Friday, 3 November 2017

On a Disused Railway Track

I can usually contrive some sort of blog from even the most unpromising material but by 'eck I struggled today! The old Weedon to Leamington railway line once ran through Daventry and although much of the old track-bed has disappeared a few sections remain and are popular footpaths.
One section is crossed by the Ashby Road; it is easily accessible and so I decided to pay it a visit. I parked my car in Dennett Close and strode out, full of optimism. My mood didn't last long. Certainly the side of the footpath was colourful: blue crisp bags, silver and red coke cans and miscellaneous plastic bags, mostly orange - but not a single flower. Undaunted I carried on, back beneath the road I had just left.
The disused railway track is crossed by the Ashby Road.
Daventry, 3 November, 2017
I was surprised to find a patch of Japanese Knotweed, Fallopia japonica, growing beside the footpath. This member of the Dock Family, Polygonaceae, is notorious as an almost ineradicable weed. Landowners do not have a legal duty to remove it but I felt I ought to let the authorities (Daventry Town Council?) know, so I resolved to make a careful note of its position on my return journey.
A patch of Japanese Knotweed grew near to the track.
Daventry, 3 November, 2017
Do you think I could find it! I walked back and forth through the area I had visited only twenty or so minutes earlier but simply failed to find it and all I have is the photographic evidence. With the leaves having a distinctively truncated base it cannot easily be confused with any other plant in Britain but there it was - gone!
Curiously only female plants exist in Britain so its spread is purely by vegetative means. Furthermore all plants here in the U.K. are genetically identical: it is one huge clone - a single plant! It has been suggested that British specimens represent the largest female organism on earth!

What else?   Well, I swept a Parent Bug, Elasmucha grisea, from a birch tree.

And?   Er... I took a specimen of a small mirid bug, Pinalitus cervinus, from a willow tree. This variable species can sometimes occur in attractive shades of green but I'm afraid my specimen was rather dull. It is quite a widespread bug but easily overlooked and this was my first-ever record. And it was a cold day.

That won't do. Don't blame the weather, just go away and don't do another blog until you've something interesting to report.

Tony White  E-mail:

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