A look at the flowers and insects of the Daventry area
Saturday, 13 July 2019
Around the Hornet
Popped over to the local pocket park today, having not been there for 72 hours. It won't do!
The weather was cloudy but warm and pleasant, and there were quite a few insects about. I decided to make my first target the little pool. Would it have dried up again?
On the way I spotted a pale coloured moth on the foliage of a field maple but, although I approach carefully it fluttered deeper into the foliage, clearly camera-shy. It was a Satin Wave, Idaea subsericeata, by no means a rare moth, although it does begin to peter out beyond the Staffordshire-Nottinghamshire area.
Satin Wave on Acer foliage. Stefen Hill Pocket Park, Daventry.
13 July, 2019
Stap me if I didn't see another moth a few moments later! This pale green species was on a beech tree and the chequered edging to the wings identified it as a Common Emerald, Hemithea aestivaria, a species whose caterpillars feed on the leaves of many deciduous trees.
A battered Common Emerald on Field Maple. Stefen Hill Pocket Park.
13 July, 2019
It had clearly led a rough life but, battered or not, it was another addition to the pocket park list.
Arriving at the pond I was rather disappointed that it had dried up again, doubtless with some consequent mortalities. But there were interesting plants in flower including the Common Water Plantain, Alisma plantago-aquatica.
I was pleased to find Common Water Plantain in the dried-up pond.
Stefen Hill Pocket Park, 13 July, 2019
It is a very common aquatic, and seems particularly abundant around the Welsh Marches. Here in Northamptonshire it appears to be thinly spread, but this could be a consequence of inadequate recording.
Also in full flower were specimens of Purple Loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria. This is among Britain's loveliest flowers, and insects were finding it attractive too.
Purple Loosestrife is now flowering profusely. Stefen Hill Pocket Park.
13 July, 2019
The Greeks believed that feeding it to oxen would prevent quarrelsome behaviour - they would 'lose strife'.
A closer look at the Loosestrife flowers.
The genus Lythrum gives its name to the Lythraceae Family and, as I have mentioned before, is unrelated to the Yellow Loosestrife, which is a member of the Primrose Family, Primulaceae.
The pocket park was not done with me yet. I was just about to photograph a figwort when my eye caught something stirring near my feet - a hornet! I stepped back carefully and as I did so I realised that it was something far more interesting. it was a hornet mimic - a moth in fact.
This was a real surprise! Lunar Hornet Moth, here on Common Figwort.
Stefen Hill Pocket Park. 13 July 2019
It was a Lunar Hornet Moth, Sesia bembeciformis, one of the clearwing moths. This cannot be seem from the photograph as the insect's wings were moving so fast but, unlike most moths, the wings were clear, like a wasp or a fly. The grubs live for two years feeding inside willow trunks before emerging and the adults are not commonly seen.
Figwort flowers in Stefen Hill Pocket Park. 13 July, 2019