Tuesday 6 October 2015

Tree Following - September to October 2015

Welcome to my Tree Following post for September and early October.

These tree posts form part of a wider project run by Lucy Corrander from the Loose and Leafy blog. I am based in Suffolk, UK, where I am following an Acer negundo (aka a Box-leaf Maple). I am also continuing to keep an eye on my Silver birch, B. pendula.

You will find the other Tree Follower links on the Loose and Leafy blog ... so do take the chance to have a look!

I predicted last month that there would be more seasonal changes occurring this time around, and this has indeed been the case, but most of the changes have only happened in recent days.

[1] The Silver Birch

There are brown leaves on the ground below my Silver birch, but this is what the tree looked like on 16 September ...

Silver birch

To my surprise this is what the Swedish birch, mere metres away from the Silver birch, looked like on the same date. How strange! 

Swedish birch (B. pendula 'Darlecarlica' )

I have no idea why the two trees should be turning at such different rates. The Swedish birch reminds me of a Klimt painting, though perhaps the shades are more gold than copper.

As you will note from my updated list at the end of this post, there have been few birds to report. The usual suspects, namely the Long-tailed tits, Blue tits, Great tits, Robins, Magpies and Pigeons have been around. I have heard the yaffle of the Woodpecker, but have not seen the bird. I see from last year's October post that we had visits from a Jay and from both the Green and Great spotted woodpeckers. 

We introduced a new fat feeder, impregnated with berries, in the hope that it might attract some different species. It has only proved popular with the regular Blue tits and Long-tailed tits to date.

You can see the Long-tailed tit tucking in from the top ...

... while the Blue tit preferred to perch on the cylinder feeder ...

... and stretch up.

I mentioned toadstools last month, and we have had more of these. I have a hunch that some are growing along the line of the tree roots.

Query: Purple Brittlegill

(Russula atropurpurea)

 I am inexperienced when it comes to identifying fungi: do let me know if you recognise them! 

The last four weeks have been good for spiders. Please look away now (or scroll down a bit) if you do not like these creatures!

The spiders above and below had both been successful in trapping their food. The one below not only has a parcel of prey but also has a fly (possibly three) in the top left corner of the web.

Shades of Frodo and Shelob?

The photo below shows a large web on a sunny morning ... The intricate design is extraordinary. I wonder if two webs are ever the same! There is a fascinating article here about spiders plucking their webs guitar-style!

The bug in the photo below was new to me, and appears to be the Forest Shieldbug (Pentatoma rufipes), an insect associated with habitats of Oak, Elder and fruit trees. I have no idea why it was in the vicinity of the Silver Birch as we do not have the listed trees in our garden. If you click the link, you will need to scroll down just a little.

Pentatoma rufipes, I think

There have been a number of moths and Lacewing on the window most evenings. In terms of flowers, the Dandelions have gone to seed and are looking rather beautiful.

 [1] The Acer negundo 

It would be wrong to say that I was tiring of the Acer negundo last month, but I was beginning to be a bit frustrated and disappointed that there were so few signs of life on or around the tree. 

Patience has paid off, and today there were two Ladybirds and an ant!

Unfortunately this is a Harlequin ladybird. I shall report it to the UK Ladybird Survey. I suspect the brown on the leaves is due to Acer Leaf Scorch

When the Ladybird saw my camera coming, it turned tail, allowing me a different view. 

Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis succinea)

I was delighted to find a native 7-spot Ladybird.

The photo above shows the patterned bark ... and the ant!

* * *

At the start of this post I showed a photo of the Silver birch taken about two weeks ago. This photo was taken today, and you can see that the leaves are beginning to turn yellow.  

The base of the Silver birch is draped in the crimson and amber hues of Russian vine: autumn has arrived!

 * * *


I mentioned last month that I would update my species list of living things found in, on or around my trees ...

(Largely) Silver Birch Sighting Update
The few Acer negundo entries have been marked as such.    

Avian sightings (on, in and around the Silver Birch, seen at any time since I began Lucy's Tree Following project over a year ago) are shown in pink.

