Thursday, 3 June 2010

Dynamic habitat

Our highest local point was originally deciduous woodland which was felled in the 1950s to make way for a Spruce plantation. The Spruce was clear-felled 5 years ago and replanted with mixed Beech and Larch. One particular spot was excavated for use as a log store for a couple of years and that has now turned into a small pond. So within a very small area we have remnants of the original deciduous woodland, decaying Spruce residue and an evolving pond ecology.

The following shots illustrate the confused (and, I think, transient) ecology.

Spotted Orchids are rather common around this area, but this is the only local spot that has Northern March Orchids - Dactylorhiza purpurella.

These freely hybridise with Common Spotted Orchid and Heath Spotted Orchid, and I'll show both of those hybrids in the next few weeks.

A few water plants have appeared at the pond's edge: This is Water Forgetmenot - Myosotis scorpioides:
And this is Brooklime - Veronica beccabunga (what a wonderful name):

While I was watching some Water Crickets - Velia caprai - skating over the pond's surface, a Dungfly accidentally landed on the water. Within about two seconds, the fly was surrounded by perhaps twenty of the Water Crickets that skated up to two metres to get to the surprise meal:

I suppose they must use water vibration to detect the prey.

One species that remains from the deciduous days is Wood Horsetail - Equisetum sylvaticum:

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