small tortoiseshell

The Acorn Crop

Sunday 1st October 2000, West Yorkshire
last year's wasp OCTOBER STARTS with sunshine. As we take our toast outside for breakfast a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly flies up the garden and over the house. Setting up a link to this day last year, I'm reminded that we were outside for breakfast then too, but on that occasion we were visited by a wasp.

My decision this summer not to destroy the wasps' nest behind the pond hasn't caused us the slightest inconvenience.

acorns Acorns are more of a hazard than wasps today. As we walk through the wood there's a sharp crack as an acorn plummets from the tree canopy, strikes a piece of timber by the path and bounces back a foot or two into the air. My immediate reaction is to glance up the slope to see who is throwing stones at us. We hear a few more drop before, with some relief, we leave the oaks behind us.

It seems that it's a good year for acorns. They lie scattered along the path, a handful for every square yard.

sycamore leaf By the canal, most of the Sycamore leaves are dotted with black tar spot fungus. A small grey snails sits, coiled into its shell, in the sun on the upper surface of one of the leaves. A similar snail on an adjacent page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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