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Plants Page 4

Image Taken on 24 Apr 2010 at 14:50    Image of day on 30 May 2010

This might be a 'common' bee-fly (one of 12 or 15 species according to which book you look in but neither has any detail) now seen here in Spring for the last 3 years. This year we got the 'Flight Tunnel' out of its winter hibernation early and made this one one of the subjects.

Ref: 20100530_da1_20100424_1450_117+1612_208_ft1 bee-fly in flight and red campion flowers (montage)(r+mb id@768).jpg

Image Taken on 30 Mar 2019 at 11:27    Image of day on 01 May 2019

The arrival of Bee-flies, a 'True fly, not a Bee, signals the new season is well underway. Here is one perched on some dried grass ...

Ref: 20190501_df5_20190330_1127_052 bee-fly perched in desiccated grass(r+mb id@768).jpg

Image Taken on 14 Apr 2018 at 15:32    Image of day on 29 May 2018

We first spotted this Bee-fly flying around the shrubs in a sunny patch. Fortunately it landed on this desiccated Oak leaf, possibly to warm itself in the sun, and we caught this view with the interesting shadows of the wings.

Ref: 20180529_df3_20180414_1532_118 bee-fly perched on dead oak leaf with shadows of wings (crop)(r+mb id@768).jpg

Image Taken on 13 Apr 2021 at 15:57    Image of day on 29 May 2021

For us the real start of the insect season is the first sightings of Bee-flies.

Ref: 20210529_d73_20210413_1557_147+1541_101 bee-fly perched on leaf with in-flight insert (montage)(r+mb id@768).jpg

Image Taken on 03 Apr 2023 at 15:49    Image of day on 19 May 2023

We didn't even know Bee-flies existed until we started seeing them here. This one is resting on one of last years fallen Oak Leaves. The proboscis at the front is clearly visible, and the structure of the wings is best seen in the shadow cast by the left wing.

Ref: 20230519_df3_20230403_1549_145 bee-fly resting on fallen oak leaf (1st of 2013)(r+mb id@768).jpg

Image Taken on 07 Apr 2023 at 10:33    Image of day on 19 May 2023

Bee-flies don't stay around for long, so we tend to photograph them whenever we see one. The water drops on the tips of two grass stems are as yet un-dried dew.

Ref: 20230519_df3_20230407_1033_120 bee-fly resting on ground level leaf with natural water drops on grass tips(r+mb id@768).jpg

Image Taken on 08 Apr 2023 at 12:52    Image of day on 19 May 2023

Finally a Bee-fly on a nettle. Some patches of sheltered nettle just didn't die back in the frosts this year, giving it a head-start this year.

Ref: 20230519_df3_20230408_1252_187 bee-fly resting on nettle leaf(r+mb id@768).jpg

Image of day on 29 Nov 2005

This very exposed beech leaf has its edge thick with frost.

Ref: 20051129_p20_1040443 frosted autumn beech leaf 2005nov20_09-56-32(r+mb id@576).jpg

Image of day on 26 Oct 2005

A beech twig with leaves all the way from green to brown.

Ref: 20051026_p20_1040135 beech leaf sprig in various colours 2005oct10_16-47-18(r+mb id@576).jpg

Image Taken on 13 Oct 2006 at 15:03    Image of day on 26 Oct 2006

A Beech tree we photograph every few days had this one leaf near the top back-lit like a golden coin.

Ref: 20061026_p34_20061013_1503_285 beech n of round autumn leaf detail(r+mb id@576).jpg

Image Taken on 03 Apr 2021 at 17:35    Image of day on 30 Apr 2021

The Weeping silver birch in the back garden is now smothered in Catkins.

Ref: 20210430_d73_20210403_1735_068 birch weeping silver in back garden with catkins (orig & final)(r+mb id@768).jpg

Image Taken on 29 Mar 2019 at 09:09    Image of day on 27 Apr 2019

Down our access track at least 90 year old Black Poplars each year make their Catkins and drop a slippery carpet of them on the concrete below. Seen close-up they are very pretty. The leaves don't emerge for some weeks after the Catkins are finished.

Ref: 20190427_df3_20190329_0909_041 black poplar catkin (about 5cm long) fallen onto concrete track below(r+mb id@768).jpg

Image Taken on 05 Apr 2014 at 10:22    Image of day on 26 May 2014

Black Poplars make & drop Catkins weeks before the trees leaf. Our 24 year old trees (all grown from 'cuttings') have started to make catkins of their own. This one has fallen (or been chewed or pecked off) complete with the sheath. The Red colour is a characteristic of the Black Poplar Catkin.

Ref: 20140526_p10_20140405_1022_763 black poplar catkin (near n end of east path) still in case (crop)(r+mb id@576).jpg

Image Taken on 29 Mar 2011 at 12:59    Image of day on 23 Apr 2011

We have 4 male Black Poplars along our track to the road. There are very few female Black Poplars about because they apparently have a pungent smell in Spring. Thus the species is only propagated by cuttings - we have about 6 20 year only trees including our tallest tree, all from cuttings from a fallen branch long before we knew the significance. The wood is terribly brittle - every year several branches of the old trees will break in the autumn storms.
Anyway, they produce catkins a bit later than willow, but don't leaf for several weeks & you start to wonder if they have all died - each year! The catkins are a beautiful red-pink-orange-yellow mix and look like tiny discarded garlands after a mouse party. Here one found on the ground in pristine condition.

Ref: 20110423_p34_20110329_1259_686 black poplar catkin fallen from tree (crop)(r+mb id@576).jpg

Image Taken on 01 May 2013 at 13:03    Image of day on 10 Jun 2013

2 days later the Black Poplar catkins are hanging more open and the vivid red is fading.

Ref: 20130610_a77_20130501_1303_003 black poplar catkins (crop)(r+mb id@768).jpg

Image Taken on 06 Apr 2012 at 07:28    Image of day on 29 Apr 2012

This is a detail of the lovely catkins that form on Black poplar trees. They fall long before the leaves emerge. Black Poplar are either male or female - ours and possibly all that are left are males - the females are said to smell badly at times of the year and were not planted. We propagated ours by cuttings from fallen branches, although this is a low branch on a tree planted about 1938.

Ref: 20120429_df1_20120406_0728_042 black poplar catkins (crop)(r+mb id@768).jpg

Image Taken on 29 Apr 2013 at 07:09    Image of day on 10 Jun 2013

The Black-Poplar trees (all males nowadays because the flowering females emit an offensive smell & didn't get planted) this year produce a fabulous show of Catkins giving the trees a red haze for a couple of days.

Ref: 20130610_df1_20130429_0709_111 black poplar catkins on several twigs (orig)(r+mb id@576).jpg

Image Taken on 29 Apr 2013 at 07:09    Image of day on 10 Jun 2013

Ref: 20130610_df1_20130429_0709_114 black poplar catkins twig detail (crop)(r+mb id@576).jpg

Image Taken on 08 Apr 2020 at 07:27    Image of day on 20 Apr 2020

Black Poplar trees make these attractive maroon and yellow Catkins weeks before the first leaves appear.

Ref: 20200420_d73_20200408_0727_231 black poplar tree catkins(r+mb id@576).jpg

Image Taken on 29 May 2020 at 15:58    Image of day on 01 Jul 2020

This immaculate female Black-tailed Skimmer Dragonfly spent several minutes fluttering around the 'garden' near the house.

Ref: 20200701_d73_20200529_1558_158 black-tailed skimmer dragonfly female perched on grass stem (crop)(r+mb id@768).jpg




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