Lovely?

Sunday, August 21st 2016

Without any shadow of a doubt, if the trees at Foxglove were not pollarded, coppiced or some cut down then in a very short time it would turn into an impenetrable forest!  Sometimes it just seems that we can't win.  Walking up the quad bike track looking at the dead hedge, with many plants growing around and through it, making it an ideal habitat for many animals, part of the 'dead' bit was growing!

'Dead' hedge growing

On closer inspection more shoots were were seen.  The horizontal trunk they are growing from is a fallen tree that was included in the dead hedge and it looks like it was totally rotten at the base.  Obviously there is enough sap flowing through the tree to encourage growth.

Hawthorn shoot

Alder is coppiced and this encourages the tree to grow new shoots.  It also helps to keep the tree healthy.  Many insects frequent the leaves, leaving them with a variety of holes.  Believe it or not this tiny creature is an insect and has been found on Alder leaves when the children have been shaking a tree at the Outdoor Classroom.  Initially we thought it was a greenfly trying to protect itself but it is much 'nicer' than that.  It appears to be a lacewing larva that once having eaten its prey it adds the remains to its back as camouflage!  Another will have to be found to look for the jaws!

Lacewing larva?

A totally as yet unidentified creature is this wierd looking 'caterpillary thing'.  It appears to have hairs along each side of its body.

Insect larva?

Moving on to some much prettier organisms.  Rosebay Willow Herb shows its pink spikes through the vegetation.  Its other name, Fireweed, refers to that fact that it often grows on fire sites.

Rosebay Willow Herb

Many summer flowers have set seed and insects now rely on those just coming into flower.  Hemp Agrimony can be seen in pink swathes through the Scrapes. In close up it does not look very attractive but it is to insects.

Hemp Agrimony

Devil's Bit Scabious is nodding its purple heads through the meadows and in the Scrapes.  Another flower loved by insects.

Devil's Bit Scabious


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