Thursday, 21 August 2014
A Walk Along the Grand Union Canal and Garden Moths
A visit to Upton House and Gardens was planned for last weekend but on the day E was too tired and B was at a crucial stage of redecorating the hall, stairs and landing, so the visit was postponed. Instead D and I decided to go looking for blackberries along a section of the Grand Union Canal at Catherine de Barnes.
We parked near "The Boat". Catherine de Barnes is an interesting little village - the name is derived from Ketelberne - a 12th century Lord of the Manor, although these days it is often referred to as Catney Barnes or just Catney. An isolation hospital was built here in 1910 to tend to patients suffering from contagious diseases such as diptheria, typhoid fever and smallpox. As these diseases died out it was used as a maternity hospital but then in 1966 it became the national isolation hospital and was kept on standby. The last known person in the UK to die of smallpox - a Mrs Janet Parker - was treated here. In 1980 the World Health Organisation declared smallpox extinct and, following fumigation!!, the hospital was turned into a housing development.
To those who enjoy the Edith Holden "Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady" and "Nature Notes", Edith mentions visiting Catherine de Barnes on several occasions in her nature journals.
I digress - back to the canal walk
with lovely views over the Warwickshire Countryside.
There were lots of signs of fast approaching autumn in the hedgerows.
Ivy flowers are starting to form - these will provide a valuable source of nectar for many insects, particularly butterflies and bees, prior to hibernation
A good selection of seedheads which will be used as a food source by finches.
Hawthorn and elderberries are beginning to ripen. Years ago my father used to make the most delicious elderberry wine.
Blackberries are also beginning to ripen - we managed to gather enough to fill an icecream container. The berries will become even more plentiful so hopefully we'll visit our favourite local blackberrying spot within the next few weeks.
We walked as far as a bridge which carries the M42 motorway over the canal - in this area many footpaths seem to lead either to the M42 or the airport!
On the return journey we left the canal for a while to walk along a lane to Henwood Mill and Ford. The mill dates back to the late eighteenth century and ceased production in the early 1930's.
Himalayan Balsam (an undesirable non-native plant) was growing all round the ford and stream
Dappled water reflections on the underside of a bridge - unfortunately the photo did not turn out the way I hoped but at the time it was a very pretty effect.
We saw a lot of mallard along the canal with youngsters of varying ages including these tiny ducklings
Saturday 16th August
Min temp 14.1
15w Actinic Skinner Trap
Numbers of moths trapped are starting to drop with the cooler weather
Flounced Rustic (Luperina testacea) x 6
Mother of Pearl (Pleuroptya ruralis) x 1 (new for year)
Yellowshell (Camptogramma bilineata) x 2 (new for year) - a really beautiful moth
Double-striped Pug (Gymnoscelis rufifasciata) x 1
Copper Underwing (Amphipyra pyramidea) - new for year. This species has a beautiful copper coloured "underskirt"
Orange Swift (Hepialus sylvina) x 4
Willow Beauty (Peribatodes rhomboidaria) x 2
Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba) x 8
Marbled Beauty (Cryphia domestica) x 3
Straw Dot (Rivula sericealis) x 1
Lesser Treble Bar (Aplocera efformat) x 1 (new for year)
Lesser Yellow Underwing (Noctua comes) x 1
Yesterday morning I was thrilled to see a Vapourer Moth (Orgyia antiqua) on the kitchen window. This is a new moth species for the garden and one I have never managed to trap. Sadly, a poor photo as, even after a few hours in the fridge (this doesn't harm the moths by the way) it was still exceedingly lively and I could only manage a picture of it in a pot.
On Tuesday evening I went along to a meeting of the Badger Warwickshire Group where the guest speaker was Dominic Dyer the newly appointed Chief Executive of the Badger Trust. I have heard him speak before at the March against the Badger Cull in Stratford earlier this year and again he gave an excellent, entertaining, well-informed and passionate speech on badgers. Sadly, despite the departure of Owen Paterson, it appears likely that the killing of badgers will recommence in the cull zones of Somerset and Gloucestershire immininently. I won't harp on about it all again as I am sure everyone knows my feelings on the matter but I can say that I have never been so angry about an issue before. The anger just never goes away.