A Variety of This and That

Monday, April 2nd 2018

The Little Grebe was fishing and then taking vegetation to his mate, although I do not think she was over impressed with his enthusiasm to start nesting just yet!  The fish was identified as a Rudd.  John was able to catch this great photograph.

Little Grebe with Rudd

Back in the warmth of the Activity Room more excitement as we found eggs from our Mud Snails.  We await their hatching.

Mud Snail eggs

Some of our Holly leaves have brown marks on them.  Upon investigation Christine identified them as Holly Leaf Miners.  The tiny fly Phytomyza ilicis, lays her eggs in the young, newly grown soft leaves.  The larva hatches and begins to mine between the layers of the leaf.  It pupates and hatches out leaving a tiny hole.  However the story has a twist or two.  A parasitic wasp is able to lay her eggs in the larva - yes the wasp larva eats the fly larva - delightful!  Continuing, birds like the Blue Tit, then eat the wasp larva.  Looking at information on web sites we need to take a closer look at these marks, as depending upon the mark left on the leaf, we should be able to tell if the larva of the fly or wasp has hatched or if the larva has been eaten.  And not forgetting this is a new species!

Holly Leaf Miner

Foxglove is often two weeks behind the surrounding area when it comes to flowering times.  The weather has been so cold, spring is very late.  Or are we just used to earlier springs?  Checking the April blog of 2017, there is a photo of a Marsh Marigold in flower, but the best I can do this April are some leaves.

Marsh Marigold leaves

In some of the hedgerows surrounding Foxglove Blackthorn is beginning to flower.  In Foxglove it is still tight in bud.

Blackthorn flower buds

And finally a Redpoll has been caught that is six years old.  These birds only weigh between 9 and 12 grams.  Yet another amazing fact from the bird ringing that takes place at Foxglove. 

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