Sunday, 8 September 2019

Tired at the end of summer

No. no, not I. Earlier today I visited Kentle Wood and couldn't help but notice how, after the end of a hot, dry summer, things were looking a bit weary.

To begin at the beginning, the entrance to the wood is now controlled by a new gate. Installed at great expense, a gap has cunningly been left to allow motor bikes to sneak though, allowing them to churn up the tracks into a sea of mud. I am being facetious; I'm sure  (hope) the gap will be closed shortly.

The new gate to Kentle Wood surely requires completion.
8 September, 2019
The foliage of the trees is looking decidedly weary. Cherry and ash were the most bedraggled but oak seemed to be faring better.

Cherry trees were wilting, their roots in parched soil. Kentle Wood,
Daventry. 8 September, 2019
The red berries on the rowan were wrinkled, suggesting that either the local birds prefer other pabulums or, perhaps more likely, there aren't enough birds around to take advantage of this resource.

Rowan berries hang wrinkled and uneaten. Kentle Wood, Daventry.
8 September, 2019
The berries on the buckthorn, Rhamnus cathartica, were similarly untouched but may need a little while to fully ripen. Humans are best avoiding them for they act as a violent purgative. This is a shrub which refers limy soils but seems happy on the neutral clay of Kentle Wood.

Berries of Rhamnus cathartica, the Purging Buckthorn.
Kentle Wood, 8 September, 2019
By the late summer insects have had ample time to nibble foliage, create leaf mines or form galls, so there is much of interest - for some.

Here and there the buds of ash had been transformed into brown, cauliflower-like growths. The culprit is a mite, Aceria fraxinovora. Readers will be amazed to know that it is called the Cauliflower Gall Mite. Maps show that it has a restricted and patchy distribution in the U.K. but it is probably the recorders who are restricted and patchy.

No thanks, not even with a cheese sauce. Cauliflower gall on ash.
Kentle Wood, 8 September, 2019

Stigmella floslactella was found mining hazel leaves. It is one of those micro-moths which has been given an English name - the Coarse Hazel Pigmy - but is invariably referred only by its Latin name.
The meandering mine of Stigmella floslactella. This was on a hazel leaf.
Kentle Wood, 8 September, 2019

It was a new record for Kentle Wood, bringing the site total to 537 species. I have a number of mines to yet identify and any interest in this blog will rapidly wane if I go on about them.

Right. To the microscope!

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