Sunday, 30 April 2017

Byfield Pool (1)

Today was the first official meeting of the year for the Northamptonshire Diptera Study Group and the sites to be visited were Boddington Meadow and Byfield Pool. The meetings are generally organised by John Showers but illness in the family meant he couldn't be with us. I was pleased to find that two new members, Chris and Kate Colles had joined us for their first meeting. Kevin Rowley was present too but neither Brian Harding nor Graham Warnes could make it.
The day was on the cool side and rather breezy, but thankfully dry. It was the breeze that made me plump for Byfield Pool, guessing that the tree cover would make conditions calmer. The down side was that the limited sunshine was barely able to penetrate to the ground.
We approached the pool via the retaining wall of Boddington Reservoir, where Winter Cress, Barbarea vulgaris, was in bloom.
Winter Cress growing beside Boddington Reservoir. 30 April, 2017

The plant was once called Herb St Barbara, explaining the Latin name for the genus. It is frequent beside streams throughout Northamptonshire.
It is that time of the year when the St Mark's Fly, Bibio marci, comes to our attention. The adults generally appear around St Mark's Day, 25 April, but with climate warming (Fake news!) the species would make a good subject for phenological studies.
A male St Mark's Fly at Byfield Pool. 30 April, 2017.
Note the apparent fuzziness of the eyes caused by the presence of long hairs.
The species has long had a reputation as a useful pollinator of fruit trees and more recent researches suggest that crops of oilseed rape also benefit from its visits.
Several dock plants had red blotches on their leaves, suggesting that a soothing ointment should be applied. In fact it was Dock Rust, Puccinia phragmitis, with pale crusty pustules on the under side of the leaf.
Dock Rust on the leaves of Wood Dock, Rumex sanguineus.
Byfield Pool, 30.iv.2017
This fungus frequently occurs on rhubarb but is not a problem. It has also been known to attack Japanese Knotweed but is apparently not being considered seriously as a form of control.
The leaves of Blackthorn, Prunus spinosa, were also under attack, this time from mites. The culprit may be Eriophyes similis although Phyllocoptes eupadi seems, on balance, to be a more likely candidate. I should have brought a specimen home for microscopic examination although even then I probably wouldn't have been able to put a name to them -  'a three-pipe problem, Watson'.
Phyllocoptes eupadi? on blackthorn leaves. Byfield Pool.
These observations are all very well but my main targets were spiders and bugs - by which I mean true bugs. In the event I took only two species of spider, both vey common, and one harvestman, also a very common species. And no bugs at all! I intend to return within a few days for a more intensive search.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

When will my May come?

This chilly, dismal April drags on. I am reminded of Barnfield's poem*:

                                            When will my May come, that I may embrace thee?
                                            When will the hour be of my soules joying?
                                                                            Richard Barnfield (1574-1627)

Yes, I know. He was speaking of unrequited love - he wasn't getting his oats. Well, I'm not getting my fair measure of sunshine and it is (almost) equally frustrating.
So, on one of my all-too-frequent visits to Daventry, I found myself facing biting winds and cold drizzle - again. To be fair, Chris and I had spent a pleasant hour or so on our allotment during the morning, in dry conditions and a few glimpses of sunshine. Our resident, very tame cock blackbird was there to keep us company and help to control the earthworm population.

A blackbird conducts an anti-worm patrol on our allotment.
27 April, 2017
No doubt he was feeding his missus while she sat on the nest.
Anyway, that was the morning, this is the afternoon. Daventry jobs wouldn't go away so I gritted my teeth, pushed on and cleared up a few matters. My errands took me zig-zagging around the town and, as a natural nosey parker, I sought items of interest...and largely failed.
I am not a great fan of Bergenias for too often the foliage is allowed to remain until it deteriorates into a mess of tatty, slug-nibbled 'elephants' ears'. However, when given proper care, as on this tiny municipal flower bed, I must allow that it can be attractive.
Bergenias provide a splash of colour near Daventry town centre.
27 April, 2017
As a member of the saxifrage family, Saxifragaceae, it is related to London Pride, Saxifraga x urbium, and indeed looks rather like London Pride on steroids.
A month or so ago I put a plant of Chinese Bramble, Rubus tricolor, against the fence in our back garden. This was a risky move as the species can become rampant and explains why I limited myself to the one plant, despite the fact that the raspberry-like fruit (it is sometimes called the Korean Raspberry) is edible and quite tasty. Why do I mention this? Well, it has been used in Daventry as ground cover and today I lingered near the Health Centre for a minute or two to take a closer look.

