This is a good time of year to find mines of Ectoedemia sp. micromoths in 'green islands' in fallen Oak leaves: the leaves you want are quite easy to identify due to the green part contrasting with the brown of the fallen leaves. These micromoth larvae extend their feeding season by blocking off the chlorophyll return valves in the leaf. This ensures that a supply of food continues to be available even after the leaves have fallen from the tree. The specimen shown below had a bit of bad luck, however:
|Ectoedemia micromoth mine in 'green island' in Oak leaf|
- they don't fall out of the leaf
- they end up at a part of the leaf that contains enough food for their growth and development
- the mines don't cross themselves, which would force them to encounter (and eat) their own dung
Some of the rules involve following veins, others force a change of direction after a certain amount of time; other decisions are made by the female when she lays the egg. The rules don't always work, but I find that the vast majority of mines are successfully completed. I'm guessing that in this case the rule to turn away from the sub-vein is timed and the location was just plain unlucky.
You can see a normal mine here: http://donegal-wildlife.blogspot.com/2009/10/smart-miners.html
I found a few fungi including this Clitocybe vibecena:
|Scleroderma citrinum earthball|
Even dead and now-useless parts of plants can have innate beauty: this empty seedhead of Hogweed was worth photographing:
Sycamore leaves are covered in their tar-spot fungus Rhytisma acerinum:
|Sycamore tar-spot fungus, Rhytisma acerinum|
We have had solid rain for the last two weeks and I haven't seen a single moth in that time. The last night, in pouring rain, a single specimen of Red Sword-grass came to light. The Red Sword-grass hibernates as an adult, so something must have stirred this one from its hiding place.
Red Sword-grass has a mostly western and northern distribution and is found mostly near bogs or heaths.