Thursday, 10 August 2017

Bur

At last this morning, we managed to get a walk around Shipley Park in the sunshine.
Many of the wildflowers have taken a bit of a bashing with all the recent rains, but the stately Burdock plants are still looking good with their purple flower heads. Looking like a thistle, these members of the daisy family provide lots of nectar for the bees and hoverflies.
The name comes from the sharp, hook-like burs of the flower head which snag almost anything which comes into contact with them. They even latch on to the ridges of your finger prints.
Another 'bur' this morning, came in the guise of a stand of Branched Bur-reeds which have been planted in the old canal near 'Vole Bridge'.
Branched Bur-reed (Sparganium erectum) is a native plant to the British Isles and can be found growing in fens and watercourses almost all over the country. It is quite tolerant of eutrophic habitats where waterways are overly enriched with nutrients from farm run-off - an increasing problem in the UK. For this reason, it is often found along riverbanks which are grazed by cattle.
While we were walking with Jayne a few days ago, we found a large quantity of hairy caterpillars on some young willow and silver birch trees. As they were new to me, I took a photo or two to identify them later.
They turned out to be the larvae of Buff-tip Moths (Phalera bucephala), a common species in the UK.
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