I was determined to get a few pictures today, if only to break up the text since "Blogger" does not seem to allow paragraphs anymore. After concern about the willows going brown expressed last month and possibly now explained, this morning I saw two more problems for these trees. I took a look at some of the coppice we did last winter, usually we get a few stools bitten down, but this year they are all browsed to almost nothing. The culprits are roe deer and they have really hit them hard, I suspect we will need to fence off new coppice areas from now on. There are probably more deer in England now than at anytime in a thousand or even more years. Deer were kept in parks and if they stayed they were likely to come to a rapid end, these were often hungry times. It is hard to over-estimate the impact of deer on the structure and species composition of our woods and the likely effect that today's deer numbers will have on the look of the woods we will bequeath to coming generations.
The second willow under attack was just along the path from the coppice, this one had leaves yellowing from the ends inward, I have no idea what the cause of this is, but clearly the green photosynthetic material is being lost, which cannot be good for growth.
In the sunnier sections along the path sides and in various clearings there is now a good show of marsh thistle. These have rather small flowers born on very tall stems, sometime two or three metres high. It is a very popular nectar plant and a particular favourite of silver-washed fritillary, unfortunately I could not find one of the those, although there have been some about on the reserve in the last few days, all I got was a common carder-bee.
Although there were no migrant moths in the trap this morning there were still migrant insects about, red admirals have got much more common in the last few days as have marmalade hoverflies, although both breed here, neither over-winter in large numbers so each year the populations are boosted by immigration. This is one of the most recognisable of all hoverflies, being the only one to have more than one band on each abdominal segment, usually like this one with one broad and one marrow band on each.
After opening up and checking the moth trap it was out a ragwortin' that I went. It was too warm for comfort and when I stopped to refuel I took a breather and the sound of Roesel's bush-crickets again filled the air. I failed to get a picture again, this time the one I found was a male of the macropterous form, that is to say long-winged and when it went off it flew a goodly distance. A feature of the range expansion was apparently a rise in the proportion of these long-winged forms and it was clear why these types would spread more rapidly than those limited to the more conventional jump as a means of getting around. I did get one picture of a hope though, a meadow grasshopper male.