|Thorncombe Woods, Dorset. April 13th 2014|
Not autumn - but spring!
We'll come back to the mosses, fungi and lichens another day.
So many Tree Following posts! So many comments! It's good to see the conversations:
trees of the same kind are leafing at different times - sometimes within the same garden - why?
was Venice built on alder?
is ivy inevitably bad for a tree?
are hawthorn leaves and buds really as tasty as bread and butter?
New words - is your tree monoicous or dioicous? (Here's the Wikipedia link.)
April, for many trees, will be a month of particular change. By May - will all the snow have melted? Will blossoms have come and gone? Will southern leaves have fallen? How many bees will we have seen?
The next Tree Following link box will open at 7am (UK) time on 7th May and close 7pm (UK time) on the 14th.
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|New Forest, Hampshire.|
April 17th 2014
Since the last post I've been pottering around Thorncombe Woods in Dorset and The New Forest in Hampshire - enjoying the mosses and lichens and fungi and flowers and insects . . . and (apart from a few familiar flowers) not knowing what any of them are. Some will appear in later posts - whether identified properly or not!
SLOWLY OUT OF THE WOODS AND INTO THE LIGHT
In the meantime, I keep finding myself looking at things other than what I've set out to find.
|Hawthorn Trunk - April 13th 2014|
I was planning to photograph bluebells in their variety - blue, white, pink, 'native' and Spanish - but found myself looking at the bark of a hawthorn tree instead
|Snail on Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum) - April 13th 2014|
which reminded me of the shell of an ordinary snail
|Aprill 11th 2014 - See the pollen sack?|
and while I was looking at snails, a bee came by
I've been trying to understand how a bee puts pollen in its sack - I think it's like this . . . With its front legs it churns pollen into the air so it lands on the hairs of its back. It then licks the feet on its middle legs to make them a bit sticky, picks up the pollen with them and pops it into the sack which is attached to its back leg. Its back leg works as a pollen press, bending to squash the pollen tight so it's delivered back to the hive in the form of compressed pellets.
Bee experts - please mark my homework! Is this a right description?
|April 15th 2014|
(do you see it on the Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber)) . . .
|Holly Blue butterfly (Celastrina argiolus) - April 15th 2014|
and near this other snail there's a Holly Blue butterfly (Celastrina argiolus) on an Alexanders plant
and not far from the butterfly, caterpillars of the Brown Tail Moth (Euproctis chrysorrhoea) recently emerged from their gossamer tent and sitting around on brambles.
Which is where things go wrong. I never delete anything from my camera; ever; in case I delete something I don't want to delete. I'm good at mistakes. But videos take a lot of space, both on the card and on my laptop so . . . having taken several videos of caterpillars going in and out of their nest, and deciding one was so interesting I kept watching it over and over . . . and having decided it was so interesting and so clear and the camera held so steady I couldn't possibly want any of the other tries - I deleted it. I suppose there's virtue in consistency. Hey ho. Never mind.
So here's what remains - a not very interesting video of a caterpillar that doesn't want to leave home pottering around on its nest.
If it's not a bluebell, it might be bark; if it's not bark, it's a snail; if it's not a snail, it's a bee; if it's not a bee, it's a flower; if it's not a flower, it's a butterfly; if it's not a butterfly, it's a moth . . . or a twig . . . or a - there's always something to see!
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Identify Your Bluebells (Natural History Museum - take a look in the sidebar of that page for more bluebell info.
Identify Gastropods (USA) (The ID Tools site may be very useful to readers in the USA - and can be fascinating for those of us who live elsewhere too.)
Brown Tail Moths - This Wikipedia entry is interesting on two scores. (Probably more but there are two which stand out for me.) First - it shows what the moth itself looks like (very pretty) and says to look out for it in July and August. Second - it shows the impact the hairs of the caterpillar have on human skin. Which leads to the question - why did the woman in the picture have caterpillars wandering around on her neck?