Tuesday, 26 June 2007
This hoverfly appears to be very common. I was looking at a Hoverfly book on Ebay today and I think I saw this one on the example page. Will go and have another look. Update: from looking on Google for hoverfly pics I think this is Eristalis lineata. Seems clear that it is named after the series of lines accross the abdomen. The eyes should be 'without a conspicuous pattern of dark spots'. I will look for things on Google and then try to confirm from other sources.
Will look this one up as well in the fulness of time. Update: It now seems this updating might become a continuous process. In my innocence I thought a clear picture of the backmarkings would be enough...oh dear, oh dear... in my copy of Hoverflies, Gilbert & Falk, Cambridge University Press, 1986, this looks to be Helophilus pendulus. However, other members of the species Helophilus lack the black facial stripe and are yellow on only the basal third of the hind tibiea rather than two thirds as in pendulus. So it looks like I need to get a mug shot as well!
I like to keep an eye open for regional and archaic bird names. There is a wonderful book called British Nesting Birds by W. Percival Westall, Dent & Sons, 1922 which gives a variety of 'local names' for each bird. Some names commonly in use then are now archaic themselves. Robin, for instance, is listed as a 'local name' for Redbreast.
Anyway my point is that in our household the favourite name for the Blue Tit is 'Billy Biter'.
Sunday, 24 June 2007
The leaves were triangular to lanceolate with two basal lobes pointing downward (The Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe: Fitter, Fitter & Blamey, Collins 1974).
This Burdock was growing near the footbridge by no 25. I think it is probably 'Greater' as the flowers seem globular not ovate as in the 'Lesser' variety. I will have to break a leaf off to see if it has a solid basal stalk. Those of the Lesser Burdock are hollow. Update: Having snapped off a basal leaf I am reasonably confident it could be described as hollow and therefore this is Lesser Burdock.
From what I remember these two pictures were of the same plant. A really beautiful flower both fresh and dried, which is mainly why it is here. Sue has found it in the book!!! It's Goat's Beard, (Tragopogon pratensis) with a folk name of 'Jack-go-to-bed-at -noon' at it closes when the sun goes in. Sue is delighted it is next to Salsify in the book as she suggested it while we were out and I informed her that Salsify has purple flowers.
This is some sort of Dock braving the sea wall habitat. Will get back to you if there is any more info. Update - could be Common Sorrel.
Sue informs me that this is Lady's Bedstraw. It cut a colourful swathe through this area of scrubby dune. It was (says Mabey) used in mattresses especially for women before labour, its honey scent drying to that of new-mown hay. Sometimes used in cheesemaking as a substitute for rennet as it is a coagulant.
This is Yarrow ( Achillea millefolium). Mabey: '..believed to cause nosebleeds or at least sneezing if a leaf was put up the nose.' Well quite. How best to avoid that I wonder....
Saturday, 23 June 2007
It seemed to be doing something with its rear end. I wondered if it was ovipositing or something. This hunched position was characteristic, in contrast to its generally slender form.
Various bees were very very busy on the catmint and lavenders, but we didn't see a single butterfly in the garden all afternoon.