Clewers Lane Nature diary


July 2015.

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

Words and pictures by Gordon Larcombe

The warm and mainly dry weather of July has been good for the insect life; however, the ground has been bone dry and the birds have had to work hard in the search for worms and grubs with which to feed their young. Mid-July usually signifies the end of birdsong as the breeding season comes to an end and the adults become preoccupied with feeding mature fledglings from their second or third broods. Not all birdsong has vanished – we have been serenaded in recent early mornings by a Willow Warbler that has chosen a spot in the Bullace trees from where he sings. It is a beautiful song and it differentiates the Willow Warblers from their lookalikes, the Chiffchaffs:


WILLOW WARBLER, CLEWERS LANE

This female blackbird was the proud owner of three large fledglings who pestered her from dawn to dusk. I didn’t see the male bird around so maybe he was no more, anyway all three fledglings made it to independence by the end of the month:


BLACKBIRD AND THREE FLEDGLINGS, CLEWERS LANE

 These two newly-fledged House Sparrows were much less demanding and just watched the world go by in between visits from the adults for feeding:


HOUSE SPARROW FLEDGLINGS, CLEWERS LANE

With the ground so hard and dry, any gardening activity that involves digging is quickly visited by a fearless Robin on the lookout for grubs and earthworms:


‘GARDENING’ ROBIN, CLEWERS LANE

Early in the month I spotted a Ruby Tailed wasp darting along the wall looking for any nests of Masonry bees (into which it lays its eggs). The tiny insect moves so quickly that it is a challenge to get a half-decent snapshot of it:


RUBY TAILED WASP, CLEWERS LANE

The Butterflies have been out in the sunshine and here is a selection:


COMMA, CLEWERS LANE


GATEKEEPER, CLEWERS LANE


SMALL SKIPPER, CLEWERS LANE

Other bugs and beetles are out and about in the warm sunshine. I spotted a Humming Bird Hawk moth feeding on honeysuckle blooms and, in so doing, hovering just like a humming bird. Unfortunately it was too quick for me and it was off before I had a chance to take a snap. However, this splendid Cimbidi sawfly was much more leisurely and therefore appears in this diary:


CIMBIDI SAWFLY, CLEWERS LANE

This Bush Cricket is not yet fully grown, but it still has the extremely long antennae:


SPECKLED BUSH CRICKET, CLEWERS LANE

Robin’s Pin Cushion is now growing on the Dog Roses. It is a gall produced by the grubs of a tiny gall wasp Diplolepis rosae. The eggs are laid in a leaf bud and the gall develops as a chemical reaction. The gall will remain on the plant long after the young wasps have hatched:


ROBIN’S PINCUSHION, CLEWERS LANE

Another interesting plant which is now in flower is Enchanter’s Nightshade. It is not actually a nightshade: it is a member of the willow herb family and has folklore attached to it. The plant is supposed to afford protection from spells cast by elves:


ENCHANTER’S NIGHTSHADE, CLEWERS LANE

Finally, for this month, the Sorrell is in flower. At one time, Sorrell was used to remove ink and iron stains from linen and this ability is due to the presence of Oxalic acid.


SORRELL, CLEWERS LANE

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One Response to Clewers Lane Nature diary

  1. karen anderson says:

    so interesting, thank you

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