Wednesday, 12 December 2018

No place like home

Chris was off to Northampton today for lunch with old friends. It pleases me enormously that she does this; she has a wide circle of friends from the past, often former work colleagues, and I know she will enjoy herself. I decided to walk locally.

In one of his  poems W.H.Auden wrote of:

                                           The healers and the brilliant talkers,
                                           The eccentrics and the silent walkers,
                                           The dumpy and the tall.

                                                  A Summer Night, 1938 (Also known as 'Out on the
                                                  lawn I lie in bed'.)

I very much fear I belong to the fourth of these six characters - and, if I'm honest, probably the third too.

So I set off shortly after Chris' departure, visiting the woodland and small meadow between Christchurch Road and the incessantly roaring A45. I saw little. As at Foxhill Farm a couple of days ago hazel catkins were swaying in the light breeze, ready to shed their pollen on to the tiny red female flowers.

Local hazel bushes have declared spring. Near Worcester Way, Daventry.
12 December, 2018
It was a chilly, grey, rather melancholy day and I didn't linger. Fifty minutes later I was back home where I had an interesting find. On the brickwork of our garage was a bug I had never encountered before, but its distinctive appearance made it instantly recognisable.

It was a Western Conifer Seed Bug, Leptoglossus occidentalis, sometimes abbreviated to WCSB. It is a native of the U.S.A. and was accidentally introduced into Europe in 1999. There it spread rapidly and is now being increasingly encountered in Britain, having first been recorded at Weymouth in 2008.

Western Conifer Seed Bug. Trinity Close,  Daventry
12 December, 2018
I placed it on patch of aubretia for a more natural-looking photograph and then brought it into the house for further examination. The white zig-zag markings across its forewings are diagnostic but what makes it a striking insect is its size, for it measures about 20 mm in length. The bugs in the Coreidae Family, to which it belongs, generally are only half that length.

As would be expected, the species feeds on pines but apparently does little damage. It will sometimes enter houses, attracted by light, where it will emit a loud buzzing noise.

Isn't it nice to come home to a surprise!

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