Chinese Bramble tumbles down a bank in Daventry. 27 April, 2017
The foliage is rather attractive, particularly if the plant is used to tumble down a bank but it was the tips of the branches which caught my attention. Salmon-pink and covered with soft bristles they are very attractive but easily overlooked. They are, I feel, one of the plants most pleasing features.
The tips of branches are covered in soft bristles. Daventry, 27 April, 2017
I was looking forward to getting home for a hot drink but a number of little curious structures on a brick wall made me pause. They were the pupal casings of ladybirds and 40-50 were present. Rather like the chrysalis of a butterfly, they are left behind when the adult - the imago - emerges.

Strange structures bedecked a wall in Daventry...
27 April, 2017
This casing is unique for each species and the previous owner of this compact, desirable residence was a Harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis. This is hardly surprising given that this is probably the commonest species hereabouts.
...but were just the empty pupae of Harlequin ladybirds
Nearby was a plant I rarely encounter. It was a Kapuka, Griselinia littoralis. This New Zealand shrub is, as the specific name suggests,  a seashore plant and makes a good choice here in Britain for an exposed coastal garden. It is, however, a rather undistinguished shrub and not one to catch the eye. Even so, I was pleased to encounter it. Formerly placed in the Dogwood Family, Cornaceae, recent genetic work suggests that the seven species forming the genus are best placed in their own family, the Griseliniaceae.

The rather unexciting Griselinia littoralis, Oxford Street, Daventry.
27 April, 2017
Only a few hundred metres to go now and the rain was getting heavier. There was just time to admire the exotic flowers of  another New Zealander, Sophora microphylla 'Sun King'. Known as the Kowhai, it is not bone hardy and appreciates a sheltered spot. But although Daventry is not in Britain's balmiest region it was clearly thriving, raising a rude finger to the rain.
Sunshine in the rain. Sophora microphylla 'Sun King'.
Badby Road West, Daventry. 27 April, 2017
It is a member of the Fabaceae Family and is thus related - though not closely - to laburnum, and shares with that plant some distinctly poisonous properties. But I had food awaiting me at home anyway so I wasn't tempted.

* I am not that much of a  poetry buff and only know the work through Benjamin Britten's setting of it in his 'Spring Symphony'.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Byfield - so what's new?

