Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Down by the riverside

Much of the river Deele is edged by tall trees which cast a deep shadow along much of its length. This creates a wonderful microclimate, ideal for a combination of woodland flowers and waterside insects. I like to visit at this time of year because it always serves up something of interest.

The area I visited is ripe with the aroma of Wild Garlic (Ramsons) at this time of year: the bank is covered with its delicate white flowers and strappy green leaves:

Ramsons (Wild Garlic) at the river Deele
The flower-heads emerge wrapped in a thin protective sheath which opens to reveal delicate, star-shaped flowers:

Ramsons flower-head with sheath
And a close-up reveals the delicate - almost translucent - nature of the petals:

Wild Garlic flower-head
Two other woodland flowers are also at their best at the moment:


And Wood Anemone:

Wood Anemone

Having (at last!) got my hands on some spider references, I have been making an effort to fill in some of the gaps in my identifications.

Tetragnatha extensa is usually found near water on low-level vegetation. This one was on Hogweed on the riverbank:

Tetragnatha extensa on Hogweed leaf
Note that its rear right leg is holding the 'tension thread' which allows it to hide, whilst still being able to detect when some insect is struggling in its web. New to my Species List.

Tetragnatha extensa is very closely related to the huge brown spiders that are often found in garages or bathrooms.

Up on the bridge I found Ivy in fruit:

Ivy fruit

And a nice profile shot of the hoverfly Platycheirus albimanus which is everywhere at the moment:

Platycheirus albimanus (female)
I often think that its fascia is very like a human profile.

I'm never quite sure to be dismayed or excited when I see a Pug moth that I don't recognise: I realise that they are very difficult to identify (and that means I'm going to spend quite a while with the books to hand), but there's always the chance I'll find something new. This specimen is the Common Pug, which - strangely - I hadn't seen before:

Common Pug - Eupithecia vulgata vulgata
This moth is normally found from May onwards, so we're still a little early. It feeds on many broad-leaf plants as a larva. New to my Species List.

So that's four new species in a couple of days.


Caroline Gill said...

Really impressed with your extensive species list, Stuart ... and the links through to images.

Toffeeapple said...

I have Wild Garlic in my garden but it isn't in flower just yet.

Stuart said...

@Caroline: the list is now in its 10th year, so it's had time to grow a bit. I try to maintain a link from each species to at least one image. From 2008 onwards, everything has been put into this blog.
@Toffeeapple: do you use the leaves in salads? The flowers can also be added, but they're hot.(maybe that should have been on my food blog!).