Tuesday 5 January 2016

Beech Branch Mystery at NT Ickworth

Pheasant at NT Ickworth, Suffolk, 4 January 2016

Happy New Year! 

We were wandering through the delightful grounds at NT Ickworth, looking for early signs of spring, when our eyes alighted on this strange object on a beech twig. You can see the beech buds at the end of the branches, but what is the strange white bundle?

While I am intrigued by a mystery, I am also curious enough to enjoy the satisfaction of finding the answer, often with a little help from my friends! So please drop a line in the comments or on my @coastcard twitter account if you can help.

It may be just a decaying leaf, but we suspect it may be an overwintering pupa or cocoon of some sort.

I note incidentally that there are lepidoptera like the barred Hook-tip moth (Watsonalla contraria) which sandwich their pupa between two beech leaves.  

NT Ickworth
I am reminded that the term marcescence refers to leaves (like many beech leaves) that dry up but do not fall off in the autumn. 

May 2016 bring many more wildlife mysteries and wonders to our attention!


Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Great shot of Mr Pheasant, wonderful plumage detail

Amanda Peters said...

Happy new year to you Caroline, hope some one can answer your question, and we'll done for spotting it.
Please let us know if you find out.
Amanda xx.

Ragged Robin said...

Happy New Year to you too. I hope someone can answer the question and would love to know too what the mystery object is.

Angie said...

Very observant - personally I'm sure I'd have missed it Caroline. I have no idea as to what it is but tend to think along the lines of a cocoon of some sort. If it is you justimagine the transformation that is going on in there!