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.

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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?
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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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Wasps

By this end of the summer, the workers in a wasp nest will probably have finished raising and feeding the new queen larvae. The larvae have spun caps over their cells and begun the process of pupation. This indicates a change for the nest.

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Red tailed bumblebee

Twelve year old photographer, Neave Duggan, has sent us pictures taken in the park of a male red tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius) feeding on creeping thistle flowers.

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We apologise for wrongly identifying this little bird. We thought it was a blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) but our expert has identified it as a marsh tit (Poecile palustris). This is the first sighting of a marsh tit in the park: a new name for our species lists.

Read on for more about the marsh tit

Dot Moth

A dot moth (Melanchra persicariae) caterpillar on a spindle tree, seen and photographed by DKG while the FoSCP volunteers cleared the undergrowth around the young trees at the top of Sheep Field. Spindle is not recorded as one of this caterpillar’s food plants, but sallow is, and hazel, nettles, docks and several other species growing in that plantation and its understorey.

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Grey squirrel invaders

The park’s grey squirrels are invasive aliens, brought here during the 19th Century, when the possession of rare and exotic species of plants and animals was the height of fashion. Grey squirrels, native to eastern North America, were first released into the wild in Britain, at Henbury Park, in Cheshire, in 1876.

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Bats and WHSAP

Nine species of bats have been identified in the park, among them members of the UK’s rare, internationally important population of Bechstein’s bats that roost in Green Lane Wood.

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Creeping thistle

Like ragwort, creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense) is classed as an injurious weed by the Weed Act of 1959. Our hedges and edges are full of it: beautiful, pollen-rich, heavily scented flowers, buzzing with invertebrates, followed by seed heads elevated on stems sturdy enough to support seed-eating birds. Gorgeous.

 

Photographs by DKG

Southern hawker

This is the third species of dragonfly that has been photographed in the park and identified this summer: a southern hawker (Aeshna cyanea). The other two are the scarce chaser (Libellula fulva) we reported on 14th June, and a broad-bodied chaser (Libellula depressa) photographed and identified by Ian on 29th June.

Continue reading “Southern hawker”

Drought

 

This is now the longest continuous period of drought since 1976. The park’s paths are dusty, the grass is brown and crunchy underfoot,  some of the trees are shedding leaves in an attempt to stop water-loss and the streams are shrinking.

Continue reading “Drought”

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