Monday, 22 August 2016

The Admiral Nelson

The weather on Sunday was quite decent so Chris and I decided to go over to Braunston for a meal at The Admiral Nelson. It has a picturesque setting beside the canal and is a far more colourful scene than that which met me three days ago on the same canal near Daventry.
The food is not haute cuisine but the tables were full and the customers happy. As for the canal, it was extremely busy and a couple of boats usually shared the lock as they headed south-east or north-west. We had booked a table but allowed ourselves half an hour or so to stroll around and enjoy the scene. Very few water plants adorned the banks along this stretch with only Amphibious Bistort providing a bit of colour.
Amphibious Bistort was plentiful beside the canal.
Braunston, 21 August, 2016
This plant, Polygonum amphibium, has some attractive garden relatives, e.g. Polygon affine, which attract numerous insects but none was present on this common species.
Taphrina tosquinetii galling alder leaf at Braunston, Northants.
21 August, 2016
An alder, Alnus glutinosa, stood near to the canal edge. Curious galls were present on the leaf blade, almost certainly the work of the fungus Taphrina tosquinetii.
The 'pleating' along the midrib on this ash leaflet is the
work of Dasineura fraxini. Braunston. 21 August, 2016
The leaflet of an ash tree showed far more familiar galling. It was the work of the fly, Dasineura fraxini. This is both widespread and common, so is not likely to be a new record for this 10x10 km square. A closer look at the underside made the gall more obvious.

Dasineura fraxini, another view
The ground around the busy locks at Braunston endures a great deal of trampling and general disturbance so chances of unusual wildlife sightings are slim, but galls always come to the rescue!

The locks were in constant use. Braunston, Northants. 21 August, 2016
Here I must confess that I've been very lax. This is probably a gall caused by the mite, Phyllocoptes goniothorax, but I really should have examined it more closely or, better still, have brought the leaf home. Now I'll never know for sure.

Phyllocoptes goniothorax? Almost certainly. On hawthorn at
Braunston, Northants. 21 August, 2016
Speaking of laxity, I always take a small specimen tube out with me - except today. So inevitably I found an intriguing insect, one that required closer examination. It had feathery antennae and was clearly a member of that group of flies known as the Nematocera - but what is it? It was quite tiny (about 3mm) and thus tricky to photograph clearly in the blustery wind. Its marking are vaguely similar to the genus of craneflies known as Ctenophora, but the insect is far too small. The truth is, I'll never know, and this is a sharp reminder to me: Estote parati, as we never said in the Boy Scouts.

??? Braunston, Northants. 21 August, 2016
So, not for the first time, my blog is little more than a memo of limited interest to anyone except myself; a pleasant couple of hours perhaps to be repeated in the near future.

No comments:

Post a Comment