Friday, 27 July 2012

Trip report Friday, 13th July: Batheaston Riverside Walk

Friday, 13th July: Batheaston Riverside Walk
(Leader: Dianne Nelson)

Friday 13th was lucky for the 8 Bath Nats members who turned out on a grey day, because for once it wasn’t raining and there was even a hint of sunshine at one point – a miracle in one of the wettest summers ever. We met at the Batheaston free car park from where a path runs along the river to the toll bridge. This path has been impassable for some time where it had crumbled into the river, but last year it was repaired and now makes a delightful riverbank walk. However, two weeks before, I’d heard that part of the path had slipped back into the river, so it was a relief to find that the council had been along and repaired it again. While waiting for people to arrive I watched around 40 Canada Geese on the opposite bank launch themselves one by one into the river and glide majestically off upstream while swallows wheeled and swooped overhead. The river was running high and fast and the flash of a kingfisher skimming over its turbulent brown water reminded us of the problems these birds are having trying to catch fish in such conditions. The walk was mainly one that exercised our botanical skills as we identified species such as Figwort, Nipplewort, Hedge Woundwort, and St. John ’s Wort, among many others and Steve demonstrated the difference between a Prickly Sow Thistle and a Smooth Sow Thistle. From the toll bridge we followed the road up to the George at Bathampton, then left along the lane that leads to a level crossing, across a field to Bathford and back to Batheaston. Along the lane we were treated to a rich assortment of hedgerow species, such as Cinquefoil, Mallow, Hemp Agrimony, Yarrow, Toadflax, Hoary Willowherb, Broadleaved Willowherb etc., and in better weather conditions we would have expected to see plenty of butterflies. As it was we just saw 5 Ringlets. Back at the car park we took our picnics into the lovely ‘secret garden’ for a sociable lunch, then headed home before the rain came down again. [DN]

Thank you to:  Di Nelson for a very enjoyable
 Batheaston Riverside Walk.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Chalkhill blues

Hazlebury Common 25 July

Probably old news but Chalkhill blues are on the wing (or at least two of them are!)

Certainly not old news for me Gordon thank you.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Bannerdown - 22 July 2012

2 Silver-washed Fritillaries, Brimstone, Large Whites, Gatekeepers and the usual summer collection. No sign of Hairstreaks but probably wrong time to look.

Thank you Gordon

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Hazlebury Common in the sunshine - 19 July

Still tons of Marbled Whites, Dark Green Fritillaries very approachable, Large and Small Skippers, Ringlets and Meadow Browns. Also, my first Gatekeepers of the Summer but no sign of the Chalkhill Blues.

Thanks Gordon

Monday, 16 July 2012

Hazelbury Common 15-7-2012

Geoff HiscocksMonday, July 16, 2012
Great morning yesterday (Sunday 15th July ) at Hazelbury Common 

Click here for Photos

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Fridays Riverside Walk.

Thank you to:  Di Nelson for a very enjoyable
 Batheaston Riverside Walk.

Trip report to follow

All the best Steve

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Plant Gall

Ever wonderd what causes the Galls on Creeping Thistle?

Urophora cardui (Fly) Family Tephritidae.

All the best Steve

Click here to enlarge

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Bathwick moths

Overnight 10 July 2012 Actinic 15W trap
On 2nd floor balcony overlooking Sydney Gardens/A36 Beckford Road

Click here for Photos

Scalloped Oak
Dark Arches
Mottled Rustic
Uncertain x 4
Heart and Dart x 3
Heart and Club x 2
Common White Wave
Riband Wave
Marbled Green
Swallow-tailed Moth

No. 0642 Batia unitella
No 0647 Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella
No. 1293 Garden Grass Veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella x 2
No. 1294 Cranbus Pascuella x 4