Yesterday I  took one of my regular strolls around Byfield  on the lookout, as usual, for anything new or out of the ordinary. The pocket park was my first destination and I entered via the playing fields.
Pendulous Sedge, Carex pendula, grew in tussocks beside the stream.
Pendulous Sedge beside the playing fields at Byfield, Northants.
24 April, 2017
It is a very grass-like plant but like most (all?) sedges it has trigonous, i.e. three sided, stems that form an equilateral triangle if cut across. The flower spikes are indeed pendulous, making the plant quite graceful and very distinctive, with only one or two Scirpus plants likely to create confusion. It grew in our garden when we lived in Byfield and could be a bit of a nuisance, with seedlings liable to crop up anywhere.
Drooping flower spikes justify the common name.
Byfield. 25 April, 2017
I left the streamside to enter the pocket park where, almost inevitably, the Green Shieldbug, Palomena prasina, was soon spotted. It made no attempt to move from its nettle leaf as I approached, doubtless feeling secure in its cryptic coloration. Few creatures attempt to eat it anyway as, like all shieldbugs, it has glands behind the head which secrete a very unpleasant odour, clearly repelling most would-be predators.
Green Shieldbug. Distinctly common throughout the spring and summer.
Byfield, 24 April, 2017
The day was turning out to be distinctly chilly; my hands were turning blue and I counted myself lucky to see any insects at all. Only a female Melanostoma mellinum was bold enough to brave the elements. This is one of the commonest of all our hoverflies and is generally abundant, even in gardens.
Melanostoma mellinum refuels at the Dandelion Service Station, Byfield.
24 April, 2017
It was sheltered from the biting wind by trees and it sensibly stayed close to the ground. One of the trees involved was a Sycamore, Acer pseudoplatanus. I was momentarily puzzled by pink patches on the leaves, most obvious on the underside, but then the penny dropped.  It was Tar Spot, caused by the fungus Rhytisma acerinum.
This Tar Spot will darken as the weeks slip by. Byfield, Northants.
24 April, 2017
In a few weeks the patches will turn black with yellowish borders. This is a very disfiguring disease but appears to cause no long-term damage. On a nearby Horse Chestnut the flower buds were developing well and visiting bees will soon be covered with the pink pollen. So far there was no sign of the mines caused by the moth Cameraria ohridella. This insect, the Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner, also causes disfiguring patches on leaves and may cause some long-term damage. Since being first reported in this country in 2002 has become a real problem.
A promise of things to come - Horse Chestnut flower buds.
Byfield, 24 April, 2017
Pale Bramble Rust, Kuehneola uredinis, was afflicting the stems of blackberries. It is one of these easily overlooked species and I admit it creates little excitement but in recent years there has been much talk of 'mindfulness' - being aware of and appreciating the environment around us. I really believe that mental well-being is helped by this state of awareness. Someone must recommend it to Donald Trump.
Pale Bramble Rust afflicts Rubus fruticosus. Byfield Pocket Park.
24 April, 2017
Anyway, by now I had reached the edge of the pocket park. There was just time to appreciate some Bush Vetch, Vicia sepium, scrambling among grasses and low shrubs.
Bush Vetch. Worth stooping down to for a closer look.
Byfield, 24 April, 2017
It is able to climb via tendrils at the end of its compound leaves and so raises itself up towards the sunlight without expending its resources on strong stems. It is very common in hedgerows and of course its specific name comes from the Latin sepes, a hedge.
The tendrils of Bush vetch cling to a Cow Parsley stem.
Byfield, 24 April, 2017
My walk next took me down Bell Lane. Many interesting plants grow at the foot of a wall facing the school but lots were dead, having been sprayed - very understandably as some of theme would soon become rampant. One plant to escape the spray was Cornsalad, Valerianella locusta. I have mentioned it in blogs before as an easily overlooked plant, but one which pays close examination.
Common Cornsalad at the foot of a wall, Byfield.
24 April, 2017
Its tiny, sky-blue flowers look vaguely like a forget-me-not but the two plants are not related. It is scattered throughout Northamptonshire and is the commonest of the five Valerianella species found in Britain.  A close look at the flowers betrays its relationship with Red Valerian, Centranthus ruber.

A little further on and Buffalo Currant, Ribes odoratum, was in flower. This native of central U.S.A. was introduced to the U.K in 1812 and it is not generally known that Tchaikovsky's dreadful overture commemorates this event. [Ed. You do talk rubbish at times Tony!]
Buffalo Currant, fragrant and pretty. Bell Lane, Byfield.
24 April, 2017
The tiny flowers are fragrant and, in a good year, may be followed by edible fruit. Perhaps it should be grown more often.
So, all in all, and given the chilly conditions, not a bad day. I gathered Chris from Julie Ferguson's house and, after a quick look at that odd member of the Poppy family, Greater Celandine, Chelidonium majus, it was back to Daventry.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Towcester Road Cemetery

