Ivy flowers

The park’s ivy flowers between September and November; each plant’s flowering season is quite short but a succession of plants flowers all through the autumn. The flowers are small, green and yellow, and so insignificant-looking that many people don’t realise that that they are flowers at all.

Read on:

October work party

Words and pictures by DKG:

Apologies, for not getting these photos posted earlier. It was not only Ian having a senior moment on Wednesday (Ian forgot the work party; turned up late. Ed.) for some reason my camera was not set up correctly when taking photos that day. I have had to delete several as they were not suitably exposed. There were other errors, even though they seemed ok when I looked at them after shooting. I have managed to improve these to some extent in Photoshop to make a reasonable photos.
Click here to see the results:

Fact of the week

The scientific name for the seven spot ladybird is Coccinella septempunctata; if you had the right wand, a spell like that would put red spots on anything.

Giant swarms of cannibalistic Harlequin ladybirds riddled with an STI are invading British homes: this is a headline in the Mail Online this week. No wonder our relationship with our environment is deteriorating when the country’s most-read news outlet uses such inflammatory language to describe a natural phenomenon. Swarm, cannibalistic, riddled, sexually transmitted infection, invade: could they have squeezed any more knee-jerk melodrama into a single sentence?
Read on:

Jerusalem artichoke

A message from Ian:

May be of interest to you:   Jerusalem Artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus, identified by Lindsay Moore [County Recorder Flora].  Ali and I found it along the stream near the bridge at the bottom of the Blackthorn Tunnel.  I’ve added it to the Census.  Unusual, probably from some bird dropping seed. 

Read on:

An American Visitor

With every new post, we get an immediate and mysterious visitor from the USA. It could be a bot in Silicon Valley, crawling through our site, mining our data for Google’s next attempt at world domination; it could be the NSA checking the FoSCP for terrorist leanings or the US Forest Service looking for eco-tips.

We would like it to be a West Wilts exile, homesick for the Southwick of the 60s, or the grandchild of a Wiltshire girl who left the village after WW2 as a GI bride.

.o.

.o.

We know it is probably our service host checking us out but if it isn’t and you know who our faithful American visitor is, or you are that American visitor, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you; there is a comment box below, a contact form and an email address in the main menu.

us flag

 

Seed dispersal

Seed dispersal is an annual problem for a lot of trees and shrubs.  If seeds just fell down and germinated under the parent tree, they would compete with the parent for nutrition, water and eventually light. Trees need a way to send their seeds away to a new environment where their germination will not pose a threat. Read on:

Pond at sunset by Elena Aschiopoaiei. Thank you, Elena, for such an atmospheric picture.

Pictures, by DKG, of Tuesday’s misty morning. Click any picture to open the gallery.


butterfly spotted wood  Another gallery by DKG:

Crane Flies

There are hundreds of species of crane fly in this country and almost all of them go by the name of daddy long legs. The differences between species can be microscopically small but we think this specimen is either a common European crane fly (Tipula paludosa) or a marsh crane fly, (T. oleracea).

Read on:

One for sorrow, two for joy…

There are several families of magpies in the park. This year’s crop are, as yet, short-tailed, loud- mouthed and clumsy, hanging out in gangs and still learning to fly properly. But, despite their dramatic black and white beauty, their reputation is poor.

Read on:

Acorns

Oak trees produce thousands of acorns every year. Somebody has worked out that an oak tree can produce ten million acorns over its lifetime. In a good year, they carpet the ground under the tree.

Read on:

A letter from a park user

Dear friendsofscp,

I am on your mailing list and during the summer I visit the park with my husband and dog a minimum of 5 days a week. Sometimes every day. Not sure what will happen during the winter as days get shorter and work gets in the way.

Read on:

We are going to have to cancel the Bat and Moth Walk again; sorry.
The weather is deteriorating; the Met Office says that by 7.00pm the wind will be gusting at 40-45mph and heavy rain will be 90% certain by 9.00pm. Let’s stay home in the warm, which is probably what the bats and moths will be doing. Our apologies.

Identifying fungi

This is a picture  of a bracket fungus on an oak tree in the park. The mycelium, which is the main part of the fungus, is growing invisibly inside the tree. This beautiful outgrowth is the fruiting body, part of the fungus’s reproductive system.

Read on:

Criminal damage

The bench by the decorated bridge has been damaged and will probably have to be replaced. One of the supports has been snapped right off. There is no sign of rot in the wood; it must have taken considerable force to achieve. A bench like this one, and its installation, costs £500.

Can you help?

Roe deer

A roe deer doe, early on Sunday morning, photographed by DKG who said:

“A lovely morning in the park this Sunday. A few photos taken of three Roe Deer  spotted near the footpath leading from Studley Green; unable to get closer just in case I spooked them.”

Click here for more pictures:

Don’t forget our ragwort pulling party tomorrow, Sunday 9th. We are meeting in the car park at 10.00am and working until midday. Bring gloves.

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