I have marked the 'wild things' seen during this last month in yellow.

To date, the only birds seen on the Acer negundo are TFb13 Goldfinch and  TFb19  Chaffinch

  • TFb1   Great Spotted Woodpecker 
  • TFb2   Great tit (several, often on feeder) 
  • TFb3   Long-tailed Tit (large family, including juveniles)
  • TFb4   Blackbird
  • TFb5   Song Thrush   
  • TFb6   Blue tit (several frequently on feeder)
  • TFb7   Robin (frequent appearances)
  • TFb8   Magpie (about three frequently around below the feeder)
  • TFb9   Wood Pigeon (up to ten perching around the feeder area)
  • TFb10 Dunnock (two frequently below feeder)  
  • TFb11 Starling
  • TFb12 Carrion Crow 
  • TFb13 Goldfinch (a small charm)
  • TFb14 Jay
  • TFb15  Green Woodpecker
  • TFb16  Wren 
  • TFb17  Bullfinch (a pair)
  • TFb18  Sparrowhawk
  • TFb19  Mallard
  • TFb20  House Sparrow
  • TFb19  Chaffinch
No new bird species this month.

Mammal sightings include ...

  • TFm1 (?Wood) Mouse
  • TFm2 Bat ... first 2015 garden sighting 7 May 2015 [Apr/May 2015]
  • TFm3 Shrew
  • TFm4 Grey Squirrel
  • TFm5 Stoat
 No new mammals this month.

Insect sightings include ...

  • TFi1 Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly [March 2014]
  • TFi2 Buff-tailed Bumblebee [March 2014] 
  • TFi3 Brimstone Butterfly [April 2014]
  • TFi4 7-spot Ladybird [April 2014] [October 2014] [Apr/May 2015] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Sept/Oct 2015]
  • TFi5 Skipper Butterfly [July 2014]
  • TFi6 Meadow Brown Butterfly [July 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015]
  • TFi7 Large White Butterfly [July 2014]
  • TFi8 14-spot Yellow Ladybirds [July 2014]
  • TFi9 Small White Butterfly [May 2014] [Apr/May 2015] [Sept/Oct 2015 - caterpillars]
  • TFi10 Orange tip Butterfly [May 2014]
  • TFi11 Harlequin ladybird  [May 2014] [October 2014] [Sept/Oct 2015 - on three on Acer negundo!]
  • TFi12 Garden Chafer (Phyllopertha horticola) [June 2014] 
  • TFi13 Ruby-tail Wasp [June 2014] [May/June 2015]
  • TFi14 Blackfly [June 2014
  • TFi15 Marmalade Hoverfly [July 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015]
  • TFi16 Shield bug [July 2014] [Apr/May 2015]
  • TFi17 Migrant Hawker dragonflies [July 2014]
  • TFi18 Unidentified Damselfly [August 2014]
  • TFi19 Comma butterfly [August 2014]
  • TFi20 Red Admiral butterfly [August 2014] [October 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015]
  • TFi21 Peacock butterfly [August 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015]
  • TFi22 Green bottle flies [August 2014] [May/June 2015]
  • TFi23 Ants [August 2014] [Apr/May 2015]  [May/June 2015] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Sept/Oct 2015 Acer negundo]
  • TFi24 Squashbug aka Dock Bug, Coreus marginatus [August 2014]
  • TFi25 Birch Shieldbug (late instar?) [September 2014]
  • TFi26 Lacewing [October 2014] [Sept/Oct 2015]
  • TFi27 Cereal Leaf Beetle [Apr/May 2015]
  • TFi28 Moths [Nov/Dec 2014] [Feb/Mar 2015] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Sept/Oct 2015]
  • TFi29 Rosemary Beetle [Sept/Oct 2015]
  • TFi30 Hawthorn Shieldbug [May/June 2015] 
  • TFi31 Forest Shieldbug (Pentatoma rufipes) [Sept/Oct 2015] 


And finally ...