BINGHAM LINEAR PARK + DCW
David Bellamy opened this country park, a length of disused railway south of Bingham and notable for its flora, Grizzled Skippers and Marbled Whites. Formerly it was highly notable for the Four-spotted moth but alas, it hasn’t been seen here for years. It would also be notable if Dark Bush-cricket could be found again, as it was reported from here in 2003 by a reliable observer and unlike the Four-spotted (which is what attracted Paul Waring to the site) the bush-cricket could be overlooked.
The notable flora includes quite a few introductions (like the Marbled White?) as we shall see.
The first thing to catch my eye was neither insect nor plant but these:
They were rather too big to bring home so I relied on a photo being adequate for an identification, though I struggled despite the black-based stipe, which I expected would be a help. In the end I decided it is a polypore and although there is one called the Blackfoot Polypore, these were bigger than the 2-7cm cap dimension given by Buczacki so I’m erring to Polyporus durus – the Bay Polypore. But don’t hold me to it. Most of the photos on the web look nothing like this but I did find one or two with a strong resemblance.
This seems not to be a fungus…
…but rather the fluff secreted by Woolly Aphids.
Yellow-juiced Poppy was first found here some years ago and it seemed an unlikely identification but it is now becoming apparent that Papaver lecoqii is quite frequent hereabouts and in arable fields as well as the linear park. It appears identical to Long-headed Poppy until a flowering stem is beheaded and the yellow juice becomes evident though with a lot of looking, a certain jizz is said to be discernible.
Yellow Oat-grass is quite frequent as is Upright Brome (Bromopsis erecta) though the latter is less photogenic.
Here’s one of the introductions – Geranium x magnificum. There are many of these and also an attractive mullein, Verbascum nigrum (Dark Mullein) as well as various mints and other herbs, one of which looks like Rosemary but turned out to be Winter Savory (Satureja montanum) and this aromatic shrub which proved to be Sage (Salvia officinalis).
This Mullein moth larva was on Great Mullein Verbascum thapsus. It apparently devours the introduced mulleins as well as well as figworts and buddlejas.
This Lesser Marsh Grasshopper is fully developed and it is still only June.
Dave is 5′-9″, so we estimate these Great Lettuce were over 7 feet tall.
It was a good day for butterflies with 11 species including Marbled White and a rather common moth the Nettle-tap which is small and easily overlooked so I don’t see it much.
Birds included a few Buzzards, a Hobby, a calling Yellow Wagtail and a Little Egret that flew in to the River Smite for a spot of fishing. A rather random selection of plants not mentioned already are Smith’s Pepperwort (Lepidium heterophyllum), Fairy Flax (Linum catharticum), Burnet Saxifrage (Pimpinella saxifraga), Rye Brome (Bromus secalinus) and Meadow Brome (B. commutatus). My mentor suggested I took a sample of the latter two (which were in nearby fields rather than the nature reserve) for a spot of homework.
There are 11 species of Sphaerophoria and ‘definite identification is only possible in males based on genital characteristics’ although, given the distribution and habitats of the others, I think it is a fair bet that this is the common, widespread one.