Sunday, 3 July 2016

More from Woodford Halse

My recent visit (26 June) to Woodford Halse Pocket Park persuaded me to return for another look, this time concentrating on the eastern half of the reserve. Like other reserves, such as the one at Farthinghoe, this is a linear area occupying land which was once railway track, in this case part of the former Great Central Line. Most of the track on this eastern part occupies a fairly wide cutting and this forms part of the reserve.
The former Great Central looking east. Woodford
Halse, Northants. 3 July, 2016
The flora is exuberant and, although relatively few plant species were noted by me today, over 160 species of flowering plant have been recorded here. Half a dozen spikes of Common Spotted Orchid were seen but this is the one orchid that should be expected.

Self-heal is common but none the less welcome.. Woodford Halse
Pocket park. 3 July, 2016
Of a similar shade of purple is Self-heal, Prunella vulgaris. It is common in garden lawns and, as a member of the Mint family, Lamiaceae, is a valuable bee plant.

The weather was good and insects were plentiful. Unfortunately, included among these was the Horse Fly Haematopota pluvialis. Known to dipterists as the Notch-horned Cleg it is a real nuisance and, although I was constantly swatting them away from my bare arms, they did draw blood..
A mating pair of beetles, Rhagonycha fulva. Woodford Halse Pocket
Park. 3 July, 2016
Beetles were less common than I had hoped, with the commonest - or at least the most obvious - being Rhagonycha fulva, a very familiar and widespread Soldier Beetle. Black tips to the wing-cases (elytra) are one of this species' distinguishing features, although they do not show on this photograph of a mating pair. More impressive although rather common is the Spotted Longhorn Beetle, Rutpela maculata. Maculate it may be but the pattern formed by these spots is quite variable.

Rutpela maculata, formerly Strangalia maculata. Woodford Halse
Pocket \Park. 3 July, 2016
I have, throughout, referred to his reserve as a pocket park, and my understanding is that it started life as such, but it is now a reserve managed by the Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust. And very good it is too! As is always the case, I now face several hours - days - of microscope work to establish the identity of some of the smaller flies.


No comments:

Post a Comment