Tuesday, 15 August 2017


A couple of days ago the total number of organisms I had recorded from Kentle Wood was 499. There is little point to the simple compilation of lists, but over the decades most naturalists have produced lists of this, that and, sometimes, the other. Those dating back over fifty years or so are valuable in demonstrating the enormous changes that have taken place subsequently.
Anyway, within a few minutes of arriving today I recorded my 500th species - an Angle Shades moth, Phlogophora meticulosa, in the form of a caterpillar beaten from a willow tree.
The larva of the Angle Shades Moth. Not easy to spot among the greenery.
Kentle Wood, Daventry. 14 August, 2017
The only surprise is that I hadn't recorded it before, as it is exceedingly common.
The trees bordering the rides are now heavily laden with foliage, in some places creating a heavy shade. A jay screamed out as I wandered along. Why are these brightly-coloured crows so difficult to spot?
Woodland rides are now quite shady in places.
Kentle Wood, Daventry. 14 August, 2017
In more open spaces, where the sun can get to ground level, thistles are much in evidence. The commonest species by far is Creeping Thistle, Cirsium arvense, a serious pest of agricultural land. In its defence it attracts hordes of insects and it is always worth spending a few minutes on a large clump.
The gall of Urophora cardui. Quite unmistakeable.
Kentle Wood, Daventry. 14 August, 2017
The stems are commonly galled by the tephritid fly, Urophora cardui, and a gall I noticed today was probably the largest I have ever seen, approaching golf-ball size. Working my way steadily along I noted a few interesting insects for closer examination later.

It turned out that I had found two more species:

Panorpa germanica - a scorpion fly                          501
Sitona puncticollis - a moderately common weevil   502

I had also taken home a pot of spiders. Surely, I thought, there will be something a little out-of-the-ordinary. But no, that was it for the day.
I'll eventually pass on my list to the Woodland Trust and the local Wildlife Trust to provide a baseline of species for future naturalists.

Tony White    E-mail: diaea@yahoo.co.uk

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