I must have passed the cemetery on Northampton's Towcester Road dozens if not hundreds of times, but until yesterday I had never paid it a visit. It turned out to be much larger than I had expected and I probably only saw a quarter of the area, and only superficially at that. The cemetery is important for its war graves, with 116 graves of World War One victims plus a smaller number from the Second World War, but I never got that far.
The sun was in a genial mood and there was little wind; people were enjoying the conditions in what I judged to be average temperatures for mid April. Insects were abundant, especially bees, but as they are not a group in which I can claim any expertise I spent little time pursuing - or perusing - them. Butterflies were on the wing too, with Common Blue, Polyommatus icarus, Orange -tip, Anthocaris cardamines, and Speckled Wood, Pararge aegeria all present, but only the last-named paused for long enough for a photograph.
Several Speckled Wood butterflies were present. Towcester Road Cemetery,
Northampton. 19 April, 2017
It is, in my experience, a particularly approachable insect. This species tends to feed in tree tops, largely on honeydew, but those at ground level appeared to be there for purposes of mating for there was much chasing going on.
Most trees are now approaching full leaf and it hasn't taken long for various creatures to start nibbling, galling or otherwise exploiting this food source. In several places the leaves of hawthorn bore pock-marks caused by the mite Eriophyes crataegi. There are around 50-60 species of Eriophyes to be found in Britain, making them one of the most important of gall-causers.
The leaves of hawthorn were pock-marked by galls of the mite,
Eriophyes crataegi.  
A short distance away elm leaves were showing similar galls and again the culprit was a mite, Aceria campestricola. This is extremely common wherever elms are found, but it seems likely that only the leaves of small-leaved elms are affected and I have never observed it on Wych Elm, Ulmus glabra.
Elms bore similar tiny gall, but caused by a different mite.
Elms can be tricky to identify and really are a job for the specialist but Ulmus procera seems to have been the taxon involved here.
We are just entering the bluebell season and there were bluebells a-plenty. Unfortunately all were Spanish Bluebells, Hyacinthoides hispanica. This species is, I feel much superior as a garden plant to our native H. non-scripta but I use the term 'unfortunate' because, as is well-known, in many areas the Spanish Bluebell threatens to 'hybridise out of existence' our own species. As the photograph shows, the flowers of H. hispanica are 'tubbier' and the scape - the flowering stem - is more upright.
Spanish Bluebells were present but not our native species.
In the current case, the matter was put beyond doubt by the presence of pink-mauve specimens. Bluebells depend on insects for pollination but today I saw no visitors despite, as I mentioned earlier, the presence of many bees. Speaking of which, the Common Bee-fly, Bombylius major, was frequent, but I suppose its absence would have been more noteworthy.
Several specimens bore mauve-pink flowers.

I took no collecting equipment with me; to wield a sweep net would have been indiscreet but fortuitously I did have a small container with me into which I persuaded a few insects for later examination. No rarities were expected of course but one of the beetles collected was a Larch Ladybird, Aphidecta obliterata.
Larch Ladybird. Towcester Road Cemetery, Northampton.
19 April, 2017

Not, I'm sure you'll agree, one of the most strikingly coloured of the ladybird family. It is not rare but its rather cryptic coloration against cones or bark makes it easily overlooked.


Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Mooching around Daventry

The day didn't get off to the best of starts. I sat in bed idly looking at environmental issues on my tablet when I stumbled upon a 'wildlife quiz' - and found myself stumped by the very first question:
                     What is a lobster? Is it    a. an insect
                                                             b. a fish
                                                             c. a crustation
                                                             d. a mollusc
... and of course there was no correct answer since 'crustations' do not exist.

I have, over the years, often found references to a film called '101 Dalmations' but a 'crustation' was a new one for me. I try to be tolerant because my mathematical ability is almost risible but I'm amazed that a spell check hadn't picked it up.
Anyway, it was Chris's day for spending a couple of hours at the Daventry Air Ambulance shop. I had a few jobs to deal with in town but still ended up with lots of time on my hands so I went for a mooch around some of the less-visited areas adjacent to the town centre. (Mooch, by the way, apparently comes from the Old French mouchier, to hide, but I tried not to look too shifty.)
Where pavements were less trodden little 4-5 mm high 'palm trees' grew. These were the gemma-cups (asexual reproductive organs) of the liverwort, Marchantia polymorpha.
Marchantia polymorpha grew in paving crevices,
Daventry, 18 April, 2017
This is a common plant, particularly in plant nurseries and garden centres, where it can become a real nuisance, and here it flourished particularly around the bus station.
In a quiet spot just off the High Street stands a gnarled old specimen of Box Elder, Acer negundo. From whence comes its common name I know not.
Acer negundo, looking centuries old but perhaps not even a centenarian.
Daventry, 18 April, 2017
Certainly the leaves are vaguely elder-like, but I fail to see any resemblance to a box tree. All I learned from the internet was that there is a town in Colorado called Box Elder! The tree has an alternative name of Ashleaf Maple and perhaps this is the name we should use. The fruits of the tree already look brown and withered, but in fact are young and still ripening. The species, hailing from the eastern parts of central U.S.A., is commonly grown but, unlike this specimen, usually in the form with variegated foliage.
The odd-looking fruits of A. negundo
Although it was sunny it was rather chilly. Fortunately conditions away from the wind were very pleasant and on a leaf a female hoverfly, Syrphus ribes, was basking. This is one of the commonest of the wasp-mimicking hoverflies and frequently visits flowers, making it quite a useful pollinator.
The wasp-like Syrphus ribes enjoys the sun.
Daventry, 18 April, 2017
Bees are, of course, pollinators par excellence, and many were visiting shrubs of the gorse-like Spanish Broom, Genista hispanica. This is an excellent plant forming a mound covered with golden-yellow flowers and I was pleased to see it being grown in a municipal flower-bed.
Genista hispanica, found in Spain, France and Daventry.
18 April, 2017
The flowers have a delicious, spicy perfume and it was surely, this as much as the colour, which was attracting the bees, overwhelmingly Buff-tailed Bumblebees, Bombus terrestris.
A procession of bees was working at the flowers.
A handsome but very common Red-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus lapidarius, made off with her loot, not needing to travel far and quickly coming to ground among some dead leaves.
Bombus lapidarius is thankfully not one of our endangered species.
Daventry. 18 April, 2017
There will be an underground nest nearby containing up to 300 workers. The species seems to have a particular liking for yellow flowers. It is very widespread, unlike the very similar Bombus cullumanus, sadly now presumed extinct.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Fickle Spring

