Tuesday, 13 November 2018

High March and beyond

Chris had an appointment on High March so I decided to cadge a lift and walk home, hoping to reveal as-yet undiscovered areas of Daventry.

Towards the top of High March I found a footpath climbing up a slope on my right. It was too tempting to resist so, although there was probably no right of way, I decided to go for it.

An alluring footpath struck out east from High March.
13 November, 2018

There was a good deal of elm in the area, the deeply fissured bark suggesting that the 'species' was Ulmus minor. In fact this is an aggregate of taxa and elms, at their best, are very tricky to identify. It may be that all the trees I saw belonged to one huge clone, spreading by suckers. Incidentally, a similar type of bark can develop on Field Maple.

The deeply fissured bark of young branches of Ulmus minor disappears
as the branches age. Daventry, 13 November, 2018

If I'm honest, this part of my walk turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, but if I repeat it next spring or summer it could be a different story. The only interesting species observed was Equus caballus. Recent DNA analysis of the domesticated horse has provided some surprises and I am not competent to discuss these findings. However, drawing on years of experience combined with acute powers of observation I am left in no doubt that the animal that I observed today was a horse.

No doubt about it, it was a horse. Near Borough Hill, Daventry.
13 November, 2018

My walk had taken me to the foot of Borough Hill but I now turned west into Daventry where, as I passed through Southbrook, a large and impressive cotoneaster was putting on a fine show. I suspect it was Cotoneaster frigidus, in a form known as 'Cornubia', but with no flowers I don't feel over-confident about it.

An impressive cotoneaster in Trafalgar Way, Daventry.
13 November, 2018

And so on towards home noting, on the way, garden hedgerows of box, Buxus sempervirens with their terminal buds attacked by Psylla buxi, causing them to bunch like a small cabbage.
'Surely not,' I hear you cry, 'that is Spanioneura buxi.'  But no, it is yet another name-change we must learn to contend with.
Psylla buxi has attacked this bud of box. Swann Dale, Daventry.
13 November, 2018

This is an extremely common affliction suffered by box bushes and anyone who grows this species is likely to find their plants attacked by this psyllid bug. Fortunately it appears to that the shrub/tree is unharmed.

Three and a half interesting miles - or at least I thought so.

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