1 August 2017

Loosestrife and bullrushes
Purple loosestrife in the nature pond at Apedale

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:

honeysuckle

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.

Hairy cats ear 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:

knapweed with photo bombing fly
A fly photobombed our arty shot.

We saw lots more examples of oak apples:

Oak galls

Oak galls close

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.

Sloe berry

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.

larch

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.

Lady's bedstraw

Danny took this great photo of the very intertwined trunk of a sycamore tree.

Intertwined trunk of sycamore

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!

Green Leaf-hopper poss
Green leaf-hopper 

We also spotted a whole clutch of soldier beetles on some (of course) ragwort:

common red soldier beetle

Also hovering round the ragwort was this hoverfly, which we think is a tapered drone fly:

Tapered Drone Fly poss.

This insect, which has very bright lime green undersides, we think, is a tenthredo mesomela sawfly.

Sawfly - Tenthredo mesomela 1

Here’s another pic where you can see its green striped legs:

Sawfly Tenthredo mesomela 2

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!

common wasp

We spotted another dingy footman:

dingy footman

The final insect for today is this ichneumon wasp. We think this might be a female ichneumon extensorius.

Ichneumon extensorius female

Ichneumon extensorius female 2

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).

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