Thank you Phillip

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

White-flowered Ivy-leafed Toadflax


Out of area I know but on hols in West Wales last week came across White-flowered Ivy-leafed Toadflax. Not described in my ref book. Is this unusual?
Hi Gordon this is from a freind from the internet
"Ivy-leaved Toadflax - Cymbalaria muralis (syn. Linaria cymbalaria), Scrophulariaceae, is one of our most long established aliens, first recorded here in 1617. It is most commonly found on walls, less often in rocky-places. It is well distributed over all of England and Wales and much of Scotland. It originates from Mediterranean Europe and is widely naturalised elsewhere.
The flowers are typicaly Toadflax in shape, pale to deep lilac in colour with two small yellow bulges, (honey-guides), on the lower lip. It is a long-trailing plant which in mild winters can flower throughout. Pale, to very pale lilac-flowered plants are not too uncommon and are the most likely varieties to be found.
True albino plants, Cymbalaria muralis var albiflora are less common and a close inspection of a flower is often needed to determine whether such is a pure white plant or not, though even white flowers may still show some yellow. 
The leaves of var. albiflora tend to be a more yellowy-green than normal leaves, due to the lack of anthocyanin, the lilac pigment in normal plants. Such albino plants appear to be fairly widespread and well distributed around Britain though are never common. 
There is another white-flowered variety that should not be confused with the true C. muralis var. albiflora. That is the garden var.C. muralis 'Nana Alba'.
This is a non-trailing, clump-forming plant with pure white flowers and is occasionally found as a 'garden-throw-out'.
The true var. albiflora will be identical in all respects to the wild plants except for the white flowers." 

S. M. Povey. July 2012.
Thank you 

All the best Steve

Trip report Rudloe to Collett's Bottom, 30th June 2012

A party of nine explored walls, hedgerows, woods and fields on a blustery but mainly dry day. Rob Randall demonstrated the difficulty of identifying wild roses due to the presence of numerous hybrids. The Common Dog Rose (Rosa canina), the glaucous-leaved dog rose (R. x dumalis) were identified, as well as the unmistakable Field Rose (R.arvensis), with its stigmas extended on a long pin-like style. The pink hybrid of the Red and White Campion was seen growing near both parents: some were infected by the anther smut (Ustilago violacea). Alan Rayner explained that the fungus attacks female flowers and makes them change sex. The resulting anthers are filled with fungal spores instead of pollen. Rob pointed out several plant-galls caused by mites. Chemicals, introduced as the mites suck the plant's sap, cause the plant cells to form unnatural growths that have a typical form for each mite-plant combination, often a small pimple or nail-like growth from the top surface of the leaf. Underneath is a cavity in which the mite lives and feeds. The subtle differences between the different Umbellifers, and between Black Medick and Hop Trefoil were examined as each species was encountered. On the edge of Collett's Bottom Wood, Spiked Star-of-Bethlehem (or 'Bath Asparagus') was in flower. Alan pointed out the mosses Homalothecium sericeum and Anomodon viticulosus growing on dry-stone walls, and Thamnobryum alopecurum and Fissidens taxifolius, typical of our woods. In the wood were fine specimens of Hard Shield Fern and other ferns. A short detour to an adjacent pasture produced a fine Bee Orchid in full flower, growing in a species-rich sward. Pastures like these used to be a common site around Bath, but over the last 30 years many have been abandoned, improved, or planted with trees. On the track towards Slaughterford, Alan spotted an ancient Wayfaring Tree covered in cankers and in lichens tolerant of nitrates, such as Xanthoria parietina and Physcia adscendens.

Thank you Rob

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Bradford Leigh yesterday

A small selection of Insects from Bradford Leigh yesterday.Click here for photos

All the best Steve

Dance fly (Empis livida)2

Common Tern at Bradford Leigh

Yesterday there were two Common Terns visiting a lake at Bradford Leigh taking small carp flying off with them for varying amounts of time and retuning to do the same, Mike the lake owner informed me they have been using the lake for several days, I don’t understand this behaviour, why fly away with the fish? Surely no nest site in this area, or is this normal behaviour to leave the lake with their prey? I am interested to know views of others.

click to enlarge

All the best Steve