What has happened to spring? After a few lovely days we have been subjected to about four days of distinctly chilly weather. Even when the sun has broken through there has been little warmth to it and we have been troubled by a nagging north-west wind.
'April is the cruellest month' claimed T. S. Eliot in 'The Waste Land'. True, he wasn't referring to these sudden setbacks in the weather but the words seem appropriate.
What on earth am I talking about? Looking back over the years I can recall snow and bitter April winds; I can recall flood and devastation, and here I am, whingeing about a short cool snap. In fact I have risked planting out Morning Glory, Ipomoea purpurea, in our back garden, and so far no frosts have arrived to dash my optimism. No, the weather isn't that bad, but recently we have been spoiled.
Despite the cool conditions I strode forth today in the direction of Kentle Wood, passing on the way some large specimens of Cherry Laurel (mentioned in my blog on 2 April).
Cherry Laurel in full bloom. The Grange, Daventry.
14 April, 2017
It is a fine sight at this time of the year with its racemes of creamy-white flowers -  if you have plenty of space, Bone hardy it is, but in a smaller garden there are, I suggest, some choicer options.
The racemes of Cherry Laurel flowers attract a good range of insects.
Normally there would be numerous flies paying these flowers a visit, but not today and I pressed on. A little further on and a sparsely-grassed bank was being mined by Andrena bees. Their appearance, with distinctive and conspicuous grey-white hairs, showed them to be Ashy Mining Bees, Andrena cineraria.
Although this insect tends to have a western and southern distribution in England, finding it in this situation is in no way a surprise and there is evidence to suggest an increasing presence in central England.
With only a quarter of a mile to go I reached Browns Road where yellow roses tumbled down a bank.
I cannot be certain what they are but I'm reasonably confident that the species is Rosa xanthina 'Canary Bird'. 
A lovely rose makes a floral waterfall at the roadside.
Browns Road, Daventry. 14 April, 2017

The lovely yellow flowers are single and much visited by insects, making it an excellent choice for the wildlife garden.
The single flowers are unscented but attractive to wildlife.

On other shrubs at the roadside shieldbugs were to be seen. Only a couple of very common species were noted but nonetheless I was pleased to see them. Palomena prasina is, despite its green dorsum giving it camouflage on green foliage, reasonable easy to spot. No other British bug has quite the same size and coloration but, to be certain of the identification the under (ventral) side is of a pink or yellow shade.
Palomena prasina is one of Britain's largest shieldbugs. Browns Road,
Daventry. 14 April, 2017

Much more boldly marked is the Hawthorn Shieldbug, Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale. Surely this would be much easier to see with its distinct green and wine-red markings, but these blend in very well with the green leaves and red berries of hawthorn, making the insect easily overlooked.
The Hawthorn Shieldbug is a narrower insect. Browns Road, Daventry.
14 April, 2017

