Tuesday 12 July 2011

Wasps, trees and flowers

This weekend we discovered a wasp nest in the wood, built under the oil drum we use for making charcoal:

DSC_8219 wasp nest

DSC_8240 wasp nest

DSC_8244 wasp nest

DSC_8245 wasp nest

I admit I did provoke them slightly to get those pictures, by gently throwing a small stick against the oil drum - but from a good distance, and then using a zoom lens to take the photos! I got some nice ones of wasps in flight:
DSC_8222 wasp nest

DSC_8220 wasp nest

There were plenty of other insects around too, lots of butterflies and I also disturbed a moth, no idea what it is though:

Dragonflies are also in abundance:

Underneath our new firewood shelter are loads of Harvestmen. I'd always assumed these were spiders, but they're not. Apparently they are Arachnids, but their order is Opiliones, and they're more closely related to scorpions than spiders!
DSC_8215 Harvestman spider

I did some bracken removal with a scythe near our camp, and uncovered some fairly healthy oak saplings. I'm wondering about putting a bit of wire mesh round them to protect them from rabbits this winter...

There were also some oaks growing up in one of our fruit tree enclosures - I weeded round them to give them more of a chance, but we'll have to relocate them away from the fruit tree in the winter.

In Grist Wood, which borders ours, we saw some Ash seedlings growing in an area which was coppiced last winter. Lots of them in fact, and I've checked with Roy and he's happy for us to take a few of them to plant in other parts of our wood:

Sweep Wood is growing happily - the following photos are all taken in the area we've coppiced over the past two winters.

The Ash coppice there has really taken off!

And the Alder I pollarded last winter is doing well too:

Here's a mystery one, more like a shrub than a tree at the moment, and with berries on it. Any ideas?

A bit higher off the ground, Honeysuckle is flowering nicely:
DSC_8283 honeysuckle

and lower down we saw some Deadly Nightshade, or Belladonna:
DSC_8277 deadly nightshade

DSC_8281 deadly nightshade

Obviously this is very poisonous, which makes it all the more strange that it is closely related to potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants and chilli peppers!

There's several varieties of thistle present in this area now - this one's new this year:


There's Ragwort there too (not a problem, as there's no horses), and it seems to be popular with insects:
DSC_8263 ragwort

Finally, another new one is Rosebay Willowherb, or Fireweed. This is a common pioneer species, so not surprising to see it growing in a freshly coppiced area:
DSC_8256 willowherb

DSC_8257 willowherb

That's all for now...



ChrisJS said...

Good wasp pictures, you'r a brave man!

Mike Pepler said...

I was very careful! Didn't get stung at all.

Farmer Tom said...

Your Mystery shrub looks like a Cottoneaster to me.