Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hairy tare goes to seed

The hairy tare (Vicia hirsuta), now sprawling all over the window box, is running out of steam as it seeds ripen.  First the pods turn brown, then black, finally splitting to scatter the seeds all over the place.20080728 Wbx & Woodside map 008

20080728 Wbx & Woodside map 009 

The leaves in the background are one of the sallows that have nearly been overwhelmed by this wiry weed.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sawflies attack sallow

One leaf of one sallow plant has been turned to fretwork by a host of small sawfly larvae.

20080728 Wbx sawfly larvae 001

Although they feed quite openly during the daytime, they are easily overlooked, the bare leaf veins being the most noticeable thing.  Their habit of cocking their tails up in the air when alarmed is characteristic

They are too young to be certain of the species but I suspect it is Croesus septentrionalis.  I will be able to tell when they are larger.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Beetles, flies and rushes

Much action on the Windowbox today.  In the morning three common red soldier beetles (Rhagonycha fulva) were crawling about on the hairy tare, which is now like green wire-netting.

20080718 Wbx & South View 007

Several small flies rested, as they like to do, on the leaves of the largest sallow.  The one below is, I think a lance fly (Diptera: Lonchaeidae)

20080718 Wbx & South View 019

There was also (below) a common flower bug, (Anthocoris nemorum) on a sallow leaf, a plant of which it is particularly fond as an aphid hunting ground (though there do not appear to be any aphids).

20080718 Wbx & South View 013

The soft-rush (Juncus effusus) is flowering now, though this year's stems are very weak and the flowers unusually pale.  For some reason this plant seems to be photographed by others mainly when the it has run to seed.  Maybe actual flowering is very brief.

20080718 Wbx & South View 026

Friday, July 11, 2008

A new hoverfly

A new hoverfly was settled on the sallow leaves on the window box the other day.  It had gone by the time I got the camera, but I re-found it on some nearby hogweed flowers.

20080705 Cheilosia illustrata 003

The larvae of this species live in the hogweed roots and it is generally quite common in the English countryside at this time of year.

The flowers on this particular hogweed plant are pale pink as opposed to the normal white.  This is because the backs of the petals are pink.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

More insects

Many insects rest on leaves in the window box.  Today in addition to the gold-green Chrysotus spp. (Diptera Dolichopodidae) that are around all summer, I found the wing-waving Sepsis fulgens, the lauxaniid fly Minettia longipennis and the neat gold moth, Micropterix aruncella.  There are only six Sussex records for this in the Biodiversity Record Centre's database, six of them from the garden here.  It is a pretty little thing as this picture shows.

I have now recorded over seventy spcies from Wbx.