We went to Apedale in the morning, it was quite cool and breezy, and there wasn’t much to see, until later in the walk when things started to warm up a bit.
Danny took a lovely photo of this honeysuckle near the railway line:
There are loads of these yellow flowers around, that could be mistaken for dandelions. They are actually called hairy cat’s ear, or false dandelion.
We also saw lots of these purple flowers which we had previously mistaken for thistles. Of course they are not thistles because they aren’t prickly – it’s actually called knapweed:
We saw lots more examples of oak apples:
As we’ve mentioned before these are caused by the larvae of the parasitic gall wasp. Here’s a CT scan of the wasps developing inside the oak apple.
Mum spotted this lonely sloe berry – the fruit of the blackthorn. We are hoping to find lots more of these later in the years.
This is a European larch – it is the only native deciduous conifer tree in central Europe and was introduced to the British Isles in the 17th century.
There’s also lots of this very pretty yellow flower with spiky green leaves. It’s called lady’s bedstraw (galium verum) – because it was used to stuff mattresses (especially the beds of pregnant women), because its odour (caused by the chemical coumarin) repels fleas. It was also used in cheese-making to coagulate the milk (but this is a lost skill, amazingly), and is used to colour double Gloucester cheese.
Danny took this great photo of the very intertwined trunk of a sycamore tree.
We were able to get a photo of this leaf hopper because it was stuck on a web, otherwise they are really hard to photograph because they are really fast and hop off!
We also spotted a whole clutch of soldier beetles on some (of course) ragwort:
Also hovering round the ragwort was this hoverfly, which we think is a tapered drone fly:
This insect, which has very bright lime green undersides, we think, is a tenthredo mesomela sawfly.
Here’s another pic where you can see its green striped legs:
We photographed a common wasp – buzzing round a thistle – this is another insect that is so hard to photograph because it moves around so much and so quickly!
We spotted another dingy footman:
The final insect for today is this ichneumon wasp. We think this might be a female ichneumon extensorius.
We are not good at identifying or taking photos of birds, but Tom and Sandy spotted a couple of very noisy jays that flew away as we approached.
Finally, the dog report! We only met one dog, but it was a new one to us – a beautiful black and white large Münsterlander, called Loki (after everyone’s favourite Avengers villain).