Ring barking

Ring barking or girdling can kill a tree. It happens when the tree's bark is removed right the way round its trunk. Accidental girdling may be the result of a carelessly used strimmer, or over-tight wires and ties; it might be mammals gnawing on the bark or, in the case of deer, rubbing their antlers... Continue Reading →

Stinking Willie and Marefart

Ragwort has many common names; in fact some, like stinking willie and marefart, are downright vulgar. Both refer to the plant's unpleasant smell. Another set of names, staggerwort, stammerwort and sleepy-dose, are about to its toxicity.  Then there is felon weed, swine grass and our personal favourites: scrog and weeby. To go with its unsavoury nicknames, Ragwort... Continue Reading →

Bloody nosed beetle

I found a bloody nosed beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa) in the short grass where the rabbits graze at the end of Sleepers Field. The line running down the middle of his back gives the impression of separate wing cases but, in fact, the wing  cases are fused together and he is flightless. He is a slow... Continue Reading →


Sunday morning, in the sunshine, Ian found and photographed this beautiful, newly emerged comma butterfly on Village Green. Commas hibernate in bark crevices and the hollows of trees, where they are perfectly camouflaged by the pattern on their underwings. They emerge in the spring to feed on early nectar sources: blackthorn and willow catkins. The... Continue Reading →

Harlequin Ladybirds

Harlequin ladybirds are hibernating in substantial numbers inside the notice board at the park's main entrance. They are called Harlequins because they come in such a variety of colours and patterns.  An invasive species, they are believed to be rapidly out-competing our forty seven native species. They are Asian in origin, introduced into Europe as... Continue Reading →

European Hornets

There were European Hornets  (Vespa crabro) hunting in the Lone Oak in October. They are still quite rare in this country, but changing temperatures have extended their range as far north as Nottingham. They are carnivores and prey upon other flying insects; some species of midge hatch in late autumn in oak trees and perhaps... Continue Reading →

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