Nettle bed safari

If you look closely enough, you can see that the nettles are beginning to flower. If you look even closer you will find a whole miniature ecosystem living in the nettle bed: sap suckers, nectar feeders, predators and terrifying creatures that hunt the predators.

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Froghoppers

Red-and-black froghopper

This is a red-and-black froghopper (Cercopis vulnerata) photographed by DKG on Sunday morning in Village Green. There are ten different species of froghopper in the UK and while the red-and-black froghopper is not the most common, it is widespread.

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holly blue, large white and orange tip

Butterfly count

Ian Bushell walking round the park with our Countryside Officer, Ali Rasey, spotted a large white, a male brimstone, two male orange tips, a speckled wood, a small tortoiseshell and a holly blue. That is four more species for our spotter’s list

small tortoiseshell. speckled wood, brimstone

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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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. 

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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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Weeds

The Weed Act of 1959 requires landowners and occupiers to control the spread of five species of injurious weeds: ragwort, creeping thistle, spear thistle, common dock and curled dock. The Weed Act’s purpose was to increase the productivity of arable land and to protect livestock at a time, post WWII, when self sufficiency seemed at lot more important than ecology.

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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

A closer look at insects

On Wednesday, DKG and his macro lens took a close look at some of the park’s invertebrate inhabitants.

Click on any picture to enlarge it.

 

click here for more insects

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