they become palatable.
Pied Shieldbug. Kentle Wood, Daventry.
20 August, 2015

It was while photographing the sloes that I saw this little shieldbug. I was surprised, not because it is rare - the Pied Shieldbug, Tritomegas bicolor, is very common - but because it was on tree foliage. It is normally to be found on White Dead-nettle or one of its relatives. 

And that's about it. There was just time to note Red Bartsia, Odontites verna, before setting off home. For a century or so this purple-flowered annual was placed in the Scrophulariaceae but recent research suggest it is better placed in the Orobanchaceae. Whatever, this species is new to the site and in the latest flora of Northamptonshire it states of this plant that in an 'area, roughly centred on Daventry, it seems to be completely absent. Closing the gap therefore made for a pleasing finale.

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