Monday, 6 June 2016

Much ado about Kentle Wood

I decided to take the car rather than walk to Kentle Wood - an easy decision! As I was about open the door I noticed that a moth was clinging to the car bodywork trying to cadge a lift. It was the extremely common Garden Carpet Moth, Xanthorrhoe fluctuata, and it turns out it didn't want a lift at all, but fluttered off as soon as I started the engine. 
A Garden Carpet Moth clings to my car bodywork.
Stefen Hill, Daventry. 5 June, 2016
On reaching the wood I was impressed at how much things had moved on since my last visit. Kentle Wood is decades away from reaching maturity but it is looking in good shape and promises much.

Kentle Wood. The view from the entrance.
5 June, 2016
The Common Spotted Orchids,  Dactylorhiza fuchsii, are back with us and are looking strong. They need a couple of weeks for the spikes to fully open and display their pink-purple flowers but the colony seems to be growing.

Common Spotted Orchids are flourishing.
Kentle Wood, Daventry. 5 June, 2016
A few days ago, on Borough Hill, I photographed the rather impressive Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn Beetle, Agapanthia villosoviridescens, with its striking banded antennae.

The Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn Beetle. Kentle Wood,
Daventry. 5 June, 2016

Today it was here in Kentle Wood so clearly it is common locally. In fact lots of beetles were prominent on the flowers, mainly buttercups, bordering the woodland rides.  All were common but no less attractive for that. Among the most prominent were both males and females of Oedemera nobilis - known as the Swollen-thighed Beetle.

The male of the Swollen-thighed Beetle gives the species its
common name. Kentle Wood. 5 June, 2016

The hugely swollen femora ('thighs') of the male are responsible for the common name: the females are far more  'normal' in appearance. These beetles feed on the pollen of buttercups and many other flowers and are usually abundant in meadowland.

The gaping wing cases help to identify the female Swollen-thighed
Beetle. Kentle Wood, Daventry. 5 June, 2016
Also present was a tortoise beetle. A few days ago, in my garden, I had taken Cassida vibex but this was the similar Thistle Tortoise Beetle, Cassida rubiginosa.

The Thistle Tortoise Beetle is one of several similar Cassida species.
Kentle Wood, Daventry. 5 June, 2016
Beetles abounded, including several species of what, as children, we called 'bloodsuckers'. I will not dwell on these or any other beetles as they were too numerous. As the geneticist J.B.S.Haldane put it: 'The creator has an inordinate fondness for beetles'.

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