Friday, 3 June 2016

Borough Hill - and still much to do

Today I made my third visit to Borough Hill in recent weeks, knowing that a vast amount of time would need to be spent at this site for reasonable coverage to be obtained. After my first visit I had only recorded 6 spider species, 11 diptera (two-winged flies) and 12 other invertebrates. It was, as I said at the time. a paltry figure. Following my second visit on 27 May the figures has advanced to 12 spiders, 17 diptera and 20 other invertebrates; I was still only scratching the surface.

I arrived on a dull, dismal and dreary day (It's always worth sticking in a bit of alliteration when you haven't much to say). It slowly warmed up but the sun was reluctant to put in an appearance.
Just inside the entrance a group of Wych Elms, Ulmus glabra, stood. The word 'glabra' implies lack of hair, but the foliage is in fact hairy when young although the leaves are glabrous later.
Withering fruits on Wych Elm. Borough Hill, Daventry.
3 June, 2016

It had flowered some weeks ago. Now even the fruit wings were withering. Although the huge elms of my childhood are largely a memory, the Wych Elm seems unaffected by Dutch Elm Disease and can still make a hefty tree.

White Campion on Borough Hill, Daventry.
3 June, 2016
A few plants of White Campion, Silene latifolia (= Silene alba), were present and, a couple of yards away, Red Campion, Silene dioica was in flower.
Red Campion, Borough Hill, Daventry.
3 June, 2016
The two species readily cross-pollinate so it was no surprise to find the pink hybrids, Silene x hampeana, also present.
The wishy-washy Pink-Red Campion hybrid.
Borough Hill, Daventry. 3 June, 2016
The inclement weather meant that few insects were on the wing and not a butterfly was seen.
Sloe Bug on White Dead -nettle. Borough Hill, Daventry.
3 June, 2016
But a Sloe Bug, Dolycoris baccarum, put in an appearance. Just as Hawthorn Shieldbugs are not confined to hawthorn, so the Sloe Bug is not restricted to sloes (blackthorn fruits); in fact the insect appears to have no connection with sloes whatsoever, so the name seems to have arisen through a misconception.
Rather annoyingly, the weather had just decided to mend when the time came for me to go home but I had quite a few spiders in my pot of alcohol so I was reasonably content.

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