Friday, 6 October 2017

Kentle Wood in October

Not since late August have I ventured out to Kentle Wood but I went with my soul full of foolish optimism but uplifted by fine, sunny weather. There were even a few butterflies about although all were, predictably, Speckled Woods. The caterpillars feed on various species of grass, so there's plenty of choice.
A Speckled Wood basks on a hazel leaf,  Kentle Wood, Daventry.
6 October, 2017
The leaves of ash trees were falling fast, those of cherry were on the turn whilst hazel as yet seemed unaffected by the shorter days. This is a prime time to be on the lookout for plant galls and leaf mines so I made a point of examining trees, especially oaks.
Ramshorn galls are very distinctive but not always easy to see.
Kentle Wood, Daventry. 6 October, 2017
The Ramshorn Gall, found only on oaks and caused by the tiny wasp Andricus aries, was quickly found (new for Kentle Wood) but the gall of the fly, Macrodiplosis pustularis, was a little less obvious, being no more than a swollen leaf tip bent over. This too was new for the wood.
The distorted leaf caused by Macrodiplosis pustularis is not obviously
a gall at all. Kentle Wood, 6 October, 2017
The leaves of the hazels were displaying the rounded white mines of Phyllonorycter coryli, the Nut-leaf Blister Moth. It seems that the insect is found wherever hazel grows, occurring in Byfield Pocket Park and so on, but surprisingly it was another Kentle Wood record.

The larvae of the Nut-leaf Blister Moth form very distinctive mines.
Kentle Wood, Daventry. 6 October, 2017
With the penultimate sweep of my net I secured, from a grass-herb mix, a 'woolly bear' caterpillar. I photographed it and took it home for a closer look, there being several rather similar caterpillars in Britain. Once home I popped it under my microscope to examine more details - and then the phone rang. It was only a very short call but when I returned to the microscope the caterpillar had made a run for it and was nowhere to be found. However there was no doubt that it was a Muslin Moth, Diaphora mendica (right appearance, right habitat, right time of the year) and it is a ubiquitous species, with the female moth often active in the daytime on sunny days.
The Muslin Moth has 'woolly bear' caterpillars. Kentle Wood, Daventry.
6 October, 2017
Another record for Kentle Wood was the very common limoniid cranefly, Limonia nubeculosa, but that was about it.
I returned home with a dozen or so blowflies and their kin; there could be a surprise.


Invertebrate total now stands at 509

No comments:

Post a Comment