Monday, May 19, 2014

The scallop shell moth

One of the chrysalises from WBX I have overwintered hatched out today and was readily identifiable as a scallop shell moth (Rheumaptera undulata).


It was found last year as a caterpillar feeding on the sallow in WBX (see photo below).  It hid, or sheltered, under a loose tent most of the time and is distinctive not only from its colour and pattern but from the way in curls round like a question mark.

2013-09-02 12.08.32

Not all that common in Sussex I think, but I’ll have to check.

After identification I let the moth go in the window box.  It flew straight off, unconcerned about its old territory.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Maybe a conifer.


The seedling spotted the other day emerging from Sallow Log looks very much like a conifer.  Interesting that I now have two trees on top of this rather unpromising habitat, the other being the hazel.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Window Box reserve in context

The window box that is the subject of this blog as seen from our sitting room window.  It is towards the top of the pane on the right against the shed wall.  Surprisingly tiny for so much going on.

DSCN3109 WBX in context

Monday, May 12, 2014

More flowers

The white clover does not seem to be doing quite so well and it has left space for a plant of goosegrass (Galium aparine), first recorded in WBX a couple of years ago.

DSCN3140 WBX goosegrass

There was also another herb robert (Geranium robertianum) a white one this time (for the dark pink ‘normal’ variety see 22nd April).  The plants in WBX and about the garden produce either the dark pink flowers, or the white ones: I have never found pale pink intermediates.


While examining the new found hazel, I noticed what I thought was a small brown lacewing (just below the curve on the right and opposite the leaf stalk in the picture below).  On closer inspection it turned out to be the bud scale of something, blown off a tree in the recent strong winds no doubt.


I am still baffled as to how this baby hazel came to occupy its current position on top of the sallow log, but suspect the shoot must have thrust itself right up through the wood and the nut was probably buried under, or very near, the base of the log.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The mysterious plateau

The top of the sallow log, put in place when this window box project was started, is a most unusual habitat.  There is no soil, of course, and the wood seems to decay very slowly, though various insects have bored into it or hatched out of it.


There are a couple of moss species and the black marks are, I think, some kind of fungus.  There are two clumps of rush and, to the right of the farther one, what I have now identified as a hazel seedling (how did it grow there – a hazel nut could hardly be buried in the wood: did it force its way up from near the base of the log?).  There are three more young plants in front of this, one of the weedier willow herbs I think, and a grass in front of the leading rush.  The white thing like a garlic clove is a petal blown from a nearby bird cherry.  Between the two rush clumps there is a strange, snake-like seedling that I cannot identify.  The cotyledons look curiously like bananas.


So, at least eight plants resident on the lost world of the Sallow Plateau.