Clewers Lane Nature diary


June 2015.

A natural history of the Hedgerows and Gardens in Clewers Lane, Waltham Chase.

Words and pictures by  Gordon Larcombe

The weather in June has been dry with a mixture of  warm, sunny days and dull, cloudy days. Good weather for young birds to fledge and I am pleased to report that the local blue tits all successfully fledged in early June; this picture shows the final fledgling surveying the world for from its nestbox, just before leaving it for good:

BlueTitFledge

BLUE TIT FLEDGLING READY TO TAKE THE PLUNGE, CLEWERS LANE

 

Early one morning, a passing Songthrush stopped for a short while to go through its repertoire. It was pleasing to the ear and pleasing to the eye when viewed from below against the clear blue morning sky:

SongThrushSONGTHRUSH, CLEWERS LANE

 

Later in the day, a lone Goldfinch turned up and began to sing. Its song is very much weaker than that of the Song thrush but, very easy on the ear, nonetheless:

GoldFinchGOLDFINCH, CLEWERS LANE

Not everything in the natural world is as beautiful as these feathered friends. Some are frightful by design in order to deter predators, as the next two examples show:

CommaCaterCOMMA CATHERPILLAR, CLEWERS LANE

MulleinCater

MULLEIN MOTH CATERPILLAR, CLEWERS LANE

 

In addition to a scary appearance, some caterpillars such as those of the Comma, Red Admiral and Peacock butterflies feed on Stinging Nettles and absorb the plant’s toxins so that they too are toxic to predators. Mullein Moth caterpillars gorge on Buddleia, which is not poisonous and so they try to fool predators by displaying the Black and Yellow colour code which signifies ‘I am not nice to eat!’

 

This butterfly is the Meadow Brown, one of the most common butterflies of grassland and roadside verges. It emerges in June to feed on nectar, as this one is doing:

MeadowBrownMEADOW BROWN, CLEWERS LANE

 

Some moths also fly during the day and this particular one flies both by night and by day. It is the Silver Y moth, so called because it has small, silver ‘Y’ character on its upper wings. Part of it is just visible in this picture:

SilveryMothSILVERY MOTH, CLEWERS LANE

 

This bright yellow bug is another Sawfly which has no common name but goes by the scientific name of Hymenoptera Symphta – which could be a useful word for Scrabble fans:

SymphtaHYMENOPTERA SYMPHTA, CLEWERS LANE

 

There are many varieties of bees in Britain. Some are quite small and un-beelike (if that is a word). Masonry bees are amongst the smallest bees and you may have noticed their presence from their nests, which consist of small holes in brickwork that have been plugged with earth. Other masonry bees tunnel under garden stones in order to create a nest and this is an example of one such tiny masonry bee, which is of a metallic colouring and less than one cm in length:

MasonryBeeTUNNELLING MASONRY BEE, CLEWERS LANE

 

Shield Bugs are active when the sun shines. The first picture is of a Gorse Bug and the second shows a pair of Green Shield bugs having fun in the sun.  The bugs are similar but there are subtle differences, such as the more slender shoulders of the Gorse Bug:

GorseBugGORSE BUG, CLEWERS LANE

 

GreenShieldBugGREEN SHIELD BUGS, CLEWERS LANE

 

Finally for this month, the Dog Roses are in flower along the lane. Always a welcome sight:

DogRoses

DOG ROSES, CLEWERS LANE

 

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