Monday, 26 March 2018

Mostly Mosering

With the weather showing its more amiable face I grabbed the chance to visit Matt Moser's land in the expectation that there would finally be a few flies about. Sure enough, on fence posts, tree trunks and the brickwork of Newnham windmill these were lots to be seen. | knew that examination of specimens later would show them to be commonplace species but they were nonetheless welcome.
I entered the woodland below the windmill to check out the daffodils there. Although they were mostly Lent Lilies and therefore native they wouldn't be attracting much in the way of insects.
Lovely to look at perhaps, but these daffodils were attracting no insects.
25 March, 2018

Daffodils have been planted in their millions around our town and villages and I suspect that many people involved in the planting feel that they are doing 'something for wildlife'. There are insects associated with Narcissus species such as the Large Narcissus Fly, Merodon equestris, a handsome bumblebee mimic whose larvae sometimes are a pest of daffodil bulbs. The Lesser Narcissus Fly, a name attached to both Eumerus funeralis and E. strigatus, can also cause damage to garden daffodils but it is still the case that anyone wishing to create a wildlife garden should look elsewhere. Needless to say, my survey of these swathes of flowers, lovely though they were, produced nothing.
My hopes of finding the Gorse Shieldbug also came to nothing. While bending over and scrutinising gorse buds I heard a series of distinct thumps behind me and turned to see three rabbits scampering up the hillside. Most people will be familiar with the way in which rabbits slam their back feet on the ground as a warning.
The gorse was in bloom of course but, along with the gorse and the narcissi other flowers are now appearing. The blooms of Blackthorn, Prunus spinosa, are beginning to adorn hedges. The specific epithet, spinosa, refers to the fierce thorns with which the shrub is armed. They add to its effectiveness as a barrier and at one time were thought to be poisonous. Of course they are not but the spines may leave small quantities of bacteria in a wound, leading to possible infection.
Blackthorn is now in flower. Near western entrance to Foxhill Farm.
25 March, 2018
At one time, prior to the introduction of ceramic piping, blackthorn was used in drainage ditches. A series of ditches were created across an ill-drained field and twiggy blackthorn branches used to fill them. The land was then levelled off with soil and the blackthorn, being slow to decay, would keep the ground open and the drainage functioning for a considerable time.
Celandines, Ficaria verna, have perhaps been in flower for some time on sunny banks but today I saw my first for the year. In Northamptonshire its glossy, brilliantly yellow flowers once earned it the name of 'Golden Guineas'.
Celandines are now adorning sunny banks. 25 March, 2018
Although we are apparently due for one more cold snap spring is now definitely on its way, and the list of invertebrates for Foxhill Farm has climbed to 75.

No comments:

Post a Comment