Tuesday, 26 March 2019

More about our local pocket park

I have neglected Stefen Hill Pocket Park.  It has problems but is less than a quarter of a mile from our house and I frequently visit it but rarely do any recording. I have resolved to try and put matters right this year. We have scant knowledge of what wildlife is present, especially in terms of invertebrates and if I don't do it, I suspect no one will.

Currently a shrubby plum is smothered in white blossom. It is the Cherry Plum, Prunus cerasifera, also known as Myrobalan Plum. It is not a native species but is widely planted and naturalised. Unlike Blackthorn it is thornless. Although today was rather cool it was attracting quite a few insects including bumble bees, honey (hive) bees, greenbottle flies and a hoverfly, Epistrophe eligans.

There is quite a lot of Cherry Plum in the pocket park.
26 March, 2019

The flowers are typical of this section of the Rose family, fundamentally quite simple and allowing easy access for a range of insects unlike, for example, the long tubular flowers of honeysuckle.

The flowers are simple and typical of the Prunus species.
Stefen Hill Pocket Park. 26 March, 2019
The male catkins of sallow, aka Goat Willow were also attracting a range of similar insects because, although it seems likely that wind pollination occurs, there is nectar to attract insects for the same job.

This fly, a species of Eudasyphora, was partaking of the nectar.
Stefen Hill Pocket Park, 26 March, 2019
However, the most eye-catching insect of today's visit was a butterfly, a nice example of a comma, Polygonia c-album, resting on a bramble leaf. Not rare but always pleasing to see.
This Comma butterfly looked newly emerged.
Stefen Hill Pocket Park, 26 March, 2019


Species added to the list today included Calliphora subalpina, Eudasyphora cyanella, Musca autumnalis*, Lophosceles cinereiventris, Geomyza tripunctata and Phaonia tuguriorum - all very common.

*Not confined to autumn despite name.

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