Monday, 1 March 2010

Still snowy

With fairly continuous cycles of snow, partial thaw then hard frost, higher areas are treacherous, with a very slippery top surface underfoot:

I did spot a badger trail, however, and took this shot of a footprint:

Very little new-season growth is to be seen, although there's just a hint of swelling on this Willow leaf bud:

So most of the visible wildlife is either perennial or last year's leftovers. This is the liverwort Frullania tamarisci growing on another willow twig:

Leaf-mines are very visible on last year's leaves of Bramble. These are shots of 3 specimens of Stigmella aurella, a micromoth:

Leaf-miners are always worth a look: the plant they live on can be a very strong clue to species, and it's interesting to see the strategies they use to avoid falling out of the leaf. Mines are made by some species of Flies, Sawflies, Micromoths and Weevils, and the shape of the mine can usually tell us to which family a particular mine belongs.


The Weaver of Grass said...

Our snow here in North Yorkshire has almost gone apart from on the tops, where there is still plenty to be seen. In the gardens very little is moving - maybe the odd lenten rose is pushing through and the aconites are well out, as are the snowdrops. Along our lane there is a bit of cow parsley just showing green, but everything seems far behind this year.
That badger's footprint is a superb photograph.
We lost a sheep a few weeks ago and although my husband looked for it he couldn;t find it. Then a few days ago he found it - it had died in the hedge bottom. Something, presumably foxes as we have them round here, had pulled it out and completely eaten it, apart from the head. All that is left is the bony carcase and the wool of course. I was rather pleased because that sheep will have fed young cubs a jolly good meal - better than the usual incineration I think.
Nice to read your blog again. I am giving your blog address to a friend who is really keen on mosses and lichens.

Stuart said...

Very little is on the move here. A few willows have the silver precursors to the catkins, but no frogspawn, daffodils or primroses yet. I think everything is about a month behind last year, but spring's probably just back to where it 'should' be.

Sorry to hear about your sheep. I suspect a few crows and magpies will have had their diet boosted, too.

Badgers are very numerous here: I can usually smell their regular pathways before I see them.

Gill said...

<> Interesting - what is the smell like? I tend to assume an animal-y smell is foxes but perhaps not. I have certainly seen a lot more badger prints here than usual - now I am seing them on mud along tracks I first identified in the snow.

Weaver of Grass - another Yorkshire reader, eh? I'm across the county near Helmsley. Our snow has almost gone now although like you the (Moors) tops are still white.

I agree with Stuart - things are 3-4 weeks behind recent years but I suspect where they "should" be. Things are just starting to move here - hazel and pussy willow showing along with elder buds just bursting. A couple of days' warm sunshine will change things I fancy.

Stuart said...

It's a smell with no direct comparison in my experience. I would liken it to a putrid/rancid/acidic/sweat/ammonia/rot type of smell, not very pleasant.