Wild West Yorkshire nature diary
small hoverflyprivet blossom

Rowan Berries

Monday 31st July 2000
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rowan berriesjuvenile blackbird
A FEMALE BLACKBIRD (or perhaps a juvenile) feeds on the Rowan berries in the front garden. We've got limited space at the front so we decided this would be a good choice of wildlife tree that will give some height, without dominating the garden. It gives blossom in the spring, followed by berries and autumn colour. The feathery foliage doesn't shade out everything beneath.

We've planted it so that, seen from the house, it masks the lamp post.

My sketch, from the 8th of August last year, shows a young blackbird that was hopping repeatedly to peck at Honeysuckle berries.

There's a fork in the central vein of this Privet leaf (shown here scanned at actual size, if your monitor is set to 72 dots per inch). It appears as if two leaves have fused together, or, rather, as if one leaf has diverged during growth. My thanks to Meggan for spotting it.

small hoverflyreed canary-grassSmall hoverflies visit the developing seedheads of Reed Canary-grass, Phalaris arundinacea, (also know as Reed Grass, or 'Canal Grass') by the towpath. As all hoverflies are nectar feeders and grass doesn't offer nectar (as far as I know) what is the attraction for them?

There are four hoverflies of the same species on adjacent seedheads of the clump of grass. Two of them push up right in amongst the seedheads. One gives chase to another. I can't imagine there is anything they could feed on here. Is this, perhaps, a place where males congregate to watch for females? If so, why push their way into the seedheads. It's 4 o'clock on a dull afternoon, is this a safe hiding place for them to bed down for the night?

A blue-tailed damselfly flies rather weakly and then settles on the stem of the canary-grass below the hoverflies.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

E-mail; 'richard@daelnet.co.uk'

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