Compared with the observations made en route, Kentle Wood held few surprises. An open area of grassland in the central area had been colonised by hundreds of Coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara, plants.
Masses of Coltsfoot had gone to seed. Kentle Wood, Daventry.
14 April, 2017
These had gone to seed and from a distance they resembled a patch of cotton grass on a Scottish moor. (Rather surprisingly Common Cottongrass, .Eriophorum angustifolium, is found a few miles away at Bugbrooke Meadow.) I did however take a large number of beetles and spiders and perhaps microscopic examination of these over the next two or three days will reveal something out of the ordinary. So far I have recorded 44 species of flowering plants and 398 arthropods (insects, spiders, centipedes, etc.) from Kentle Wood and hopefully this year the figures will swell significantly. (Sure enough, a tiny spider called Ero furcata has just joined the list. This is one of the Pirate Spiders, a group of spiders specialising in entering the webs of other spiders and then killing them as prey. )

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The Pocket Park and Primulas

As mentioned on 4 March, Pom Boddington has gathered together a small team to do maintenance work in Byfield's pocket park and a short visit earlier today confirmed that the efforts are bearing fruit.
One enters from the cricket pitch to the north via a metalled track where apple blossom is bright among the elder and scrambling ivy. The origin of these apple trees is doubtful.
Apple blossom greets the visitor entering from the north.
Byfield Pocket Park. 12 April, 2017
Remains of a small orchard, dating back to the times when Byfield railway station stood here, can be discerned but the plant photographed may, like many 'Crab Apples', simply be the consequence of an apple core casually cast aside by a passer-by. Be that as it may, the pink blossom is a delight to humans and insects.
Flowers are now appearing in abundance. Most are commonplace but even the humble dandelion should not be ignored. Certainly they are not ignored by hoverflies and the one photographed is delving deep into a capitulum in search of nectar. Of course we can eat the flowers too: according to Adele Nozedar they 'make a good addition to salads, pancakes and even jellies and trifles'. (Adele Nozedar, 'The Hedgerow Handbook', Square Peg Books, 2012) Strictly speaking these pollinating insects are not required for pollination since dandelions - Taraxacum species - are apomictic: they produce seed wholly female in origin without fertilization, with the consequence that an enormous number of 'microspecies' has evolved, with at least 235 of these currently recognised in the British Isles alone.
 A hoverfly gets stuck in to a dandelion head.
Byfield Pocket Park. 12 April, 2017
Their diuretic properties are well known and in French they are called pissenlit - literally 'wet the bed' and my grandmother always referred to them such, as it was also the old Northamptonshire dialect term for them. Adele Nozedar states: 'This same diuretic action helps flush out toxins, including uric acid, alleviating rheumatism and gout'. I'll bear it in mind!
Primroses, Primula vulgaris, and Cowslips, Primula veris, are both native in the area of course, but not in Byfield Pocket Park. Both species have nevertheless been introduced although, like the apples referred to earlier, their provenance is questionable. We have three other species of Primula native to Britain. They are: Oxlip (Primula elatior), Bird's-eye Primrose (Primula farinosa) and the Scottish Primrose (Primula scotica), none of which is native to our county but are all very attractive garden plants.
Primula vulgaris flowers in Byfield Pocket Park.
12 April, 2017
The primroses look perfectly authentic but the 'cowslips' may be hybrids with primroses. The colourful  Polyanthus, Primula x polyanthus, plants of gardens are such hybrids and sometimes the precise taxon to which a particular plant belongs can be unclear. (Is this why the oxlip-primrose hybrid is sometimes called the Bedlam Cowslip?) But it must be admitted that the general appearance of the plants here is that of a cowslip. The plant is common in pastures and their name is derived from the Old English cu cow and slype slime, ie cow-dung. Tellingly, one old Northamptonshire dialect word for the plant is 'cowslop'. John Clare acknowledged this association with pastures when he wrote:
                                             The shepherd on his pasture walks 
                                             The first fair Cowslip finds,
                                             Whose tufted flowers on slender stalks,
                                             Keep nodding to the winds.  
Cowslips? Probably 95% anyway. Byfield Pocket Park.
12 April, 2017
The pocket park needs to be kept in a tidy state and the footpaths accessible but I am pleased to note that fallen trees are being left to decay. The Elder photographed will hopefully support a number of fungi in the course of this process, adding to the interest and natural health of the habitat.
A fallen Elder, Sambucus nigra, begins the slow road to decay.
12April, 2017
The soil disturbed in its falling will create opportunities for rapid colonisation by plants such as these Forget-me-nots, Myosotis species, whose flowers, small though they are, create a mist of sky-blue in open areas.